Earlier this year, researchers at Columbia University discovered that the effects of opioid withdrawal seemed to be significantly diminished for those patients who were able to consume marijuana during a recovery program.
The results of the study, which were published in the September 2015 edition of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, reaffirms previous research, which shows that cannabis can be beneficial in alleviating some of the harsh symptoms associated with addiction.
Researchers found that after administering doses of prescription THC (dronabinol) and a placebo to test subjects going through both in-patient and outpatient detox programs for opioid dependency that the withdrawal symptoms were less severe in those patients getting the THC. Also, patients who smoked pot throughout their outpatient recovery reported less restlessness, got more sleep and were more likely to complete their respective program.
“One of the interesting study findings was the observed beneficial effect of marijuana smoking on treatment retention,” the study authors wrote. “Participants who smoked marijuana had less difficulty with sleep and anxiety and were more likely to remain in treatment as compared to those who were not using marijuana, regardless of whether they were taking dronabinol or placebo.”
A report published in January suggests that states that have legalized medical marijuana experience lower opioid addiction rates and fewer overdose deaths than those states that maintain a prohibitionary standard. In fact, researchers from UPenn found that medical marijuana states had almost 25 percent fewer overdose deaths than states with strict marijuana laws.
Unfortunately, the majority of these overdoses stem from the abuse of doctor prescribed painkillers.
“Approximately 60 percent of all deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses occur in patients who have legitimate prescriptions,” Dr. Marcus A. Bachhuber said.
Another report published this week by Recovery Brands finds that while marijuana is the most popular illegal substance in the world, opioid addiction still accounts for around 42 percent of the drug treatment in the United States.
What do you think? Can cannabis cure America’s addiction to painkillers? Let us know in the comments below.