Using Marijuana to Fight the Heroin Epidemic is A Bad Idea.
The official position of Lighthouse Recovery Institute is that Marijuana should never be used to fight the heroin epidemic. We also feel it is part of our duty to our past, current and future clients and their family members to report the danger and long term consequences of this radical and misguided approach to fighting heroin abuse.
Marijuana Used to Combat Heroin Addiction by Neurobiologist
At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, neurobiologist Dr. Yasmin Hurd has just made public data she collected data from studies conducted from a small pilot group of men and women that shows marijuana, could reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in heroin users. The findings were published in Trends in Neuroscience in an article entitled “Cannabidiol: Swinging the Marijuana Pendulum From ‘Weed’ to Medication to Treat the Opioid Epidemic.”
An article detailing the results of the study can be found here in its entirety. This article states several shortsighted claims for the legitimacy of the use of marijuana to fight the heroin epidemic. We will dispute each individually:
“Opioids are much more dangerous, in part because of the potential for overdose”
While it is true that you cannot overdose and die fro marijuana, the use of one addictive drug to fight another will only prolong active addiction. Treatment for heroin addiction through the use of licensed drug and alcohol treatment centers has been proven to be much more successful.
“Cannabinoids could have long-lasting therapeutic effects”
While this may be true in cases such as cancer, marijuana also has many harmful side effects.
“Cannabidiol particularly helped to relieve anxiety related to cravings in heroin”
Marijuana can also produce withdrawal symptoms both physical and mental.
“The National Institute on Drug Abuse is asking researchers to think creatively about new strategies for pain relief.”
Substituting one addictive drug for another is not a “creative” solution, it is harmful, ill-advised, and ethically wrong.
The Study Never Mentions Marijuana’s Highly Addictive Components
The study conducted and the article quoted above never once mention the highly addictive nature of marijuana. Dr. Yasmin Hurd’s noble intentions only focused on heroin addiction and failed to acknowledge that her idea is simply substituting one addiction for another. It is our experience working with hundreds of heroin addicts, that any drug, including alcohol, will help combat the craving for opioids while increasing the dependency and cravings for any drug used as a substitute. Several clients who have used this substitution method have turned back to heroin once they have used the alternative substance for a period of one month or more.
Marijuana Addiction Facts
The National Institute On Drug Abuse lists the short-term effects of marijuana abuse as:
- altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
- altered sense of time
- changes in mood
- impaired body movement
- difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
- impaired memory
The long-term effects of using marijuana are:
- Breathing problems.
- Increased heart rate.
- Problems with child development during and after pregnancy
- temporary hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not
- temporary paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia (a severe mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and
- disorganized thinking)
- lower life satisfaction
- poorer mental health
- poorer physical health
- more relationship problems
- decreased appetite
Using Marijuana to Fight the Heroin Epidemic Will Make It Worse
Lighthouse Recovery Institute agrees that more serious steps must be taken to fight the heroin epidemic and to help end heroin addiction altogether. We also feel strongly that this is not it and the suggestion of a doctor that using marijuana to combat heroin use is a failure to accept the disease model of addiction. Using marijuana to fight the countries deadliest killer will only delay sobriety for the sick and suffering addict.
Millions of men and women have found permanent sobriety through the use of substance abuse treatment centers and 12 step programs. These organizations combat addiction, not just heroin. Addiction is a disease that needs to be treated and defeated. Ignoring that fact will only take our country from one epidemic to another.
If you or someone you love is addicted to heroin, please give a call 24/7 at 866-787-7234