Using a Drug to Treat Drug Addiction? Some Say it Could Work
The latest and greatest in the treatment of drug addiction has recently come in the form of another drug. That is, according to Jaymen Johnson, owner of OMM Alternative—a medical marijuana healthcare facility in Colorado Springs.
About Medicinal Marijuana
Medicinal marijuana is used for a wide variety of purposes. Those purposes include pain treatment, nausea, glaucoma, and is also being used to treat kids with seizures. And now that list of things is beginning to include the treatment of drug addiction.
The Research That Backs it Up
Johnson says that we have been holding onto an old mentality about marijuana. One that includes the fact that it is addictive, which he says has never been substantiated.
And believe it or not. He has got a point.
Research that backs up Jaymen and his belief does have some justification. A study published in the Harm Reduction Journal surveyed more than 4,100 people and found that medical cannabis users are less likely to use more potent drugs. Compare that to methadone—a drug used to treat heroin addiction. According to the CDC, methadone contributed to nearly 1 in 3 prescription painkiller deaths in 2009. Every year about 5,000 people die of overdoses related to methadone.
For that reason, Johnson says marijuana could be a much safer alternative for treating addiction but he says more investigation and research needs to be done.
On the other hand, Judith Miller, executive director of Courage to Change Ranch, an addiction recovery program, says marijuana is NOT the right way to go.
Her belief is that people who are going to live and establish a sustainable recovery program cannot smoke pot. She believes that marijuana only adds to their addiction.
The complete abstinence approach typically subscribes to the belief that certain people take on addictive behaviors as a salve for other issues. As an example, someone may be engaging in alcohol abuse due to unresolved relationship issues as a child. If the alcohol abuse is replaced by marijuana abuse, it will continue to be the same crutch and an obstacle to their best life. This isn’t to say that in the long term, marijuana wouldn’t be a safer crutch to use than alcohol, but it doesn’t address the true issues. Complete abstinence belief also embraces the idea that an ‘addict’ lacks the ability to ‘stop’. They will continue using their vices chasing a high despite consequences. Admittedly, it can be difficult to use marijuana to the point where it is causing physical harm, but it is very possible to lose all drive and hurt your relationships and finances.
In fact, one of Judith Miller’s clients, Justin First, has completed more than two months in the program. He hopes it is the last stop on his road to recovery.
“I really need some time clean, for my brain to heal from all the damage I’ve done because of my drug use and alcohol abuse,” he says,
He’s part of a large group of people across the country who feel the same way.
NIDA or The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports half of people age 26 or older have used illicit drugs in their lifetime. They say in 2012, 2.5 million people received treatment for problems related to drugs or alcohol at rehab facilities. First says even though he used marijuana for years with no consequences eventually it progressed to other drugs.