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.

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

    1. Dave Evans says:

      Galileo, just think about all the work that never got done and all things kids never learned about because we were wasting their time teaching them lies about marijuana.

      100’s of millions of man hours clocked doing nothing but filling people’s head up with bullshit.

    2. Anonymous says:

      True,as ive came down from 70mls. Daily,to just 8 mls. In 6 months,mostly smokin Jack Herer or Cheese!!;)

    3. Kory Jones says:

      The CannaWay Foundation seeks to infuse cannabis treatment into addiction recovery. This IS the new norm….science is catching up. Help CannaWay by supporting us through a donation Partnership to encourage further study. CannaWay is also seeking medical professionals. Contact us at info.cannaway.co

    4. Robert says:

      I have not had a drink in 19 years! smoking pot helps me enjoy life and feel good! I`m up and off to work every day on time.never miss days because of being hungover.

    5. Kristin says:

      I have been on pain management for 12 years and have not been able to smoke. Oops, broke the rule! Pain level is down considerably. MJ also helps fight the side effects of long term SRIs. Wish they would talk about that.

    6. plop says:

      Cannabis absolutely helps with the side effects of opiate addiction and withdrawal. Replaces benzodiazapines, which a lot of people turn to when supplies are low or unavailable.

      And it is the combination of benzos (xanax, valium etc) and opiates that cause the most unintentional overdoses.

      Simply put, if you can avoid going that route you are doing yourself a favor.

    7. Brooke says:

      I agree immensely with this study. I have smoked marijuana for years, but quit smoking when I found my true love- Oxycontin. But now that I’ve been clean & on methadone maintenance I started smoking here and there again. I’m now detoxing off the methadone and am down to 72 mgs a day. I started detoxing from 110. I have to say, although the pot definitely helps with transitioning from the opiates to the methadone, it also helps with detoxing off of the methadone. It helps me to be able to eat, exercise, work, and most of all: relax & sleep! When in withdrawals, marijuana helps with almost all side affects. Therefore, whichever drug you are trying to kick, get you some Ganja!

    8. Sunnigirl says:

      Glad I found this sight .This is my short tale….I have been seeing a pain mang dr.for 15 yrs .my. last prescribed dosage. was. 3 60 mg oxys plus 8 roxis. daily ( may I add im 5’3 100 lbs) tried tellin drs i wanted OFF the stuff! Wouldnt. listen.about a yr ago i experienced. weight loss from stress. Issues then dr. Prescribe”Marinol” pills , i live in Tx so thats the closest. We

    9. Sunnigirl says:

      DGet here to MJ (its pretty much liqued THC in capsule form but its great! Definatly helps w/opiate withdrawl. I took MYSELF off the opiates! Wasnt easy by far….but much better w/ marinol/mj !

    10. Steven says:

      I guess i kind of understand why some people were ridiculed for researching pot since all the “medicinal” benefits come from the very high that was supposed to be outlawed. Its kinda like sayin crystal meth is great for the obese and ketamine works great on panic attacks duh,

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