Fighting drug addiction with more drugs seems odd to say the least, especially with a drug that is still considered illegal on a federal level. A new study conducted by Columbia University may have found a correlation between marijuana abating the adverse symptoms of withdrawal for recovering opiate addicts, according to SF Gate. (I guess we’re starting to really take the potential of medicinal marijuana to the next level.) In an experimental group of 60 physically dependent on opiates, who were admitted to an eight week recovery program, 32 percent of recovering users where administered a form of THC, called dronabinol, in the midst of treatment.
Of those who were administered dronabinol, researchers observed a drastic decrease in the excruciating symptoms of withdrawal; researchers found those treated with THC were more likely to complete the entirety of the program. Perhaps this also means THC may reduce the rates of relapse in the long run- although no official claims have been asserted by the researchers of Columbia University in regards to relapse.
SF Gate quotes the researchers of the study,
“Participants who smoked marijuana regularly during the outpatient phase had significantly lower ratings of insomnia and anxiety and were more likely to complete the eight week trial,”
Now wait a minute- this doesn’t mean you should attempt to overcome your own addiction by smoking marijuana. If we know anything about medically assisted drug treatment it’s that the medications prescribed to those overcoming addiction do not produce the high ascribed to addictive substances found on the street. Typically maintenance drugs only satisfy the latent biological necessities of the addictive substance in question.
For instance, those taking suboxone for heroin addiction will not get high off of suboxone, but the drug does allow their bodies to have the necessary opiate for normal functioning without being floored into withdrawal.
So what does this mean for the potential of marijuana maintenance therapy (also called medically assisted drug treatment)? It’s too soon to tell, but more research into marijuana as a means of abating the symptoms of withdrawal may be one of the deciding factors in tipping the illegal threshold of the drug in question- as if it is used to combat addiction, and not add to those who become addicted to the substance, its merit as a medical boon in the addiction industry will be irrefutable.
Conversely, 17 percent of marijuana users become addicted to the substance, and may require drug rehabilitation to overcome their addiction. The question then remains, should we again, as an industry, introduce another substance to treat addiction, when it itself is addictive?
What do you think about using marijuana as a means to fight addiction?