Opioid abuse and addiction has become a massive epidemic across the United States and extending globally to much of the rest of the world. It is estimated that in 2014, around 2 million individuals 12 years old or older had an addiction to prescription opioid drugs, while around 591,000 had an addiction specifically to heroin. Heroin is so addictive in fact, that scientists say around 23% of those who try heroin will develop an addiction to the drug. Of course, the issues with opioid abuse do not just end there; heroin is actually one of the leading causes of addiction related deaths, and overdoses because of this substance are prominent. Just so that the facts are clear and understandable, we will provide you with some overdose statistics; in 2015 there were a little more than 52,000 deaths related to drug overdose.
About 20,000 of those deaths were due to prescription pain relievers, and around 13,000 were because of heroin. Just by taking a look at the statistics, it is obvious that the opioid abuse epidemic is becoming a major issue even just within the United States, and has been a problem for decades. There has been a great number of studies and personal accounts explaining that cannabis may be able to help combat opioid abuse.
In a 2015-2016 study conducted by Anita Willard Briscoe, 400 patients were interviewed during a collection of self-reported data. Many reported the ability to kick their opioid addiction with the help of marijuana, with more than 25% claiming success. Technically speaking, cannabis works by helping the opioid addict or abuser feel less anxiety when coming off the drug, sleep better during the difficult withdrawal nights and even helping to keep the cravings at bay. There are likely reports of other ways that cannabis has helped those with opioid abuse, but in the end it is clear that this medicinal crop has proven to be quite beneficial to these people, and could assist many more in need in the future.
Keep reading to learn about the 5 Best Marijuana Strains to Combat Opioid Abuse…
What Is Opioid Abuse?
By definition, opioid abuse is essentially a reliance upon either prescription opioid based medications, (codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine and many others), or illegal, oftentimes black market opioid derivatives, (primarily heroin and its variations). Prescription opioids are generally considered safe by medical practitioners, but only when used as directed for short periods of time to remove pain and help with the healing process. The majority of opioid abuse cases are because of a prescription opioid drug, while a smaller percentage are because of heroin.
Causes and Symptoms of Opioid Abuse:
The causes of opioid abuse are greatly debatable and complex. Opiate, by definition, is a physical addiction, meaning that often times once an individual gets started with the consumption of an opioid derived drug, it becomes difficult for them to discontinue use. Choosing to use the drug in the first place can be because of a variety of factors and causes. Some get started because they are prescribed these drugs for pain relief or after a serious injury. Others choose to begin using opioids because they are unsatisfied with something in life or discontent emotionally. Sometimes it is simply because those who are around them are doing it, so they follow suit. It is complex to assess the reason for why a person begins to take opioids, but once the abuse onsets it can become a very serious ordeal.
Symptoms of opioid abuse are most clearly recognized as a reliance upon the substance. Being without the drug once one has reached the point of addiction or abuse, can cause extreme irritability, sweating, horrific cravings, constipation, small pupils, nausea, shallow breathing, slurred speech and more, but the long term effects of opioid abuse are probably the most frightening, because the body begins to develop immunity to the drug, often causing the consumer to up their dose. This is sometimes the culprit for an opioid overdose, but just by assessing the statistics presented above, it is clear that both opioid abuse and opioid overdose are a significant problem.
Conventional Medical Treatments for Combating Opioid Abuse Which are Not Marijuana Related
Those who are dealing with opioid abuse and have had a frightening incident, intervention, or other deterring factor present within their life; will often make the decision to quit using opioids altogether, but withdrawals can be extremely difficult on the body and often make the user want to get back on the drugs once again. In order to prevent a relapse, some pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed by doctors to help with the negative effects of opioid withdrawal. These drugs are typically used as a substitute for the opioid, (they are usually derived from opioids themselves), and then the amount prescribed is slowly weaned away so that some of the uncomfortable and unpleasant effects of withdrawal won’t be experienced as prominently. The pharmaceutical medications that are prescribed to assist with withdrawals includes, methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine.
Typically, the most successful conventional form of opioid abuse treatment, is a pairing of a prescription drug such as methadone, as well as therapy, or a withdrawal support group. Having the two elements working in unison, has proved to be effective against patient relapse.
