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Can Medical Marijuana Be Used to Treat Alcoholism?

Can Medical Marijuana Be Used to Treat Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is one of the most devastating diseases that is responsible for the deaths ofapproximately 88,000 people a year, not to mention the 9,967 deaths due to alcohol-impaired driving according to statistic. Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD) has several symptoms, such as drinking more than intended; inability to quit despite the desire to do so; craving; and, perhaps the most dangerous (if you are a heavy drinker) is potentially deadly withdrawal effects just to name a few. Several pharmaceutical treatments have been designed to treat alcoholism, such as naltrexone, acamprosate, disulfiram, and topiramate. According to a 2018 review published in JAMA only about 9% of AUD patients have access to pharmacological treatment, , and rates of recidivism have not been adequately studied. In order to stop drinking, some addicts have resorted to the controversial step of substituting marijuana for alcohol, a practice commonly known referred to as marijuana maintenance. Marijuana activists based their arguments on the fact marijuana is far less hazardous to a person’s health than alcohol (which is almost the same argument used in the comparison between marijuana to cigarettes). It used be noted that one of these options which has proven highly successful for many individuals suffering from alcohol addiction is is Marijuana Maintenance, which involves the substitution of cannabis for alcohol

What is marijuana or cannabis?

Medical marijuana or cannabis as it is commonly called refers to the use of the whole, unprocessed cannabis plant or its extracts to treat certain health conditions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2018 approved just one product containing marijuana extracts known as Epidiolex, which containing CBD, to be safe and effective for treating of epilepsy syndrome consisting of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Some other three drugs containing a synthetic form of THC are also available on prescription for treating various health conditions. The cannabis plant is composed of more than 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. They are called cannabinoids because they have chemical links to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in cannabis that produces its “high.” However researchers have mostly focused on THC and cannabidiol (CBD) among the hundred cannabinoids imbedded in marijuana. CBD is not a psychoactive chemical as it does not produce a “high,” but it has several medicinal uses. It should be noted that Cannabinoids interact with receptors in the central nervous system of the body thus affecting several processes in the brain and nervous system, such as: mood, pain, memory, coordination, appetite
Marijuana Management of Alcohol Abuse

Marijuana Management of Alcohol Abuse

Medical marijuana contains a lot of anecdotal and clinical proves suggesting it treats everything from glaucoma, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, to cancer, just to name a few. Added to this scientific-based evidence of the medicinal properties of marijuana is slowly coming together to divide the real medicinal effects versus hearsay. According to recent clinical trial, scientists have demonstrated a role for medical marijuana in treating opioid addiction. On the other hand some patients question the ability medical marijuana basing their argument on its claims if aid in autism; whether it can lead to addiction; and whether it can cure cancer . Based on clinical evidence showing how medical marijuana can help keep opiate addicts in treatment, it support the evidence that marijuana could help patients with AUD stay off the wagon. However it should be noted that a few studies on the usefulness of medical marijuana have mostly focused on its use as a drug substitute. A clinical review published in 2014 compared whether medical marijuana made a better substitute than alcohol and revealed that it does seem to reduce harm ( which is a critical component for a substitute drug) when marijuana substituted completely for alcohol. The researchers however revealed that if both marijuana and alcohol are consumed together, it can lead to greater adverse consequences than if either is taken alone.

Another researched looked at a clinical population of patients with comorbid depression and AUD and revealed that that marijuana had have many beneficial effects, and may have even reduced patients’ depression. This study concluded that marijuana would be a good treatment for this particular population. What seems even more importance for the potential of medical marijuana is the finding that patients who are in treatment for alcoholism, and who also used marijuana, had quicker treatment outcomes (as measured by the number of days to relapse) than those patients who did not use marijuana.However in terms of safety, marijuana has largely been demonized When compared to alcohol as it can be used relatively safely without the risk of death from binging, with few drugs interactions, and with far less impact on one’s long-term health and while alcohol on the other hand has absolutely no health benefits, marijuana is frequently used to alleviate pain, stimulate appetite, and enhance moods.

Conclusion

While the evidence-based research is mixed and still limited, the few trials suggest that the most effective way of using marijuana in the treatment of AUD is by substituting the former for alcohol. Although it is important to remember the fact that many people with AUD already smoke marijuana. Furthermore, they may be suffering from comorbid disorders such as depression or schizophrenia which are all treated by marijuana according to medical. Thus, marijuana has been described as “safer” than alcohol, and it may be the best idea to try to wean alcoholics off the bottle by handing them a joint.

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