Here’s Proof That Marijuana Can Help Battle Opioid Addiction

Here’s Proof That Marijuana Can Help Battle Opioid Addiction

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New research demonstrates how cannabis can help solve the heroin crisis.

  • Every day, more than 80 people with opioid addiction die in the United States from an overdose opiates.
  • About 2.5 million Americans have been diagnose with an opioid use disorder — and many more have been undiagnosed.
  • It is overwhelmingly clear that the gateway drug to heroin is opioid prescription painkillers: 80 percent of heroin users started the habit after taking pharmaceuticals.
  • Each year, 2oo million prescriptions for opioid painkillers are written, roughly the same number of the entire U.S. adult population.
  • The economic costs for this epidemic is estimated conservatively at $78 billion a year in the U.S.

With these staggering data points in mind, a neurobiologist conducted a study to see if cannabis could reduce the cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms of heroin users.

“It is my opinion that bold steps are also required to escalate the pipeline in developing creative and innovative treatments to help curb this epidemic,” said Yasmin Hurd of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who studies how both cannabinoids and opioids act on the brain. Her research was published on Thursday in in Trends in Neurosciences.

 Marijuana’s Underexplored Potential For Helping Opioid Addiction translates into cannabinoids having, for example, a stronger effect on inflammation-based chronic pain. Meanwhile, opioids are particularly good at relieving acute pain, which is why they are used in surgery. The problem is that opioids can quickly lead to a deadly addiction.

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