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Cannabis Shown To Ease Symptoms During Opiate Withdrawal

According to a recent study, cannabis use may help relieve withdrawal symptoms during Methadone treatment. The study that was performed at Thomas Jefferson University and recently published online shows the cannabinoid system may have a place in future substance abuse treatment. This Pennsylvania-based university was the home for observing 91 patients undergoing Methadone treatment.

Methadone is common form of treatment for opiate dependence. It can be effective, but it has a number of negative side effects.

There are quite a few reported side effects of Methadone treatment, such as: anxiety, insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, and even psychological dependence.

These are only a few of the reported side effects and there are likely more that go unreported. Perhaps the scariest side effect is the psychological dependence. An opiate-dependent patient is putting their trust into a treat to break their vicious dependence. Sadly, instead of curing the patient of their dependence they start to need the treatment as much as they did the original opiates.

Cannabis Use Reduced Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

According to the Thomas Jefferson University study, cannabis use before and during treatment decreased the patients score on the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS). This is a scale used to objectively determine withdrawal symptoms in opiate-dependent patients. The lower scores indicate that cannabis plays a role in reducing the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

“The present findings may point to novel interventions to be employed during treatment for opiate dependence that specifically target cannabinoid-opioid system interactions” – Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

This study suggests that cannabis may play a role in increasing the success of Methadone treatment. The reason for this is that is lowers the amount of withdrawal symptoms patients experience.

As discussed earlier, common symptoms of opiate withdrawal include anxiety, muscle aches, insomnia, abdominal cramps, and nausea. Medical cannabis is already being used to successfully treat each of these symptoms with little to no known side effects. “Marijuana does not have the physical addictive components that opiates do,” says Shelley Stormo, a clinical psychologist at Gosnold. “It does not have the propensity, as opiates do, for overdoses. There’s no documented death by overdose of marijuana.”


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