Articles Cannabis to Treat Opiate Dependence

Cannabis to Treat Opiate Dependence

Cannabis has been used by doctors to treat opiate dependence since at least 124 years, according to documentation from multiple doctors dating anywhere from 1889 to 2009. One such doctor was E. A. Birch, M.D. who recorded success in treating not only opiate dependence with cannabis, but also Chloral addiction.

In 1887, while in Calcutta, India, Birch came upon a man who confided in him that he suffered from an opiate addiction. After the man's wife reportedly died of the same addiction, the man's use of the drug became so heavy that he was fully addicted. He couldn't sleep without the drug, couldn't eat at all and often contemplated suicide. After analyzing the patient, Birch prescribed a tincture containing 10 minims cannabis indica and strophanth. Birch then instructed the patient to take the tincture medicine daily as prescribed and report back in 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, the patient returned. He reported that at first his use of the drug had greatly improved, but over time he stopped taking his medication regularly and slipped back into the full intensity of his addiction. After hearing this, Birch then prescribed his patient a pill containing cannabis indica. Amazingly, in just 24 hours the cravings for the opiates were gone, the man took the pill (which lasted longer and was stronger than the tincture) as prescribed and returned to living a healthy and productive life. He never used opiates again.

Much more recently, in 2009 ScienceDaily published a report by Valerie Dauge of the Laboratory for Physiopathology of Diseases of the Central Nervous System. In this report, she and her team concluded that, when given 10 mg injections of THC (the main active ingredient found in marijuana), lab rats who were previously addicted to morphine and/or heroin gradually reduced their dependence on the drug, finally being cured. It's hypothesized then, that opiate addiction could soon become a reason for a prospective patient to obtain a medical marijuana prescription.

Cannabis hasn't just been used to treat those addicted to opiates either. It can also help reduce the need for opiate-based drugs in patients with chronic pain and severe pain. In several cases, patients who lived a life that would be full of pain if it weren't for heavy-duty painkillers such as Oxy-codone, Oxy-contin, morphine, etc, were given a prescription a 2 - 4 "puffs" of marijuana periodically throughout the day. In these cases, the patients pain medications were reduced by up to half the amount they normally had to take to be pain-free. This, in turn, caused them to be less-dependent on the drugs.

Some may then raise the question of whether or not those who use cannabis to treat opiate dependence would then become dependent of cannabis. However zero - I repeat, zero - research has found that cannabis a physically addicting drug. It's not addictive, but if someone were to use cannabis to treat opiate dependence, it would still be recommended to continue use of cannabis. Some findings conclude the reason for marijuana helping opiate addicts is that the sedative feeling of strong indicas is somewhat comparable to the high from opiates. This is why it would be recommended to continue usage of marijuana, even after months or years of sobriety from heroin, morphine or any of those drugs.

