PHOENIX – Blue Door Therapeutics, a rehabilitation facility in Scottsdale prescribes medical cannabis in treating individuals with addiction on painkillers, specifically opiates.
Medical practitioners at Blue Door Therapeutics claim that cannabis patches and cannabis capsule can help alleviate symptoms of opiate withdrawal such as nausea and vomiting. One patient attests that the use of medical marijuana helped her off from her opiate addiction.
This patient is a woman, 63 years old, and has undergone a series of knee surgeries. Within the duration of the operations and recovery, she used oxycodone as painkillers. This drug is considered as an opiate. The continuous use of painkillers developed an addiction. Trying to get off opiates produced withdrawal symptoms.
Blue Door Therapeutics treated her with cannabis capsules, spray, and patches. Furthermore, doctors from the rehabilitation facility do not encourage their patients to smoke pot since the dosage is hard to regulate through this medium. The patients should first obtain a medical marijuana card to qualify for the cannabis treatment. Also, Blue Door does not promote cannabis as a substitute for using opiates. Based on their treatment program, the patients also wean off from the use of medical cannabis.
According to Blue Door’s medical director, Ravi Chandiramani, patients should meet the criteria of the state to be able to participate to their treatment program. This ensures that patients will be responsible for the use of cannabis and would prevent formation of habitual marijuana use. He got the idea from working in a medical marijuana dispensary where people claim that using marijuana eradicated their need for painkiller pills.
Other than the THC or tetrahydrocannabinol content of cannabis, which is the psychoactive ingredient of the drug, it also contains CBD or cannabidiol. Although there have been studies and anecdotal evidences claiming of the benefits of CBD to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms, these are limited, and evidences are not yet enough to substantiate the claims.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms generally need treatment and does not just go away on its own. Some of the symptoms are anxiety, irritability, agitation, insomnia, and lethargy. Other physical manifestations of the symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and nausea.
According to Chandiramani, CBD has anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. This is the substance responsible for helping patients to wean off their opiate addiction. Also, CBD does not have psychoactive effects unlike THC.
Other reported characteristics of CBD are antioxidant, antidepressant, neuroprotectant, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral agent, anxiolytic, and analgesic. CBD’s effect on the body benefits the motor control, memory, mood, immune function, pain perception, reproduction, bone development, sleep, and appetite.
However, treating a drug problem with another drug is still a controversial methodology with the risk of addiction to another drug. This is what Blue Door tries to prevent with their opiate withdrawal treatment program using medical marijuana. Reports deem it as effective through the regulation and monitoring of doses together with the responsible cooperation of their patients.
There are existing procedures in treating opiate addiction but they themselves have certain risks. Do you think medical cannabis can be a more effective solution to treat people from opiate addiction?