Can Marijuana Help with Opioid Addiction?



Part 3 of our opioid series supported by the NIHCM Foundation looks at the potential for marijuana to improve outcomes in opioid addiction therapy.

57 Comments

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  2. Why is there a covid info at link on this? Omg if it isn’t already blatantly obvious… they wouldn’t have to constantly advertise, and provide incentives if this were actually a real pandemic. Just my 2 cents from someone who is sick of the stupidity, and propaganda.

  3. When I got my tooth taken out I couldn’t believe they gave me a hydrocodone prescription after they gave me 3Tylenol my tooth didn’t even hurt the next day

  4. I like to add to this very deeply I suffered too long from opiate addiction I was snorting over 15 pills of fentanyl daily I went through so much pain from the withdrawal you can’t eat can’t sleep you can’t even function and they say the only cure to opiate withdrawal is to use more opiates or a substituted opiate as far as buprenorphine I find that THC of some certain strains brought me back day by day I started noticing and experiencing high levels of energy Prescription drugs is nothing to fool with specially when it comes to an addictive personality I thank God for the research It goes into the studies THC can cure opiate withdrawal I promise you that I am living proof

  5. There are certain chronic pain conditions that Weed does absolutely nothing for, but Opiate’s does help. Thanks to all the pill poppers and junkies that don’t need it, Real chronic pain patients are seeing their pain medicine decreased or taken away all together. Because of this, you’re going to see more suicides. This is what happens when the Government gets in between you and your doctor.

  6. I'm going to try it. After 5 back surgeries I'm addicted to my pain medication. I have to take pills whether I have pain or not just to not feel sick. I tried to quit several times and anxiety with no sleep defeats me every time. I go insane with anxiety. If weed can help me stay calm then I'm gonna try!

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  8. I could not disagree more. I won’t get into my entire medical history, HIPPA and all. One day I lost use of my legs. Over the course of 3.5 years I had 4 back surgeries that all went sideways, including massive bilateral DVT’s. I was also diagnosed with Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis at 35. When I saw my first Pain Management Doctor I told him in no uncertain terms, I did not ever want be on OXY. Over the course of 7 years, I ended up on 2 meds with terrible side effects, then Hydromorphone and finally OXY. I rotated between the 2 for 3 years. Last year I chose to STOP OXY, cold turkey, though I did start medical marijuana 6 months earlier. I paired that with 3 x’s a week Aquatic Physical Therapy. I cannot possibly give words to the massive improvement in my quality of life. It is like I’m myself again. Sure there is pain, but it is managed. I do have bad days, but there are other contributing issues to that.

    I primarily Vape, use an Ice Water Bong, use edibles and tinctures. I do not like the feeling nor the taster of the burnt herb. Though edibles have a different over all effect because of how they are metabolized in the liver, I am very responsible. Medical Marijuana and Aquatic Physical Therapy are my ONLY forms of Pain Management for going on 2 years. I know when to use Sativa and when to take Indica, and I avoid hybrids. When I try any new product,, I start with a smaller dosage than I would normally take, until I can asses how it affects me.

    I should also mention, I intentionally rarely drive. There is no denying the absolute efficacy of Medical Marijuana for me. I’m also smarter than the average bear, which plays in heavily. I also do not have an addictive personality, so that helps as well.

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  9. When we say "there is no evidence," it's important to distinguish between a topic that has been thoroughly investigated and there being simply a lack of evidence due to not looking.
    Currently, marijuana is illegal at the federal level, and the few labs that have funding from the federal government that can study marijuana are only allowed to study its negative effects. The fact that there is currently no evidence that medical marijuana can prevent opioid overdoses isn't really evidence against the claim, but a sign this topic needs further investigation.

  10. I’m curious- it sounded like these studies looked from a macro lens way the effect of these policies statewide- is there any clear conclusions to be made at a more individual level to deprescribe chronic opiate users while offering marijuana as an alternative? I’m thinking of this analogous to using e cigarettes as a step down from cigarettes; are there any similarities?

  11. I feel like a big factor in the increase in the mortality caused by the opioid epidemic is the access to fentanyl, and the contamination of street access opioids with fentanyl. I know that's been the driving factor here in Canada. There is also the problem of quality of medication. I have heard from a wide variety of sources, and had personal experience with the low quality of easily accessible legal medical cannabis. Accessing through compassion clubs, which skirt the line of legality, have recieved much stronger and longer lasting effects. I have found that in order to achieve therapeutic dose for my pain, I have to smoke upwards of 2 grams a day, which is insane in terms of cost and time commitment.