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Guest | May 27, 2013
i have chronic insomnia, live in p.a. went to a sleep clinic and the doctor nervously asked if i smoked "reefer" this is the first time i ever disclosed that info to medical professional, he said nothing was wrong with with me, got 500$ bill fof sleep apnea test, told me next availbe appt. in 3 bumblefck an hour away, point-majority of doctors may stigmatise, assume your a junkie-into god knows what, hold very bias opinions on what you disclose be careful
Guest | Mar 21, 2013
I had my first experience with relief from a pretty nasty 10-15 year opiate addiction last night. I am not much of a pot smoker... never really have been... I always felt stupid while under that particular intoxication, but what is more stupid... being a little foggy or staying stuck in the throes of addiction. Rambling, sorry, I guess that's a side-effect for me. So, yesterday, my husband was given a little bud and I suppose curiosity led me to eat just a bit of it. I really hate to smoke!!!! I slept better than I can remember ever sleeping, but more importantly, I awoke this morning without any of my usual pain, and discomfort. It is truly a blessing to wake up and feel well. I don't know if this will last or if it was just a fluke but I am willing to give it a shot. Maybe there is hope.
Guest | Mar 7, 2013
I was kicked out of rehab for smoking weed. Weed caused me to lose the help i technically needed... Its a shame that a large portion of people compare weed to other terrible drugs. It does not compare.
Merlin | Jan 30, 2013
I am currently taking Morphine Sulfate 60mg for my pain and I must say that cannabis helps the pain and I take less pills!
Guest | Jan 25, 2013
surprised this study at this time of history hasn't been widely published to help with the cause of legalizing marijauna. Needless to say, I have been on both sides of this particular moon and HONESTLY marijuana even in very small amounts has helped with ALL the withdrawels that most of us are familiar with and as of today (only 10 days in without painkillers) I can say that for the most part (as long as I am not readily around painkillers) using small amounts of marijuana has helped immensely
Guest | Jan 22, 2013
I had not smoked cannabis in almost 8 years. I started using other drugs and quit cannabis because of some actions of mine during a heavy LSD trip / first time smoked N. Cali top grade bud ( I am from the other coast) I became paranoid, threw over $2000 in cash at friends screaming "I don't want this filth" , was naked , GF's Dad showed up, etc. I became addicted to pain killers, and that quickly got out of hand (heavy I.V. use , able to do 96mgs of hydromorphone at once 3x a day) The addiction continued for about 8 years ( a $500-$700 habit) I started using heroin when I moved to L.A. California. I almost died from a bad bacteria in the blood and that did not stop me longer than about 3 months. To end this long post, I moved to N. Cali (the emerald triangle) and met some great people. See, with marijuana here locally ... It has no value ( a lb of the best would run me $500) So its freely given away (small crop samples between friends) One day , a older guy walks up to me and assumed I smoked. I told him I didn;t and he said "Well, if you know someone who does" and handed me about 3 grams of hash he made from his bomb ass crop (he showed me the buds he had too) I ran out of hyromorpone and started to get super sick (just Google severe opiate withdrawal) and I wanted sleep, to stop the cravings , anxiety. Knowing I had previous severe paranoia issues with pot before, and that this was at least %50 THC trichromes. (it was blonde and he told me he added some bud material to tone it down) I really did not want to smoke this shit! Needless to say I gave in.4 I did not get paranoid at all. Plus, it took away the cravings, stomach issues and anxiety,m a true blessing! I smoked at least n3 times a day for the first week and made it through all of withdrawal with the same relief. Fast forward almost 18 months and only 1 relapse of 2 days only ran out of hash (my pref) or bud) I ,feel great, have turned down opiates many times and only smoke 1-2 times a day. So, did cannabis save my life? Hell yes! Did I swap one habit for another, Damn right! But, at least this is not a poison. It's mostly free (up here in Trinity County, CA). I have found spirituality.....God is forgiving..we had a talk :) , eat healthier (old N. Cal hippies have much to teach), am friendlier , not shady or all consumed with finding opiates, plus many other benefits. I would like to start a group up here in N. Cali for people with opiate addictions ( maybe others, I don't know if they are similar)and see if more people get free of that hell! Jah Bless -one love-
Guest | Dec 6, 2012
I`m just coming off codeine tapering down from 16x30mg a day and thinking of getting some good marijuana to take the edge of
Guest | Sep 8, 2012
I have had to undergo many surgeries & have become dependent on opioids- fentanyl patch & oxycodone. To get needed support for the withdrawal process, I went to a local re-hab clinic & was prescribed so many drugs it makes my head spin. These drugs have horrible side effects if things go wrong. They just started me on Naltrexon (?) to handle cravings-which can have horrible consequences on the liver & cause digestive issues, and this week they want me to come in for a Vivitrol shot-also to manage cravings. Now, my thinking of the drugs is for anxiety, one for abdominal pain, one for sweats, one for sleep...all with side effects and interactions. Now, I happen to have a few joints, I don't "really" smoke pot, but occassionally I was using it for pain management (I also have fibro-myalgia). So- anyway, I have it. But, if I was using the pot for the slight high & relaxation, along with the benefit of reducing pain, would it be the wrong thing to do something that alters my state of mind, even slightly. Will the marijuana reduce the anxiety I am having from withdrawals & life is tough in general these it beneficial-or is it a reasonable thing to do that will not put me back to craving opioids? In other words more harm than good? (But, I have to say with the side effects of what I am being prescribed, I don't see how....except that it might re-enforce my cravings? I would gladly accept clinical information, websites with good data- pro & con (because I think for myself :o)Email it to me: Thanks!
Guest | Jul 23, 2012
Cannabis can do so many things, that is why the government and pharmaceutical companies are so afraid of it becoming legalized!! Stand up and stop the tyranny and lies, Join!!
Guest | Mar 14, 2012
I am so happy they are realizing the many powers of this plant, and although stigmatized greatly it has shown positive results. :)
Guest | Feb 25, 2012
You cant use to most of cannabis all the other drugs is bad if you use to most all drugs plants is one gift from Gud..
Stuverod | Feb 25, 2012
Hey you cant use to most of cannabis as you can with all the other drugs all drugs plants is one gift from Gud..
smoker ru ru | Feb 19, 2012
i was addicted to heroin and crack for 25yrs...i've been in 32 rehabs.. numerous methadone clinics ... you name it i tried it ... NOTHING WORKED !!!!!!!! but when i started smoking MARIJUANA, my whole life CHANGED !!! i now have 3yrs clean from heroin and crack...CANNABIS TRULY SAVED MY LIFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest | Dec 26, 2011
potheadjames | Dec 26, 2011
lindzzz, I realize this is totally irrelevant and off-topic but boy are you cute!
lindzzz | Nov 25, 2011
Marijuana is always going to be a safer drug than opiates. We need to help ppl who are trapped by these awful addictions. One of my family members is addicted to pain pills, and I wish that she would use marijuana imstead.