Do you know someone who has relied on marijuana to help them overcome an opiate addiction?
Recently, a friend told me about his experience with a decade of methadone treatment. And how cannabis helped relieve the pain of opioid withdrawal.
In his wilder days, my friend found himself experimenting. He got into highly addictive substances like heroin. Over time it grew into an expensive habit. But, few people suspected. He worked and presented himself as a professional. But, as people who do drugs know when the party’s over it’s over.
It was over for my friend when the police discovered his stash during a routine traffic stop.
That’s when he knew. It was time to say goodbye to heroin. And at the time, methadone replacement therapy was the easiest option.
Everyday except Sunday, he’d wake up at 3:00 AM to drive an hour to the clinic. He waited in the line until 5:00 AM when the clinic opened. He submitted to urine tests. Daily interrogation. Random drug screens. And costs. And supervised treatment which prevented him from traveling.
This clinic treatment continued for years. Until medical marijuana became an option where he lived.
Plus, there’s a spiritual side to cannabis. Using marijuana connects a person with the divine nature of things. Through this connection the marijuana user replaces worry with appreciation for life. This connection is lacking in methadone therapy.
Despite the benefits there are plenty of people who need treatment but have no pot. There are many places where marijuana remains illegal. This illegality makes methadone treatment more accessible than marijuana. Not a great trade.
Methadone binds to the same receptors as heroin. At the right dose methadone prevents cravings for heroin and other opiates. At the wrong dose it triggers opiate cravings and leads to overdose.
Methadone clinics are open early in the morning and close early in the afternoon. The dose lasts a day, two at most. .. then withdrawal pains kick in. Methadone withdrawal lasts anywhere from 14 days to several months.
Methadone clinics are notoriously difficult to get away from.
Clinics place a number of restrictions on patients intended to keep them on the program. Despite the life disruptions caused by the clinic most people can never leave. That’s how powerful the drug is. People put up with the hassles of
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Sleep disruption
- Sugar cravings
- Profuse sweating
- Interrogations by clinicians
- Random drug tests
- Lack of control over travel
- And other intrusions to get their dose.
Without it they don’t feel like a normal person. It’s nothing like marijuana.
Access to medical marijuana remains a problem for many. The lack of medical marijuana legislation contributes to the problem. More people are trapped in methadone “therapy” without a less addictive treatment.
It’s high time marijuana replacement therapy gets a chance to treat the opiate crisis.
My friend did make it through the lengthy withdrawal from methadone. While it was uncomfortable at times, he knows he couldn’t have done it without marijuana.