The heroin epidemic is real and becoming a growing problem. In fact, annually, at least 500,000 people use heroin at least once with 15,000 deaths occurring from opioid abuse each year! Heroin is a powerfully addictive drug and once users are hooked it is hard to break the cycle, which can lead to detrimental consequences. It can be hard to know where to turn when you feel like you've tried everything under the sun to kick the habit yourself or help a loved one. However, a potential new way to help with heroin cravings is garnishing quite a bit of attention, and for good reason. Medical Cannabis and cannabis derivatives including CBD have the potential to help heroin addicts kick the cravings.
What are Cannabis and CBD?
Cannabis goes by many names including marijuana, pot, grass, weed, and reefer just to name a few. It is a sedative, which means it slows down the central nervous system. THC is the primary active ingredient in cannabis that illicit effects on the brain and alters movement, concentration, memory, coordination, senses, time perception, and pleasure. It changes the way your brain receives and processes information.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a stimulant and is a cannabis derivative that does not contain THC and therefore does not possess any of the psychoactive properties of true cannabis.
Although cannabis is widely used as a recreational drug, it has received quite a bit of recognition for its medical uses for treating a variety of conditions including nausea, pain, Alzheimer's, glaucoma, seizures, and even heroin addiction.
What is Heroin Addiction?
Heroin is an opioid drug that is derived from morphine. Users sniff, snort, smoke, or even inject this powerful substance. This drug affects the reward system of the brain. Users can easily become addicted after only a few uses because it offers feelings of peacefulness, drowsiness, relaxation, and can also relieve anxiety and depression. However, it is a highly addictive substance with several health risks including:
- Cardiovascular damage
- Collapsed veins
- Pulmonary issues
- Cognitive impairment
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
Heroin addiction is serious, with 1 in every 4 people who try heroin becoming addicted. The bottom line is that addiction is not a choice and heroin addiction specifically is difficult to kick. However, Cannabis has come to the forefront recently on potentially being able to help addicted heroin users fight the intense cravings.
How Can Medical Cannabis Help Fight Heroin Addiction?
Medical cannabis has emerged as a potential treatment for those fighting heroin addiction. Cannabis and derivatives such as CBD products can offer users the same effects as heroin without the negative side effects or severe addiction component. It is important to note that THC can be addictive, but not to the severity that opioids can be. Heroin users like that the drug makes them feel relaxed, decreases feelings of anxiety, and provides pain relief. Cannabis too can elicit feelings of relaxation, decrease anxiety, and relieve pain.
You may be wondering why cannabis is not as addictive as heroin if they can both affect the body in the same way. The difference is that heroin triggers the reward center in the brain, which means it keeps you coming back for more because you want to keep feeling that sense of pleasure and therefore you become addicted. Cannabis does not affect the reward center of the brain. While it makes you feel good, it does not cause you to develop an obsessive-compulsive need for it.
A study conducted by Howard University Hospital found that there was a 33% reduction in heroin abuse when using cannabis as a treatment. Furthermore, the study suggests that cannabis, especially derivatives such as CBD can help mitigate the cravings of heroin and allow users to substitute responsible cannabis use for heroin use and wean themselves off of the powerful substance.
Is Medical Cannabis Right For You?
If you or a loved one is struggling to fight heroin addiction, medical cannabis might be a viable treatment option to help your road to recovery. The Marijuana Doctor now is registered in Florida's cannabis program and experienced in helping individuals use medical cannabis to treat a variety of health conditions including heroin addiction. When you come in for a consultation with our compassionate and knowledgeable physician, you can expect a partner throughout your journey. We will customize a strategy to fit your needs, adjust as necessary, help you apply for a Florida marijuana card and so much more! When you're ready to kick your cravings contact us today for an initial consultation and start living your best life, addiction-free!