You’ve likely heard marijuana referred to, in not so nice terms, as a gateway drug. This long-spanning theory suggests marijuana users are more likely to partake in harder drugs than non-users. Major studies have taken place in the last few years that not only debunked this persistent myth, but have shown the opposite to be true. In fact, the results of recent drug addiction treatment studies show cannabis is effective in helping those addicted to opioids safely withdraw from, or exit, the drug.

The Epidemic of Opioid Addiction

The rate at which Americans are being prescribed and overdosing on opioids is beyond terrifying. In 2015 alone, there were more than 33,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States; nearly half of those overdose deaths were from prescription opioids such as methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. These are highly addictive medications that are prescribed to help patients, but oftentimes become a problem in and of themselves. However, the hard truth is that overdose deaths involving prescription opioids as well as sales of these prescription drugs have quadrupled since 1999 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 1999 and 2015 there were more than 183,000 prescription-opioid deaths in the U.S.

Cannabis Benefits in Rehabilitation

Comparatively, cannabis, which has a non existent lifetime death rate worldwide, is inexplicably still classified as a Schedule I drug, sharing the same category as cocaine and heroin.  Strangely, medical weed shares the classification even though it’s legal for purchase with a medical marijuana card, and improves the quality of life, patients suffering with conditions and diseases such as HIV / AIDS, cancer, and Crohn’s disease, among a long list of others. Researchers are now adding “opioid-exit treatment” to that list, as we have scientific evidence that CBD is an effective treatment for opioid addiction, as well as its use for treating pain. This theory is currently being tested by several rehabilitation centers in the U.S., including Blue Door Therapeutics in Scottsdale. In an ABC15 report from May 2017, doctors at Blue Door Therapeutics said cannabis pills and patches have and continue to help patients with nausea and other opioid withdrawal symptoms. CBD works because it blocks the effects opioids have on the brain. Additionally, CBD is proven to have both anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, so it’s helpful in stabilizing the patient’s underlying condition.

Thus far, the benefits of using cannabis to treat a slew of qualifying diseases and conditions outweigh the negatives (are there negatives?), so we expect the positive research results to continue pouring in. Have questions about using cannabis for your condition? Contact us or come chat with a budtender at one of our Valley locations!