Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Symptoms Of Opiate Withdrawal In Methadone Maintenance Treatment Subjects

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 16, 2013

    Cannabis consumption is associated with mitigated symptoms of opiate withdrawal in subjects undergoing methadone maintenance treatment, according to the findings of a new study published online in The American Journal on Addictions.

    Investigators at the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia assessed the use of cannabis in 91 opiate-dependent subjects undergoing methadone maintenance treatment. Researchers found that subjects seeking methadone treatment who acknowledged a history of cannabis use reported “significantly less daily expenditure on acquisition of opiates.”

    Authors additionally reported that subjects’ use of cannabis during treatment was associated with less severe symptoms of withdrawal on the clinical opiate withdrawal scale (COWS), an index designed to serve as an objective measure of opiate withdrawal. “[I]ncreased cannabis use was found to be associated with lower severity of [opiate] withdrawal in a subset of the sample with available chart data,” authors wrote. “These results suggested a potential role for cannabis in the reduction of withdrawal severity during methadone induction.”

    They concluded, “The present findings may point to novel interventions to be employed during treatment for opiate dependence that specifically target cannabinoid–opioid system interactions.”

    A 2009 study published in the same journal previously reported that moderate cannabis use and improved retention in naltrexone treatment among opiate-dependent subjects.

    Full text of the study, “Impact of cannabis use during stabilization on methadone maintenance treatment,” appears online in The American Journal on Addictions.

    31 Responses to “Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Symptoms Of Opiate Withdrawal In Methadone Maintenance Treatment Subjects”

    1. Adam Setzer says:

      Yes yes, how do you think i was able to get off the 28-36 pills a day…..i thought i wasn’t dependent….but guess anyone is after years and years and….years of use….to have that quality of life…in reality it wasn’t quality, it was pain management fucking up the quality of my body, my life was…..pretty fucked up. Who’d thunk that getting off pills and switching medicines would actually allow you to concentrate, remember and function better. My home life is soooooooo much more manageable now, more than ever.

    2. Ben says:

      Funny how, years ago, people touting these very benefits of this wonderful plant were ridiculed for such claims…

    3. Anonymous says:

      i guess they may have it right MJ is a gateway drug to cleaner health.

    4. roger says:

      I guess they were right. MJ is a gateway drug, to cleaner health.

    5. Galileo Galilei says:

      More and more the deliberate foot dragging on medicinal uses of marijuana appears to be nothing short of a crime against humanity. No one will ever be prosecuted to these crimes. The orchestration of the government apparatus to thwart the advance of medical marijuana is brilliantly conceived and implemented. Too bad the same cannot be said for other government programs.

    6. bobwv says:

      Click to watch the new Grandma 2013

    7. cosmic-surfer says:

      The biggest problem I see to creating safe, sane and successful addiction treatment is the current merging of Federal and State laws on the heads of licensed treatment facilities and physicians in the US (along with the prevailing attitude of all drugs are equal and therefore a problem not a cure). Even in states that have legalized Medical Marijuana, the use for addiction treatment is limited or non-existent.

      Those who are in a methadone treatment program are subject to the DEA regulations; Those who are locked into a legal system are often unable to avail themselves of Medical Marijuana without punishment.

      As long as we have the corruption of the “War on Drugs”, the ignorance and arrogance of legislators (most refuse to even deal with the concept or have a horse in the DEA race) and the bigotry against addiction patients/addicts, it is the most in need that will continue to be the victims.

      Chanmge will only come from:
      Education and attention to truth(thank you for the study Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University …we need it replicated and replicated and shouted to the masses;
      Continued growth in the population numbers of addicted middle class and wealthy children and adults coming out of pain treatment as physicians dump their addicted patients out of fear and physicians over prescribing opiates;
      And the confrontation of the old, tired stereotypes that keep addicts in the shadows.

    8. anonymous says:

      feel like i am not gonna make it to see legalization in my state, so am stuck taking opiates for a fatal disease, though i could live awile, my dentist just told me my teeth are rotting from the inside, am not getting relief anymore.violins please

    9. Chris says:

      I have been dependent on opiates for almost 10 years and have been doing Suboxone treatment the past 2 years but its only delaying the inevitable withdrawal terror, really wish cannabis was legal so it could be a option in helping me get through them so I can get on with being clean and healthy.

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