Marijuana to Treat Opioid Addiction – Studies Show Promise
Marijuana to treat opioid addiction seems almost counterintuitive. Why would you use one substance to treat an addiction to another? Many people ask this, but to supporters, it’s a much better option than using something like Suboxone or methadone to treat an opioid addiction for many different reasons.
Not only that, but many experts in the field of addiction recovery, and researchers are finding that this might actually be a viable option, especially for those who live in states that support legal, medical use of marijuana. So, what’s the pushback, and is it something you should be considering?
Why Marijuana and Not Something Like Methadone
Ask anyone who’s depending on methadone to stay off their opioid drug of choice how difficult it is to continuously check in day after day and get their fix, and you’ll quickly find that this is no way to live. Since this medication is handed out on a daily basis, if you don’t live close to a distribution center, you might be out of luck. For many, this makes methadone maintained opioid recovery out of the realm of possibility.
Not only that, but since the opioid receptors are being constantly stimulated and soothed by these medications, they can be addictive on their own. For many, this creates a whole other set of problems when it comes time to kick their secondary addiction to the very medications that were meant to help them overcome their opioid addiction in the first place.
Marijuana to treat opioid addiction is different. It helps to calm those screaming cravings and urges, but it acts on different receptors in the brain and body, and that helps many to overcome their opioid addiction completely. Marijuana supporters also mention the lack of harm that smoking pot causes, and the almost complete lack of deadly overdose potential that pot has.
In fact, some studies suggest that when marijuana is used in conjunction with addiction treatment programs, it offers a much longer rate of success than when other medications commonly used to treat opioid addiction are used. Part of this is likely due to the fact that weed is considered to be a much milder and less addictive drug than opioids.
The Craziness to Many of Using an Opioid to Beat an Opioid Addiction
To many people, even those who are addicted to opioids, the idea of using another opioid to stop using something like heroin or fentanyl is just crazy. Yes, the addiction to the opioid drug of choice is intense, and anyone that has gone through detox has said that they never want to suffer through that experience again in their lives. So, for many, using another drug that acts on those opioid receptors to help them stay clean is just crazy.
In addition, too many people are discovering that once they start taking something like Methadone or Suboxone to help them kick their opioid habits, they are hooked on these medications. Now, something that is meant to be so helpful has become just as troublesome as the opioid itself. Realizing this can make it hard to want to avoid a relapse, and many find themselves in this situation exactly.
Add all these factors to the fact that when you can no longer get your methadone or Suboxone legally, you might turn to other, illegal means, which can result in some pretty stiff punishments when the wrong people catch you with it. Marijuana, on the other hand, is considered to be less of a crime, even when in a state that hasn’t officially legalized the consumption of it yet. Some states offer medical verification to have and use pot, while other states simply want it to be sold by the appropriate vendors.
How Marijuana Works to Help Ease Cravings for Opioids
Everyone wants to know how pot works to help addicts stop craving and using opioids, and one study suggests that it simply blocks the reward system from experiencing the euphoric like effects of opioids. This is great news for those who feel like they simply cannot keep going without the mind-numbing benefits of opioids, because smoking weed makes them feel good and relaxed, and blocks their cravings.
Another study finds that cannabidiol actually helps to reduce feelings of anxiety that many who are working to overcome an addiction to opioids feel when they have cravings. Even better, it was shown to last for about a week, which means that it isn’t necessary to smoke a bowl every day for powerful, anti-opioid effects.
It’s important to note that for these human studies, an oral formulation of cannabidiol, not pot, was used. It’s also used in the treatment of children with epilepsy, and it has a very strong safety profile. This suggests that cannabis oil might be just as effective at smoking it, without the high that comes along with that particular delivery method. This is because the THC or the high-producing chemical is not present.
Is it a Magical Cure?
It is important to note that there is research that suggests that marijuana smoking early on could result in progressing toward using opioids later down the road, but for those who are already addicted to opioids, pot might just be what it takes to help them stop using their opioid drug of choice.
Is it a magical cure as some would suggest? Researchers aren’t so sure. While the numbers and preliminary findings are positive, that doesn’t mean that everyone will respond well to using marijuana to treat opioid addiction. Some might find that it isn’t effective for them. Some might choose to relapse despite treatment with marijuana, and others still might discover that they crave something stronger and go back to using their opioids.
However, if you’re looking for a way to help offset some of your opioid cravings, or you want to consider treatment that includes some type of assistance, but aren’t sure you want to commit to something like methadone or Suboxone, you might find if you’re in a state that allows the legal medical use of marijuana, it can be helpful to you.
Don’t Try to Overcome Opioid Addiction Without Help, Even if you Do Add Marijuana to Your Routine
While you might be thinking that you can kick your opioid addiction with just quitting and taking up smoking pot, you should consider that you’re not unaddicted just because you stop using the source of your addiction. There are still addictive thoughts and behaviors that you need to overcome, as well as the reasons why you want to use or drink in the first place. Sometimes, facing our demons can be the most effective way to help permanently overcome an addiction.
When it comes to using marijuana to treat opioid addiction, you should consider your state and the local laws where you live. You should also avoid getting this substance off the street, as it can be laced with other substances. Instead, make sure that you know any pot that you choose to smoke comes from a reliable, safe source, and that you’ll be able to safely use it. As with any other types of medications to help you cope with opioid cravings and urges, consider the reason why you choose to get high, and if there is a way to avoid the feeling altogether, as many in recovery have found that getting high is trigger enough to relapse.
When you do decide that you’re ready to seek opioid addiction treatment, why not give us a call? We’ll help you find a rehab that works with all kinds of addictions, and especially addictions to opioids. You’ll find help with medically assisted rehab, holistic rehab, and even intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs to consider.
Best of all, our services never cost you a dime. So, you call and talk to one of our caring, understanding counselors. We’ll walk with you through the whole rehab locating process, so you’re never alone. We’ll get to know you, find out what you would like to see in an addiction treatment program, and even find out about your insurance coverage and other financing options for you. Then when it’s time, all you have to do is choose the place where you want to start your whole new life.
Marijuana to treat opioid addiction is just one of many newly emerging ways to help beat cravings and urges and start living a healthy, happy, addiction-free life. You can kick your habit, and we can help. So, why not give us a call today and get started living the recovery you’ve been hoping for? Life is short, why make it shorter?