Dr. Sulak on a neglected treatment option for opioid addiction: medical cannabis.
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.
In this edition of Cannabis Conversations, Project CBD Director, Martin A. Lee, discusses the benefits of CBD, the “entourage effect” and the microbiome with Dr. Ethan Russo.
New: This report is now available in Spanish and Japanese translations! See bottom of this article for downloads.
Project CBD, a California-based educational non-profit, has published an in-depth primer on Cannabinoid-Drug Interactions for health professionals, patients, and public policy-makers. The 33-page report, summarized below, is available for free download at the bottom of the page.
I was born with a rare, degenerative hereditary motor and sensor neuropathy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), a disorder of the peripheral nervous system characterized by a progressive loss of muscle tissue and touch sensation across various parts of the body. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth and for the following 22 years I have faced enormous challenges because of Charcot-Marie-Tooth and cannabis prohibition.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide in individuals under the age of 45. Triggered by concussions from car accidents, falls, violent contact sports, explosives or by gunshot and stab wounds, TBI affects 1.7 million Americans annually. It is the most commonly identified cause of epilepsy among adults.
Marijuana smokers have been stereotypically mocked for short-term memory loss, and there is genuine concern about memory impairment due to cannabis consumption, particularly among seniors who are considering cannabis as a therapeutic option.
But the importance of forgetting in mental health should not be underestimated.
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.
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.
During the last week of June, more than 400 scientists from 25 countries met in Montreal for the 27th annual symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). Several presentations and posters showcased new findings about cannabidiol (CBD), the non-euphoric component of the cannabis plant that is transforming the medical marijuana landscape.