A study in Israel came out that shows the strong ability of marijuana to curb the use of opioids before it becomes an addiction.

Published in the Journal of Addictive Disorders, investigators at Tel Aviv University prescribed medical cannabis to non-cancer specific chronic pain patients, and of those who began their treatment with opioids, 93% “decreased or stopped [using] opioids following cannabis initiation”.

Similar studies have been published in the past, but in my humble opinion, this study has less to do with the power of marijuana, and more the complexity of an opioid addiction.

In 2015, Johann Hari discusses the nuance of addiction in a Ted Talk titled “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong”. It’s a fascinating thesis that draws from Vietnam soldiers, who spent lots of time using heroin while in that country, came home with little signs of addiction or even withdrawal. Hari’s thesis boils down to one statement: “The opposite of addiction is connection”.

Addiction, even to something as strong as opioids, has a much more complex relationship to the body beyond just physical dependence. And in reference to the study, while marijuana certainly plays a large part in the substitution, but there could potentially be a myriad of different factors we aren’t seeing beyond weed.

Nonetheless, any help at this point is welcome. Overdose deaths across the country are at a level never seen before, and it’s becoming a problem that needs to be fought at many different levels, from all sorts of angles. Medical Marijuana could end up being an effective tool.

Read the original article at Norml.

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