Medical Marijuana and Opioid Abuse:
Many uncomfortable and unpleasant circumstances can occur when one is undergoing opioid withdrawal, including insomnia, irritability, stress, anxiety, depression, lack of appetite and fatigue just to name a few. Everyone’s experience of opioid withdrawal is a little different, but overall these are some recurring trends. Marijuana can genuinely assist with subduing or even completely eliminating these horrible withdrawal symptoms, and the 5 best marijuana Strains for help will be mentioned in the next section of this article…
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Opioid Abuse
1. Critical Kush Marijuana Strain (Indica)
Critical Kush is a critical choice for those undergoing symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Genetically, this marijuana strain ranks in as a 90% indica and 10% sativa crop, but its effects are ideal for some of the unpleasant situations those withdrawing will go through. The high of Critical Kush is cerebral and euphoric, eventually melting into a deep sedation. This cannabis works for nausea, insomnia and lack of appetite, and not only relieves the body, but also takes stress and anxiety away from the mind. Critical Kush is a well-rounded relaxer.
2. Platinum Girl Scout Cookies (Hybrid Marijuana Strain)
This 50/50 indica and sativa hybrid strain, is a quintessential balance between body and mind relaxation plus pain relief and awake awareness. Many hybrids can cause some sedation and tiredness, but instead of making you sleepy, Platinum Girl Scout Cookies simply melts your troubles away. It improves the mood better than many pharmaceuticals can, relieving stress, depression and anxiety, as well as working with the body to subdue pain, swelling, migraines and nausea, all of which can be symptoms of opioid withdrawal. This action packed cannabis strain is the genetic crossover of the sativa Durban Poison, and the hybrid OG Kush. A force to be reckoned with.
3. Chem Berry (Hybrid Marijuana Strain)
The second 50/50 indica and sativa hybrid on this list, Chem Berry is a poorly understood strain, specifically in regards to its genetic origins and how it came into existence on this earth. One thing is for sure, it can work wonders for those with opioid withdrawal symptoms who are struggling to find energy to get up throughout the day. Although a hybrid, Chem Berry very much feels like a sativa, bringing about surges of uplifting energy and waves of creativity and motivation. Eventually the energy gently subsides into a full-body relaxation, but it does not stop the user from giggling and chatting. Chem Berry makes you extremely talkative and social, as well as combating anxiety and stress. The cherry on top- it tastes of a delicious blend between blueberries and lavender.
4. Northern Lights (Indica Marijuana Strain)
This potent and pungent marijuana strain is a brilliant sleep relief, offering relaxation and sedation to almost everyone that needs it. Northern Lights ranks in as a 90% indica, 10% sativa strain, meaning its effects are largely clustered within the realm of sleep. Many of those combating opioid abuse have extreme difficulties falling to sleep. Withdrawal can cause night sweats, nightmares, nausea and more, so getting enough rest, if any at all, is not always a reality. That is where Northern Lights comes in to help, offering sweet relief for those who desire it and who are trying to turn their lives around. Its genetics are purely of landrace origins- a cross between Thai sativa and Afghani indica. A smoke that generates pure bliss.
5. Wild Cherry (Indica Marijuana Strain)
Wild Cherry immediately offers an intense cherry aroma that not only fills up the room with its pleasant scent, but also hits the taste buds with a sweet, delicious flavor of freshly ripened cherries and hints of mint. The effects of this cannabis are invigorating and uplifting, bringing about giggles and an appetite. By the end of the high you might experience yourself becoming sleepy, which is why this strain is best consumed in the evening or during night time hours. Because of its appetite inducing, mood uplifting and sleep bringing effects, Wild Cherry is a well-rounded opioid withdrawal option that could benefit many individuals. It is a genetic cross between Cherry Thunderf**k and legendary Trainwreck.
Final Thoughts About Marijuana for Opioid Addiction:
If you or a loved one is struggling with the difficulties of combating opioid addiction or abuse, these 5 outstanding marijuana strains may be able to help and offer support plus relief. We hope that you found this article to be educational and informative. We are by no means offering this information as medical advice, and it should not be interpreted as so. It is important to remember that the consumption of cannabis is the sole responsibility of the user and discretion should always be taken.