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High Sobriety, a recovery treatment center in Los Angeles, offers patients daily doses of medicinal cannabis as a means of weaning them off opioids.
That’s where the often controversial use of cannabis can help, he added.
“Using medical cannabis can be really helpful for all the things that people experience when they go through detox, whether it’s insomnia, bone pain or flu-type symptoms,” he said.
Opponents say the practice switches out one addiction for another and that the efficacy of using cannabis to treat opioid addiction hasn’t been thoroughly researched. Currently, 29 states have passed laws allowing the use of cannabis to treat a host of medical conditions despite its designation as an illegal drug by the federal government and the fact that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it for medical use.
Mostly, cannabis is used to treat nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. No state has approved cannabis for the treatment of opioid addiction, and recent proposals in Maryland and New Mexico were ultimately rejected due to lack of evidence that it works. A tight regulatory framework has made it harder to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes or to conduct research on the plant. When cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, the plant was flagged for its high potential for abuse and was listed as having no medical purpose.
“The reason why we have all of these people thinking that marijuana may be beneficial for this or that is because there is not enough science out there to help guide us.” Hurd examines the effects of cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis that could help relieve symptoms of heroin withdrawal while working to impede the desire to get high.
“We are relying on anecdotal information from people using the drug to give us scientists and clinicians insights about it.” Dr. Matthew Roman, founder of Nature’s Way Medicine, a primary-care clinic in Delaware, began using cannabis as a treatment in 2015.
Schrank encourages clients to take cannabis in edible or vapor forms oversmoking in order to better control dosage.