Around 46 people die every day in the USA from an overdose of opioid drugs, so finding some way of helping addicts to recover is essential. Now, some experts are starting to believe that medical marijuana could be the key to getting over the symptoms of opiate withdrawal so former addicts can get on with a new and better life.
Medical marijuana has already been proven to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of some serious medical problems such as AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and Crohn’s Disease, and it is even starting to be used as an effective alternative to traditional pharmaceutical painkillers.
Now a study has been published which reveals that having access to medical marijuana has led to a much lower rate of opioid overdose mortality, with around a quarter fewer deaths due to overdoses in states which have legalized medicinal marijuana than in those states that still have not changed their legislation.
Some experts are starting to believe that using medical marijuana while withdrawing from opioids can not only provide pain relief but can also improve the user’s emotional state.
A study published in 2013 showed that people who took cannabis while detoxing from opiates experienced less and fewer withdrawal symptoms, meaning that it could show promise for those who are desperate to quit their opiate drug habit.
How Does Addiction To Opiates Affect The Body And Brain?
When someone is addicted to opiates, their brain circuits become rewired which leads to the brain no longer being capable of functioning properly without the assistance of the drug.
As soon as they try to stop taking the drug, whether that be heroin or prescription medication, the symptoms of withdrawal kick in including stomach pain, aches, and pains, agitation, cravings, diarrhea, vomiting, and chills. These symptoms may be very severe and can last several days.
Traditional Medical Recovery Attempts
Traditionally, doctors have prescribed medication to mask these symptoms of withdrawal, with drugs like methadone, clonidine, naloxone, and buprenorphine being the drugs of choice. None of these medications can completely end the process of addiction however or heal the underlying problems in the brain.
Using Medical Marijuana To Help
Medical marijuana can help to control many of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, including reducing the severity of vomiting and nausea and helping to manage chronic pain. Also, since medical marijuana is CBD heavy, it is a much safer alternative treatment that the prescription medications which are currently given as these produce a high similar to the drug itself.
The human body has its endocannabinoid system which works similarly to the cannabinoids found in medicinal marijuana. When it is properly used, cannabis can support this system and may even be able to rewire the user’s brain rather than simply blocking the chemical transmissions.
When cannabis is used as a treatment for opiate withdrawal symptoms, it can change the brain’s actual composition to remove the cravings so that the brain can heal.