A recent study has shown that using marijuana could actually help some alcoholics and drug addicts, including those addicted to opioids, kick their bad habits.
The study’s lead investigator Zach Walsh, associate professor of psychology at UBC’s Okanagan campus remarked, “Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication”.
The study is a comprehensive review of studies on medical cannabis use and mental health and has shown that cannabis can help with symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the review study also concluded that the use of medical marijuana is not recommended for certain medical conditions such as psychosis and bipolar disorders.
Walsh further added, “In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points”.
In this study, the researchers reviewed all studies on medical marijuana and their effects on mental health. They also reviewed non-medical cannabis use, making their study as one of the most comprehensive reviews on the mental health effects of marijuana to date. The results of this study could open the eyes of numerous mental health professionals especially that some US states and Canada is now legalizing marijuana. It may also help remove the stigma behind the benefits and risks associated with medical cannabis.
According to Walsh, “There is currently not a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes. With the end of prohibition, telling people to simply stop using may no longer be as feasible an option, so knowing how to consider cannabis in the treatment equation will become a necessity.”
This study was conducted by UBC’s Michelle Thiessen, Kim Crosby and Chris Carroll, Raul Gonzalez from Florida State University, and Marcel Bonn-Miller from the National Centre for PTSD and Center for Innovation and Implementation in California.
University of British Columbia. (2016, November 16). Marijuana could help treat drug addiction, mental health, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161116102847.htm