Medical Marijuana As Treatment For Alcoholism
For decades, there have been debates about whether to make marijuana a legal substance. People who have certain illnesses like cancer have found that the medicinal purposes of marijuana have been quite beneficial. It allows cancer patients to develop an appetite when they aren’t hungry, and it even takes away some of their other symptoms like nausea. Although many states are making marijuana legal, there’s a new debate that focuses on marijuana when treating people who suffer from alcoholism.
Treating Addiction with Drugs
This has been a touchy subject for a long time. There are many doctors, scientists and psychologists who believe that you should never treat addiction with drugs. Addicts have an altered state of mind where they’ll abuse just about any substance that changes the way they feel. The statistics don’t lie though. Cities that have free methadone clinics have seen drastic drops in crime rates as well as overdose rates from heroin because people have access to these clinics. In 2014, JAMA Internal Medicine ran a study, and it showed that medical marijuana helped reduce opiate overdose fatalities by 25 percent.
Now, the new research is trying to see if marijuana can help people who can’t control their alcohol intake. The idea behind this is that marijuana can be used as a replacement for alcohol, and the side effects are far less dangerous than those when someone is a chronic drinker.
An online magazine interviewed a doctor who was conducting research about the effects of marijuana decreasing alcoholism. Amanda Reiman, PhD MSW, found that a lot of people were already using marijuana as a replacement drug. People are fearful that they’ll become addicted to opiates, so they opt to use marijuana instead of being prescribed medications that have been the leading causes of fatal overdoses for years. She found that out of 350 patients, 75 percent of them were using cannabis as a substitute for medications, and half of those people were also using it as a replacement for alcoholism.
When people were interviewed more intensively, it was discovered that they were able to slow down and think about the repercussions of abusing different substances. This is great news when it comes to treating alcohol addiction because the main problem an alcoholic suffers from is their impulse to drink. Many alcoholics don’t make the conscious decision to drink, but find themselves drunk once again.
It was also found that cannabis has helped reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. One of the man reasons an alcoholic doesn’t quit is because they’re fearful of the harsh symptoms of withdrawal, which can include nausea, shaking, delirium tremens and hallucinations. Withdrawal is one of the primary factors when an alcoholic has accumulated days or weeks of sobriety because they’re unable to cope with the symptoms.
Science has proven that marijuana is an addictive substance, and people can develop a dependency for it. The reason why doctors are wanting to use it to treat alcoholism is the same as other replacement drugs, and that’s because the consequences are far less dangerous than that of harder drugs and alcohol.