How cannabis can treat opiate addiction
Few studies have been conducted on the treatment of opiate addiction with medical marijuana. This is mainly because Cannabis is still considered a schedule I drug and illegal in most states. That, however, doesn’t mean that there are no successful results. In an article published in Trends in Neurosciences, Dr. Yasmin L. Hurd discussed the milestones cannabis has covered in reducing symptoms of opiate addiction in animal models. Particularly, this article is centered on the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol. This component of marijuana has successfully demonstrated a reduction in addiction signs in some animal experiments.
In a publication of Addiction Biology made in 2013, researchers explained their findings of how rats induced with an opiate addiction had the symptoms of their addiction reduce. The lab rats were administered with medical marijuana which stopped the rewarding component of morphine from triggering the brain. This study showed the possibility of medical marijuana being used as a medication to decrease and eventually stop opiate addiction.
Some more research conducted by Dr. Hurd and other scientists showed that cannabidiol played a critical role in healing the damage caused by heroin throughout the endocannabinoid system. Cannabidiol also helped in normalizing the behavior of synapses within the central nervous system after they had been altered as a result of opiate use. That means medical marijuana could be utilized as a treatment for this type of addiction.
One of the few pilot studies for medical marijuana’s effects on humans showed that the drug reduced cravings for heroin in heroin abusers. Medical marijuana’s primary effect in line with this trial was observed to be a reduction in anxiety among the heroin users. As such, they were able to cope with their addiction more easily.
Overall, most of the evidence cites medical marijuana as a possible treatment for opiate addiction. However, more extensive research needs to be undertaken.
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