Using medical marijuana for opiate addiction

Published Jan 29, 2019 01:50 p.m. ET

 What is it about opioids that make them so deadly and addictive? Opioids are prescribed drugs that have properties to relieve pain.  Opiates can make you feel high; this is the reason that they have the potential to be abused. Opioids are also obtained legally.

Your health provider will prescribe opioids for various ailments like chronic pain, diarrhea, and even severe coughs. These drugs come in many forms, syrup, tablets, nasal sprays, skin patches, and suppositories.

There are short-term effects from opioid use: drowsiness, constipation, impotence in men and for some people, dizziness.

The long-term effect can be an increased tolerance to the opioid, liver damage and infertility in women.

Medical marijuana for opiate withdrawal

When withdrawing from opioid drugs, there can be physical withdraw symptoms.  Some of these are chills, diarrhea, nausea and stomach pains. There are medicated assisted forms of withdrawal if you prefer.  Methadone is a prescribed drug that can assist in the withdrawal from opioids.

The length of time that you used the opioids for, and which opioids you took can both affect the withdrawal procedure.


Medical marijuana has properties for pain management similar to opioids. This has been established fact for years.

CBD, a component of marijuana, has shown behavioral improvements regarding addiction, stress, and anxiety. Some people found these benefits continued after CBD had stopped being used.

Marijuana can also work to reduce anxiety and convulsions that can accompany the detoxification process when withdrawing from an opioid. Interesting to note, in New York State, when a patient’s condition may warrant an opioid; they are given the choice of using marijuana as an alternative. The patient will be provided withan ID card that will allow them to purchase medical marijuana. The idea behind this is that if fewer prescriptions for opioids are written, fewer people will develop a serious opioid addiction. Once a patient first presents their ID, and a prescription for medical marijuana is written, there’s little hassle for them in the future to get their medical marijuana.

There are some who think that inhaling marijuana may compliment prescribed opioids and safely interacting with them thus providing perhaps a lesser need for the opioid.

When super low doses of THC or opioids are used on their own neither one is effective. When both are combined at the same time effective pain relief is noted.  In the right combination opioids and marijuana can lower the side effects of withdrawal like the cravings for the drug and can enhance the analgesic effects that the opioids have.

If a health provider educated in the beneficial use of marijuana would supplement the opioid prescriptions with marijuana, then the dependency for the opioid would diminish. We know that marijuana can work wonders on pain and the symptoms surrounding it — the more education about medical marijuana and its benefits on the withdrawal process from opioids the better.  We can only hope more marijuana research happens soon. To date, very few deaths have been recorded from marijuana addiction, after all,pot dependence isn't a major issue. Marijuana users and medical practitioners alike, do not report cases of dependence on marijuana, unlike opioids.



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