Can you treat a drug addiction with another drug? Many medical cannabis patients in recovery, as well as their caregivers, think it’s possible.
Maine’s patients and caregivers want the state to seriously consider the use of cannabis as a treatment for opiate addiction. Along with many other states seeing epidemic levels of opiate abuse and overdose deaths, Maine is searching for viable alternatives to incarceration, and is willing to hear out the cannabis community if it means a solution to this painful problem.
Officials from the state’s department of health considered the advocates’ request at a public hearing lasting over three hours. Caregivers who made public comments in favor argued that cannabis therapy had significantly eased the painful symptoms of withdrawal for their patients, such as nausea, diarrhea, muscle spasms, insomnia and anxiety. They also claimed that the build-up of cannabinoids in the body reduced the chance of relapse.
Patients themselves gave emotional public testimony that cannabis had helped them break the cycle after years of failure. Some even said that the court-ordered methadone clinics actually worsened the cycle of addiction.
In opposition stood the decidedly less understanding Maine Medical Association, who question the amount of science behind the request, and would probably oppose the use of cannabis for most purposes anyway. The addiction recovery community and the pro-cannabis movement have long been at odds, and until more objective research proves that cannabis works, the opposition will remain an obstacle for those seeking safe access.
The support is mounting as more recovering addicts turn to cannabis and share their stories online.
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