Can Marijuana Really Help With Opiate Withdrawal?
Medically the answer is yes, marijuana can really help ease the pain of opiate withdrawal.
The use of heroin, morphine, codeine, Vicodin, Percocet, Norco, OxyContin, and other pharmaceutically created opiates is dangerous. This class of drugs, intended to alleviate acute or chronic pain are highly addictive. When abuse, dependence and addiction to an opiate is a way of life, getting off such powerful drugs is not easy.
When You’re Done With Opiates
Opiate withdrawal is physically painful. When taking a painkiller continuously, your body did not experience much discomfort, but when the drug is gone, pain feels overly intense. Vomiting, diarrhea, crazy muscle cramps, sweating, body temperature fluctuations, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability, and lack of appetite are all experienced during opiate withdrawal. If you have never gone through it yourself, or witnessed it firsthand, you cannot imagine what it’s like going through all of that at the same time.
Help During Detox
There are medications that can help with the pain during detoxification and beyond, but do you want to continue putting chemicals into your body? Being medically monitored is always suggested for opiate withdrawal because, while it is not fatal, the symptoms are awful and lead way too many addicts right back to opiate use. When you don’t want to feel all the pain and suffering, you know exactly what will cure you: more opiates.
Marijuana To Help?
If marijuana can help soothe the pain and discomfort, is that better than risking relapse? Marijuana is a drug, but it is not as naturally addictive or as forcefully interfering as opiates. If the use of marijuana can serve as a much less invasive way to help ease the pain of opiate withdrawal, then why not?
The subject is controversial since marijuana is illegal. Many states have passed medical marijuana laws, so doctors are able to prescribe when appropriate, but many people are opposed to an illegal drug as treatment for addiction. Where do you stand?
Other Drugs for Withdrawal Help
Currently, many treatment facilities administer methadone or Suboxone to patients withdrawing from opiates. These two drugs, and a few others used, as also opiates. These narcotics can be given in manageable doses that do not get the patient high, but the person is then still using an opiate. How can someone work through an addiction to narcotics while still taking them?
Back to Marijuana
Marijuana is not an opiate. Unlike methadone or Suboxone, those using cannabis to treat opiate withdrawal, cannot save doses for a few days to then take all at once in order to get high. Marijuana smoked (or eaten) in extremely high doses can cause euphoria and other enjoyable effects, but the high pales in comparison to the opiate high. If a non-addictive painkiller can stop someone from seeking a narcotic then marijuana is helping ease the pain of opiate withdrawal and hopefully the potential for a return to a life of heroin and prescription painkiller addiction.
Recovery requires the abstinence from all drugs though, so the use of marijuana should serve as training wheels, so to speak. A temporary way to learn how to live without substances.
Kate is a writer for BalboaHorizons.com who specializes in substance abuse and addiction treatment