Opiates

Cannabis Legalization and Opioid Overdose

Oxycodone pills on a blue background.

Opioids leave much to be desired in medical treatment. They are highly addictive, very lethal, and not all that effective for treating chronic pain. Cannabis, particularly THC, is promising for its opiate-sparing properties: preclinical work indicates that cannabis synergizes with the painkilling effects of opioids and reduces the development of tolerance (perhaps because of this synergy) but does not increase opioid-induced respiratory depression which leads to death. Moreover, states that legalize cannabis see a decrease in opioid prescriptions.

The Gateway to Opiates

The gateway theory of addiction is a slippery slope fallacy. It argues that when people are introduced to mild drugs like cannabis, they later escalate to dangerous drugs like amphetamines and opioids. In the era of reefer madness, this was an excuse to demonize cannabis by associating it with lethal drugs. Although the theory is wrong, there are a few real aspects of addiction it captures. Opioids are devastating in part because of tolerance and sensitization. When the body is exposed to opioids, it tones down endogenous opiate activity however it can.

Cannabinoid-Pharmaceutical Interactions: What You Need to Know

marijuana and colorful prescription pills

Interactions between medications are very common, especially in elderly populations that medicate for pain, diabetes and high cholesterol. The geriatric population is also the fastest-growing group of medical cannabis users. Cannabis has demonstrated efficacy in treating pain, and some phytocannabinoids have been suggested for various metabolic conditions.

CBD for Fibromyalgia & Opioid Withdrawal

patient testimony: CBD to wean off opiates for fibromyalgia

I wanted to relay the experience I’m having with CBD aiding opiate withdrawal. I am a 72-year-old woman. A doctor put me on fentanyl patches about 10 years ago, after trying various painkillers for my intense fibromyalgia pain. They did not notify me how difficult, if not impossible, it would be to get off of them. I use the generic Mylan brand, which can be cut down without deleterious effects. Several times over the years I have attempted to taper down, but even cutting off the tiniest sliver of the patch resulted in intense withdrawal symptoms, so I gave up.