Marijuana is legalizing and medicalizing around the country. 2016 alone has seen the legislative approval of recreational marijuana use in 4 states. Many others have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana as well as medicalized it. As the normalization of marijuana grows, research continues to grow as well. CBD oil, which removes the high-inducing THC molecule from marijuana, is being used to treat cancer, autism, ADHD, depression, and more.
A recent review of research has found that marijuana can benefit mental health disorders. Social anxiety, PTSD, and depression can all be benefited from the use of marijuana, according to the review. Specifically, these mental health disorders benefit from the use of marijuana. Other mental health disorders like bipolar might not benefit from the use of marijuana as they result in more negative effects.
According to Time.com, one of the main encouragements for expanding research into the positive benefit of marijuana in treating mental health is to aid in the war on opioids. Quoting Zach Walsh of the University of British Columbia, Time cites, “If people use cannabis as a replacement for opioid medications, or to get off of opioids or cut back, we could see some pretty dramatic public health benefits.” Walsh continues to explain what millions of Americans know to be true: “The level of opioid overdoses is so high right now.”
Marijuana is not considered to be an addictive or habit forming drug by most. However, marijuana use disorder has become a realistic problem. Marijuana today is stronger than it has been in previous decades, causing more a chemical alteration and creating a dependency. Regular marijuana users do experience symptoms of withdrawal without using marijuana. For this reason, recovery professionals are concerned about the use of a mind altering substance to treat the addiction to another mind altering substance.
As controversy still reigns regarding medication assisted treatment and the use of natural substances like Kratom, it is unlikely marijuana as an addiction treatment will gain traction. Additionally, marijuana, though legalized at state level for some states, is still a federally illegal drug. Until the DEA lifts the Schedule 1 label on marijuana, conducting further studies will be difficult.
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