Marijuana as Treatment for Opioid Addiction

One of the biggest public health crises facing the nation is the problem of opioid addition.  This problem only appears to be getting worse.  Not only are more and more people becoming addicted to opioids, whether we are talking about prescription painkillers or heroin, more people are dying from these drugs than ever before.

pillsAccording to a recent news article from Rolling Stone, no less than 78 people die each day from opioid overdose. Narcan, which is the brand name for naloxone, is a fast-acting emergency treatment for people suffering from an opioid overdose. The medicine was once kept exclusively in emergency rooms, but now is not only being kept in ambulances but also in schools and even private homes. There is the classic leg injector similar to an Epipen, but now there also a Narcan nasal spray for even easier use.  Things got a lot worse when doctors were prescribing more opioids than ever before, and people became addicted. There are over a quarter of a billion prescriptions written each year for these medicines.  When the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cracked down on this and even arrested many doctors at pain clinics, people turned to heroin.  This included so-called pure heroin form areas like Afghanistan, as well Mexican black tar heroin.  However, once the Taliban first fell, heroin production was ramped up, and it became much cheaper to get heroin than prescription painkillers on the street.

As discussed in that article, one of the things scientists are working on is whether cannabis is effective to get people off severe opioid addictions.  There are many reasons that this could work, such as the fact that it can also control pain without being addictive, and it can help fight the symptoms of withdrawal from heroin and narcotic painkillers, such as spasms and severe stomach problems.    While this may be good news, it is hard to do research involving marijuana, because marijuana is illegal under federal law. When asked for his thoughts on this program, the current attorney general said marijuana is only “slightly less awful than heroin.”

This is, of course, not the opinion that those in favor of medical marijuana legalization would like to hear, and it is also not in line with the thinking of the majority of Americans, according to recent studies, but this is something we will have to deal with going forward. For this reason, if you are in the medical marijuana business, or are a patient who is dealing with legal issues, you should speak with our experienced medical cannabis lawyers in Riverside, so you can discuss your rights.

As a result of the opioid abuse epidemic and the problems fighting it, several states are trying to find ways to see if cannabis can be used to help patients. One such bill in Maryland was struck at the last minute, but another bill in New Mexico was just passed. This was sponsored by the GOP, even after Attorney General Jeff Sessions made his remarks about the use of medical cannabis and addiction.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
How Medical Marijuana Could Help End the Opioid Epidemic, March 29, 2017, By Eric Killelea, Rolling Stone

More Blog Entries:
Marijuana Sobriety Tests Still Elusive, Feb. 28, 2017, Marijuana Attorney Blog