A hot topic that has started a debate among the nation is how to tackle drug and alcohol addiction. With the opioid crisis gone into full blown rampage, it doesn’t seem that any plan has a chance to do anything at all. However, some studies show that the use of marijuana can help people safely manage these types of addictions.
By now everyone knows that marijuana is made up of different chemical compounds. The combination of THC and CBD is what makes marijuana special and effective. While THC is the compound that gets you high, CBD helps deal with pain and stress without the fuzziness. While addicts are strongly advised to stay away from psychedelic narcotics, CBD doesn’t quite fall into that category.
In order to know if cannabis can help aid addiction, you need to first understand how addiction works. According to https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf, over 21.5 million Americans older than 13 years of age are currently suffering from some form of addition. This can be anything from alcoholism to severe substance abuse. Among the nearly 22 million, over 7 million are currently battling a severe form of drug abuse. While causes of addiction change from person to person, one thing is clear. This is that traditional addiction services are not meant for everyone. Some even argue that they do not even work at all.
This all started with a couple scientists in San Diego at the Scripps Research Institute. They introduced various narcotics like cocaine and opioids to lab rats. After the subjects started to show signs of addiction, the experts running the study then introduced CBD and THC to the patients. What they found out was astonishing.
The biggest change they saw was in the stress and anxiety levels of the subjects. The stress and anxiety is what leads many addicts to return to old harmful habits. When patients are able to naturally handle stress, they are far more likely to overcome addiction. So, does this mean that marijuana can be used effectively to treat addiction? The studies don’t just stop there.
It isn’t only the stress that marijuana worked to treat either. More severe side effects to withdrawal are the real problem for many addicts. This includes muscle spasms, nausea, and insomnia as well. These are all ailments that marijuana has been known to treat. Using THC in combination with CBD has shown a significant improvement in the daily functions of an addict.
On the other side of the scale are the doubters that marijuana can help at all. Some people still believe that marijuana in itself is an addictive agent. This begs the question; are people just going from one addiction to another? Does this start a vicious cycle of addiction under the pretense that marijuana is safe? In order to conduct a fair and unbiased trial, these questions have to be addresses. And this is exactly what the experts at the Scripps Research Institute have done.
Is marijuana addictive? This question does not have an easy answer. However, there are certain studies done to help ease the mind of any cannabis doubter. According to https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive it isn’t marijuana that is addictive, but the behaviors. Unlike other dangerous narcotics, marijuana does not give people withdrawals once they stop using the drug. Withdrawals are the most common reason for people not being able to kick their addiction. So without withdrawals, marijuana cannot be considered addictive. It should also be said that it is nearly impossible to overdose from cannabis use.
So knowing that marijuana is nowhere near as dangerous as most other narcotics and also that it has been used to effectively treat addiction, shouldn’t it change the way we view marijuana? As it stands now, 27 states now offer legal use of medical marijuana and a few of these offer recreational use. Are these states onto something? In the areas where marijuana is legally distributed, addiction rates and overdose deaths have decreased.
Does this mean that inconclusively that marijuana can treat addiction? Experts believe so. It should also be said that narcotics are not the only addiction that cannabis can treat. Studies show that there are successful trials when it comes to treating nicotine and alcohol addiction with marijuana as well. These new breakthroughs help to bring the marijuana movement one step closer to complete decriminalization. As long as people continue to study the amazing benefits of cannabis, the more we will continue to learn.