There are many methods used to fight addiction, such as therapy and prescription drugs. These methods clearly don’t work for everyone, seeing as there has been a rampant increase of addictions opiates. Citizens of America are experiencing the U.S. Opioid Crisis, and scientists are searching for a way to fight this epidemic. Dr. Dustin Sulak is one such scientist looking for a solution, and has put his cards on utilizing medical marijuana to aid in the cure.
How bad is the opioid crisis? It’s bad enough that nearly 7,000 people are treated in emergency rooms daily due to prescription opioid, but the number doesn’t only include adults: children are also affected. One in 20 people above the age of 12 use or used opioids either non-medically or for a use other than it was prescribed for. Sales of opioids have since quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, which is in conjunction with the rate of opioid overdose deaths.
Some may be sceptical about cannabis due to the reputation that it has been given. Though, a study in 2016 surveyed 244 patients who used medical cannabis in Michigan, where it was associated with an overall 64% decrease in opioid use, a decrease of side effects opioids give, and a 45% improvement in quality of life. This is one of many studies that show that it can replace opioids and aid in the crisis being faced today.
Cannabis & CBD can not only treat the same symptoms as opioids do, but can also help with the withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction. These symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramping, anxiety, and more. The only fear that has some people on the edge is addiction.
While addiction to cannabis is played up in media, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the risk for a lifetime dependence on cannabis is 9%, which is less than alcohol, opiates, and other kinds of drug abuse. Though it’s still a reasonably high number, the statistics are skewed by people who were in court-mandated treatment programs. These were people simply using it recreationally.
So, instead of calling it a gateway drug, cannabis can perhaps be seen more as a gateway out of opioid addiction.