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Is Cannabis a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction?

Cannabis as a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction

Health

Is Cannabis a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction?

Introduction to the Increase of Opioid Addiction and Death

Opioid drug abuse is a serious addiction that affects an increasing number of people within the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  discussed a rise in the numbers of overdoses related to opioids. In 2016, the CDC explained the widespread abuse of opioids continues.

Between 1999 and 2014 drug overdose almost tripled. Opioid prescriptions increased due to individuals suffering from any type of pain not including cancer. Federal and state governments made a number of efforts to turn the course of the opioid epidemic. Although this is the case, little research on alternative methods for the treatment of opioid addiction exists.

Cannabis as a Viable Option for Treatment?

Cannabis as a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction

Cannabis is now being looked at as a viable way to assist in the treatment of this often deadly addiction. The more truth exposed about cannabis the more society can work towards a fairer system. Powerful lobbyists, an enormous amount of money, and the “Band-Aid” system we live in supports the “Big Pharma” culture. It is a step in the right direction to create policies that make it harder to receive prescriptions for opioids on the market.

This may be a positive change but it ignores the fact that many people can find illegal ways to get the same type of high. Unfortunately, the street opioids available, like heroin, are not regulated. A number of people die because of the wrong dosing, added chemicals, and much more.

What Is Research Showing?

Cannabis as a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction

A study in 2014 investigated the Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States between 1999 and 2010. “In an analysis of death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, we found that states with medical cannabis laws had lower mean opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates compared with states without such laws.”

So, what does this mean? Essentially, this means that states having cannabis laws had a lower average opioid overdose death rate. This is promising research but we must have access to conduct more research in understanding the true benefits of cannabis.

Another study conducted research with rats. The authors investigated the effects cannabidiol had on the reward sensors cause by morphine (opioids). They found that cannabidiol did, in fact, interact with the “reward mechanisms” on the brain. Cannabidiol inhibits the reward-facilitating effect of morphine.

It is extremely exciting that researchers are looking into the positive influence cannabis has on the chemical components of our mind. As we gain scientific research, society will learn that cannabis has a growing amount of health benefits.

More Important Research

Cannabis as a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction

Further research looks at the Efficacy of Dronabinol as an Adjuvant Treatment for Chronic Pain Patients on Opioid Therapy. The researchers wanted to examine if the synthetic form of THC, Dronabinol, provided additional relief. The results indicated dronabinol contributed to significant pain relief, reduced pain bothersomeness, and increased satisfaction compared with baseline.”

This begs the question: why hasn’t the government realized the amount of profit they can make by decriminalizing weed? For example, Canada just legalized it, Germany legalized medical cannabis, and South Africa legalized personal consumption! America is moving in this direction, but hopefully, the drug czar and politicians will not hold us back.

Finding A Holistic System

Cannabis as a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction
Chronic addictions to opioids and other serious drugs cause a number of problems in an individual’s life including those around them. Holistic approaches look at alternative forms of treatment. It treats the person by assessing all the dimensions in their life.

Studies continue to show how cannabis can help a number of people suffering, including those struggling with opioid addiction. Having an approach that incorporates more understanding and personal choice may assist in greater success among our population.

How Can You Influence Lawmakers?

Cannabis as a Treatment Option for Opioid Addiction

How is the legalization of weed occurring in the U.S.? It is happening state by state. This is hopeful for cannabis supporters because this means we can have some type of influence in ending prohibition. We do not have to sit by and let what could help (and already is helping) large numbers of people around the world.

Francine Rodgers

Francine is a Green Rush Daily contributor based out of Virginia. She received her Masters of Clinical Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. Throughout her education, she learned to express herself through writing and this is where her passion lies! She has worked in the mental health field for over five years across a variety of settings. She is an avid supporter of cannabis and is unhappy with the criminalization process. This is especially true because many legal drugs are overprescribed for profit! Francine believes in a holistic approach and strives for balance in her own life.

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