The opioid crisis is becoming more severe every year. Recent statistics have revealed that opioid overdoses are currently killing more people in the United States than the Vietnam War. Medical and health professionals have been working diligently to find an effective way to help people overcome their opioid addictions, not only by stopping opioid use but also by helping prevent a relapse.
They are now turning to marijuana as an effective addition to treating opioid addictions. It is specifically being used to help lessen residual withdrawal symptoms once people have stopped using opioids. The discovery is especially apt because states around the country are beginning to legalize marijuana use.
Rehab Based On Marijuana
Up until now, most medical and health professionals have believed the only way for someone to overcome an opioid addiction is to completely cut him or her off from all drugs as soon as possible. While the goal of marijuana-based rehab is also to help get people completely off opioids, marijuana-based rehabilitation is usually a slightly slower, safer option for aiding in addiction treatment.
The Danger Of Withdrawals
Withdrawals can be extremely dangerous. They can cause damage far more severe than discomfort. Some of the emotional and mental symptoms of withdrawals can include anxiety, depression, isolation, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, headaches, and poor concentration. Some of the physical symptoms of withdrawal can include sweating, racing heart, palpitations, muscle tension, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, tremors, and nausea or vomiting. While withdrawals are generally the most dangerous with alcohol and tranquilizer addictions, opioid withdrawals can also be extremely difficult to deal with. Part of the goal of marijuana-based rehab is to reduce the intensity of the person’s withdrawal symptoms so treatment is a less difficult process.
The Effectiveness Of Marijuana-Based Rehab
Most doctors and professionals who run care and recovery centers have found that a majority of their patients can find a path to recovery with marijuana-based rehabilitation. One of the major benefits of using marijuana for treatment is that the therapeutic qualities in marijuana reduce the intensity of the harsh and dangerous withdrawal symptoms many people trying to overcome addiction experience. It will not reduce the symptoms themselves, but it can make it easier to cope with the symptoms.
Marijuana does not act as a treatment for opioid addiction. It can be an effective tool throughout treatment, but the substance itself does not have the ability to break up the chemical dependency of opioid addiction.
There is more and more evidence that people struggling with chronic pain and anxiety in states where marijuana is legal will use marijuana over opioids. Many people begin using opioids and other drugs in an effort to cope with chronic pain, anxiety, and other ailments that can seriously affect everyday life. The more people who choose marijuana over opioids, the fewer people that will die from opioid overdoses.
Benefits Of Marijuana Over Opioids
Marijuana-based rehab is an extremely controversial subject. Many people in the United States and around the world are staunchly against any kind of marijuana use. Many politicians and American citizens will likely never accept marijuana as a legitimate tool. The debate is destined to continue.
Despite the skeptical opinions, there are clear advantages to using marijuana over using opioids. The main advantage is that marijuana is not addictive. Even if you are using it extremely frequently, it is exponentially less likely you will develop a serious addiction. Marijuana can provide the same pain-relieving effects of opioids without putting you at risk for an addiction.
Opioids, on the other hand, are extremely addictive. Frequent use for long periods of time can easily lead to dependencies. Choosing to use opioids to cope with anxiety, pain, or other issues can lead to an addiction that puts your life in danger.
The Federal Government On Marijuana-Based Rehab
The federal government is skeptical of marijuana use in opioid treatments. Many politicians believe that marijuana cannot actually have a positive impact on other addictions, and see marijuana as another dangerous drug people can use. Specifically, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is adamantly against the legalization of marijuana, and has made it one of his central goals to keep it from being legalized by more states.
The skeptical opinions are reflected in the relatively small number of states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Colorado, Alaska, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts have legalized recreational marijuana use. These states have given any adults over 21 the ability to buy marijuana without the need for a doctor’s note. Other states have legalized medical marijuana. However, many states have yet to create legislation legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.
Using Marijuana For Opioid Treatment
Though many medical and health professionals believe marijuana is an effective addition to opioid addiction treatment, the choice to use marijuana for the varied physical and emotional symptoms is up to the patient and varies from person to person. If you are already addicted to opioids, marijuana is not the most effective method to overcome your addiction. Opioid detox is still the most effective way to overcome addiction. Marijuana is the most helpful once you have broken your addiction and are trying to cope with the residual symptoms of recovery.
The future of marijuana use is unclear. There are many states in the country that will hold off legalizing marijuana for as long as they can. Though it has been more widely accepted as a legitimate medical aid, replacing one drug with another is a concept that is absurd to many politicians and citizens in the United States. It will take a long time before marijuana-based rehabilitation is widely accepted as an effective way to help people overcoming opioid addictions. For the areas that are adopting marijuana use in opioid treatment, however, marijuana will continue to help people struggling with addiction remain on the road to recovery.
Fight Addiction Now is an online group of people who have experience with addiction and aim to support others struggling with addiction. To join the discussion about recovering from opioid addictions, visit the Fight Addiction Now forum.
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