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Can Cannabis Be Used To Fight Addiction?

Opioid addiction is a big problem in modern society. But can marijuana help to ease withdrawal symptoms for those looking to quit their opioid abuse? Different strains of cannabis have different effects on the body and mind, so which strain is best suited for helping to fight addiction? And can cannabis help those struggling with addiction to stronger drugs like morphine and heroin?

Can cannabis help heroin addicts?

For users of drugs like heroin, cannabis can offer some relief. Quitting heroin cold-turkey can have devastating physiological effects, and addicts looking to stop using the drug should definitely seek out medical help. Cannabis can be used for pain relief, and will help to calm and relax the body and mind. Some recovering addict groups practice a policy of no-drugs whatsoever during recovery. Any psychoactive substance is regarded as a breach of this policy. They argue that when a person is under the influence of any drug, they are more susceptible to falling back into a dependency cycle. This may be true to a certain extent but applies more readily to other drugs than cannabis. Whilst drunk, for example, a person is much more likely to disregard their efforts to stop taking a drug like cocaine. Again, this comes down to personal preference and individuality. People are affected by different strains of cannabis in different ways. There is certainly a lucid-like effect that many marijuana users experience while high. They are not so much intoxicated as they are experiencing clarity of mind. Goals become more achievable in this light, and therefore, cannabis users may find it easier to wrap their head around quitting a more harmful drug, and achieve greater success than without using cannabis. Heroin addicts often display some amount of damage to the glutamate transmitter system. This system is important for decision-making and cognition. Cannabidiol, a chemical found within cannabis, has been proven to reverse damage caused by heroin to the glutamate system.

Can cannabis help with harm reduction?

Traditional techniques for quitting drug use include complete abstinence. This is the simplest, and in many cases, the most effective method of treatment. Abstinence does not always work, however. A more recent method to help addicts is ‘harm reduction’. Where abstinence fails, any way to reduce the harm caused by drug-taking is beneficial. It is valuable to decrease the amount of the drug consumed. Cannabis can be used as a stop-gap between addiction and abstinence. Pain management is just one of the many ways cannabis can help those seeking to quit more harmful drugs.

Can cannabis help with crack addiction?

Crack cocaine is infamous for being one of the most addictive and harmful drugs out there. A cheaper version of cocaine, crack is usually either inhaled using a pipe, or mixed with liquid and then injected. Researchers in Vancouver studied how frequently crack addicts used the drug before, during, and after a period of cannabis use. The results showed that users showed a decrease in use of up to 50% after the period of cannabis use. While this is just the first step of research required in regards to cannabis use for helping crack addiction, the results show significant promise. Again, cannabidiol (CBD) is linked with harm reduction and has been used in many animal testing scenarios. One theory is that CBD can disrupt the reconsolidation of cocaine and opioid-related memory, meaning that habit-forming related to cocaine and opioid use is less likely to occur, or when it does occur, is significantly weaker. Other research has found that CBD can effectively reduce cravings and anxiety amongst people addicted to crack cocaine.

Always seek medical help when attempting to overcome a serious addiction. There are many online resources available for those looking to quit.


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