The opioid crisis is a massive problem in the United States. Over the last few decades, there has been a significant increase in opioid addiction. The opioid epidemic had economic costs amounting to $35 billion in healthcare costs from overdoses and another $92 billion from lost productivity in 2021. Opioid addiction is causing thousands of lives to be lost annually, and an estimated 2.5 million people are now living with opioid-use disorder. It’s a terrible problem, and it needs to be solved. Can medical cannabis help with opioid addiction?
Medical cannabis is one part of the solution. Medical cannabis has helped many patients get off of opioid medication. Patients currently taking opioids will find it easier to quit if they have access to medical cannabis. Medical cannabis can be used in different ways to make the transition easier.
How Does Medical Cannabis Help with Opioid Addiction?
Marijuana contains compounds called cannabinoids that mimic certain naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the human body. CBD and THC, two types of cannabinoids, are the most commonly studied because they are the ones that create a high.
While CBD is non-psychoactive, it is still extremely powerful and helps to combat opioid addiction and treat pain. Many people also use CBD to deal with anxiety and depression.
However, THC is highly psychoactive, which can cause hallucinations, nausea, and anxiety. This is why a healthcare professional must be consulted before using medical cannabis.
So let’s find out some of the benefits of cannabis in treating opioid addiction.
Reduces Usage of Opioids
Opiate addicts find it challenging to get off it because of the withdrawal symptoms. So if they switch to cannabis as their primary source of pain management, then they may be able to wean themselves off of the opiates much faster.
In recent years, more and more studies have been conducted to look into how medical marijuana can help patients struggling with opioid addiction. The evidence that medical marijuana can serve as a viable replacement for opioids is mounting. It was found that where medicinal marijuana laws went into effect, daily opioid doses went down by 3.74 million annually.
Research suggests that medical cannabis laws may save lives. For example, States, where medical cannabis is legal, had a lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate than states without such laws. According to a study from 2014, this death rate declined by 24.8 percent in states with medical cannabis laws.
Addresses Anxiety Attacks
Medical cannabis can help with opiate addiction because marijuana helps people cope with opiate withdrawal symptoms by relieving the anxiety and stress that can cause severe physical reactions. In addition, it can help with the cravings and mood swings that people may experience while going through withdrawal.
It’s important to note that some people may experience hallucinations while going through withdrawal from opiates. Marijuana can make this experience less intense.
Provides Withdrawal Relief
One of the biggest challenges of opioid addiction treatment is to prepare patients for the excruciating withdrawal experience that awaits them after opioid cessation.
THC in marijuana can help people feel less anxious, nauseous, and bothered by pain. Because marijuana has this effect on the brain, it may help a person cope with the pain of opioid withdrawal and possibly help them stay away from opioid usage altogether.
There are different types of benefits that one can enjoy from consuming medical cannabis. If you are currently addicted to opioids, then speak with one of the healthcare providers at Pause Pain & Wellness about whether medical marijuana can help.