The opioid crisis is claiming thousands of lives each year. What's more, an estimated 2.5 million people are living with opioid-use disorders that are putting their health, happiness, relationships and lives in jeopardy. Factors like stigma, slim resources and lack of access to medication for opioid-use disorder (MOUD) treatments are keeping many people hooked on opioids even though there is a deep desire for recovery. The fact that the age group between 25 and 34 is experiencing the most opioid overdose deaths means that too many people are being cut down in the prime of life by a preventable public health crisis.
Recently, medical marijuana (MMJ) has emerged as a promising mitigating factor for opioid dependence. Many people in Florida are now looking into the idea of using medical marijuana to break cycles of opioid addiction. What's especially interesting about marijuana for opioid addiction is that it appears to have both preventative and remedial benefits. Here's a look at five ways that marijuana has the potential to help with opioid addiction.
1. Medical Marijuana Usage May Reduce Opioid Usage
In recent years, there have been a number of studies on how medical marijuana can serve as an outlet to help relieve symptoms for patients suffering from opioid addiction. Increasingly, researchers and public health officials are watching opioid usage go down in places where MMJ usage goes up. A study published in 2018 stated that Opioid prescriptions filled under Medicare Part D decreased by 2.11 million daily doses per year by state when medical marijuana laws went into effect. When dispensaries opened, the number of prescribed daily opioid doses went down by 3.74 million per year. In a study from 2014, it was found that states with medical cannabis laws had a mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate that was 24.8 percent lower when compared with states without similar laws.
All of this is especially helpful to know for people who are currently in recovery. The reality is that accidents, injuries, and life circumstances can create legitimate reasons to need a pain-management prescription. If a person has a history of opioid addiction, medical marijuana may be an alternative pain-management option to avoid relapse.
2. Medical Cannabis May Provide Relief for Withdrawal Symptoms
Cannabis may help people who are breaking dependency from opioid usage to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. The therapeutic effects of marijuana can help to minimize chills, bodily pain, nausea and mental stress that can make the withdrawal process a harrowing experience. Using marijuana to make opioid detox a more palatable experience can help a person's chances of not relapsing to opioid use.
3. Marijuana Can Help to Keep Craving Behaviors at Bay
In 2019, a study investigated the potential of cannabidiol to reduce cue-induced cravings among drug-abstinent individuals. When compared to placebo, cannabidiol reduced craving behaviors induced by the presentation of drug cues. What's more, the effects could still be measured seven days following exposure.
4. Marijuana May Provide Support for Anxiety
People who are using opioids to self-medicate for mental-health issues like anxiety stand to benefit from medicinal cannabis. In fact, preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates that CBD is effective for reducing anxiety behaviors that are related to the following:
- General anxiety disorder (GAD).
- Panic disorder (PD).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
5. Marijuana Might Be a Good Option for Relieving Chronic Pain Among People With Histories of Opioid Use
For people who become hooked on opioids after being prescribed medications, there is a real fear of living life in overwhelming pain after getting off of opioids. Many people who have never used recreational drugs in their lives become dependent on opioids after experiencing chronic pain following an accident, a workplace injury, a sports injury or surgery. A marijuana prescription has the potential for sustained, meaningful pain relief without the negative health, psychological and societal downsides presented by opioid usage. Here's a look at the results of a cross-sectional survey of patients with chronic pain:
- Cannabis use was associated with 64 percent lower opioid use in patients with chronic pain.
- Cannabis use was associated with better quality of life in patients with chronic pain.
- Cannabis use was associated with fewer medication side effects.
- Cannabis use was associated with fewer medications used.
There is plenty of well-documented evidence to support claims that MMJ is effective for managing chronic pain. It appears that MMJ is especially efficacious for the management of neuropathic and spasticity-related pain. On the physiological level, cannabinoids help to inhibit the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides from nerve endings while reining in neuron excitability to inhibit pain pathways and reduce neural inflammation. In a 2014 study on the patterns of use of medical cannabis among cancer patients, 70 percent experienced improvements in pain and general well-being following marijuana use.
Schedule an Appointment With a Marijuana Doctor for All-Inclusive Medical Marijuana Evaluation Services
If you're looking to obtain your medical marijuana card in Florida, we are here to help you! MarijuanaDoctor.com is proud to be Florida’s leading provider of MMJ card recommendations. Our team of compassionate certified physicians have serviced over 40,000 patients, earning over 2,000 5-Star Google Reviews. When you call or schedule an appointment online, you'll gain access to our state certified physicians at more than 20 convenient locations in Florida who can help you to determine your eligibility. If you don't qualify you don't pay.
To schedule your in-person appointment, visit www.MarijuanaDoctor.com or call (844) 442-0362. Our friendly patient-care specialists are here to walk you through the process. Rest assured that you'll always receive caring, convenient service when you reach out to us with any of your questions. Ask about our discounted pricing for veterans when you schedule your consultation with Marijuana Doctor!