  12. I am a big fan of cannabis, especially since I developed syringomyelia, a spinal cord condition that cannot be cured with surgery or drug therapy, all that can be done is to manage the symptoms through pain management measures, for that marijuana works beautifully. The only other option is long term opioid medications and that's one hell of a slippery slope. Marijuana works incredibly well for the pain but it also has many other side benefits as well.

  13. Question: Did the opioids in the study include the pain killer that became an epidemic in itself or was that drug excluded? I ask because a family member became addicted after having the drug prescribed and many have died from overdoses during this period. IOW, did the subsequent study include only the drugs examined in the first study?

  14. Would have been curious to learn how the later study on medical marijuana states dealt with the possible fact that in the time since the initial JAMA study was published some states may have been more likely to legalize medical marijuana because of a perceived benefit with regards to opiate overdoses. Presumably, those states would be states with a significant overdose problem, so there may be a selection bias, whereas the period before may have been more random. Dr. Carroll is right to point out that there are many factors at play here, but I think it's incredibly important to remember that policy is not at all random.

  15. Switching from painkillers to marijuana still isn't fixing the problem. There are legitimate uses for drugs but the majority of those who abuse drugs are using them as a way to cope with emotional issues. We need to treat the cause of drug abuse and not keep substituting one drug for another.

  16. I keep wondering if the opioid problem would be as bad if we didn't have so many proponents of "harmless" drug use regardless of it's legality.

  17. Did these studies break down of the types of opioids used? Like Morphine vs Fentanyl? Did they do a chemical analysis of the cannabis used? Like linalool or β-myrcene content? Or did they treat all opioids and cannabis as equal?

  18. Sheesh. As a researcher in this area, it's pretty clear Carroll didn't actually read beyond the abstracts of these studies. It's ALWAYS impressive and scientific-sounding to say "we simply can't say whether X causes Y…more research is needed." It implies that your standard for evidence is strict and you're being humble about making positive claims. But in this space, people without domain knowledge shouldn't be weighing in like he did. People read "no clear evidence" as "no evidence" which is simply untrue. More importantly, there are good theoretical reasons to believe the previous studies showing that cannabis can be effective. None of those theories were explored in this piece…it would have taken 15 seconds.

  19. This is a topic where my own appreciation for marijuana and other (personally overwhelming) anecdotal evidence make me feel like the science is lagging waaaaaaay behind what we already know, which is directly in conflict with my desire to strictly embrace the scientific method.

    I don't know how to reconcile an argument where I'm biased on both sides of the equation.

  20. In my subjective experience cannabis has a similar feeling to opioids, but yeah, it seems like a complicated thing to prove/disprove with actual evidence.

  21. for individuals, turning to medical marijuana before turning to opiates is probably a good idea, but it’s extremely difficult to get conclusive research on the connection between trends and rates between these two things

  22. as someone who's a real fan of cannabis i love how HCT neither demonizes or glorifies it. they treat as it should, simply another medicine which has both benefits and very real detriments/side effects and like any other drug is not for treating everyone or everything. just another tool in the public health toolkit. keep following the data my dude:)

  23. I have a suggestion for the next time you do a series on opiates: look at the links between the neuropeptide hypocretin/orexin and both opiates and addiction in general. To try to make it brief, it appears that hypocretin/orexin plays a large role in addiction (at least in cocaine, opiates, and alcohol) and reward seeking and that opiates increase hypocretin/orexin levels. One study used a hypocretin/orexin antagonist in mice to stop cue induced self administration of cocaine, though I'm not sure if a similar study has been done yet on opiates.

    I'd be interested in a doctor's take on these studies. I'm not in the medical field at all, so I don't understand all of it and quite a lot of the papers are locked behind $30+ paywalls (per paper/study) without institutional access. It might be a way to help curb or stop psychological cravings, though.

    And I guess while I'm talking about hypocretin/orexin, I wouldn't mind a video on narcolepsy and/or hypocretin/orexin's roles. Narcolepsy is pretty badly misunderstood by both the general public and many doctors and we're learning hypocretin/orexin plays a much larger role than just regulating sleep/wakefulness.

  24. Recent data suggest that 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.👍

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