Study: Marijuana Could Treat Drug Addiction

Could Marijuana Be the Answer to Drug Addiction?

Opponents of marijuana legalization or even the lessening of marijuana penalties are quick to talk about how marijuana can damage a community or even the mind and body of someone using it. They are also likely of the opinion that it is addictive, despite numerous studies to the contrary. A recent study indicates that not only could marijuana increase feelings of peace and well-being, but that it could be used to treat addiction to the truly harmful drugs.

According to the research published in Frontiers of Psychiatry, cannabis could be explored as a solution to stimulant addiction. Stimulants include cocaine, meth, and various prescription medications. The researchers reviewed just how cannabis affects the endocannabinoid system (ECBS) and the effects this could have on addiction.

According to the abstract:

A growing number of studies support a critical role of the ECBS and its modulation by synthetic or natural cannabinoids in various neurobiological and behavioral aspects of stimulants addiction. Thus, cannabinoids modulate brain reward systems closely involved in stimulants addiction, and provide further evidence that the cannabinoid system could be explored as a potential drug discovery target for treating addiction across different classes of stimulants.

medical marijuana as treatment for addictionTheir discoveries are far from new, however. Recently, in Columbia, a novel model for hardcore drug addicts was announced—one that would use marijuana to aid in the recovery process.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the program would create “controlled consumption centers” where addicts could slowly be weaned off hard drugs like crack and cocaine and slowly introduced to marijuana in its place.

“We’re in the process of looking for alternatives to a policy that, over 30 years, has caused deaths, has caused problems and has caused economic and public health difficulties and social problems in Colombia,” Rubén Ramírez, director of the Center for Study and Analysis in Coexistence and Public Safety, told BBC Mundo. “And among the ideas is one to do a pilot study on the substitution of [marijuana for cocaine].”

As the research for programs like this mount, U.S. policymakers would be wise to pay attention. If drugs that truly lead to criminal activity and the degradation of entire communities could be treated with a substance that is all-natural, safe, and approved of by the vast majority of Americans, what would be the draw-back?

We’ve already seen prominent medical professionals acknowledge the benefits of medical marijuana. We desperately need additional serious scientific study of cannabis, which continues to be hamstrung by it’s current Federal classification as a Schedule I Substance.

For now, however, it’s important to remember that marijuana remains against the law in all but two states. Regardless of your drug of choice, choosing to use puts you at risk of arrest and prosecution.

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Renter is a freelance writer and editor who writes about criminal justice issues.

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  • Sarah

    Disappointing to not only have to thoroughly search the website to find a brief mention of substance abuse treatment availability (which this site seems to be in support for the mere fact of avoiding harsher sentencing vs a viable first choice). I did stumble across this article which, in my opinion, falsely promotes the use of a habit-forming, pyschotropic, oh and illegal in all states as a treatment option for drug addiction. It would be nice to see a few links for individuals to find information on substance abuse treatment options. Or, at the very least, the listing of pertinent contacts who could provide information and resources on where to start this process… ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: or NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS

  • David Matson

    Thanks for commenting. We don’t generally write directly about substance abuse on this blog, except for how it relates to drug possession laws, and criminal justice reform.
    But, yes, we are in fully in support of all forms of treatment, including AA and NA for people with drug addiction problems, and believe treatment, not punishment is what people need.
    We would, however, strongly disagree with the outdated notion that cannabis is any more dangerous or habit forming than caffeine, and the use of the word psychotropic as as pejorative term is a bit inflammatory.
    Yes, marijuana is not currently legal as a drug treatment option, although medical uses are legal in 20 states. The article points out current research that suggests it could be a useful treatment.
    But thanks for commenting, we do appreciate it!