Marijuana use disorder exists. Opioid use disorder exists. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, in the most recent fifth edition, both opioid use and marijuana use fall under the “substance use disorder” category, which is where otherwise called addictions are listed. Marijuana is considerably safer than opioids, in every sense. Though marijuana addiction is possible and can be devastating in the ability to live a quality life, there has never been a marijuana overdose to date. Opioid overdose, on the other hand, was responsible for 52,000 deaths in 2015 and is now the leading cause of death among American adults under the age of 50. By technical details alone, marijuana is and should be considered more safe than opioids.
Due to this fact, some treatment centers are turning to the use of medical grade marijuana as a therapeutic method for treating opioid addiction. Medication Assisted Therapy, also called MAT is a controversial yet heavily relied upon method of therapy for recovering from opioid addiction. Utilizing prescription medications like Suboxone, methadone, and others, small amounts of opioids are administered, in addition to other ingredients. By maintaining a small amount of opioids, the effect of opioid withdrawal syndrome is reduced. Withdrawal from opioids is considered to be the most severe and has one of the highest occurrences of cravings- cravings so intense that thousands do not make it through the detox period. MAT serves as a way to reduce the likelihood of relapse and create enough stabilization to complete treatment. However, many who have undergone MAT have reported that the drugs are just as strong and that tapering off of them, or detoxing from them individually, can be equally intense if not worse than detoxing from the opioid drugs themselves. While these drugs are effective in many cases, many other cases result in misuse, abuse, and eventual addiction- which many do not define as “recovery”. Currently, there is no standardized definition of what “recovery” or “sobriety” means. Though popular and widely proven, total abstinence from all mind-altering substances is not the standard. Marijuana is considered a safer treatment option for recovering from opioid addiction. Despite being an addictive psychoactive substance, the positive medical benefits are considerable enough.
Longitudinal studies on the efficacy of medical marijuana treatment for opioid addiction are not plentiful. Conservative-minded recovery advocates believe an addictive drug will trigger the addicted mind. Many others believe that with enough behavioral therapy, marijuana could positively support an opioid-free lifetime- a much needed option.
Choosing the right treatment plan can be a challenge when a loved one’s life is at stake. Hired Power is here to take the weight off your shoulders so you can focus on bringing recovery home. Our dynamic team of experienced recovery professionals will help you with planning every step of the way. For information, call us today at 800-910-9299.
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