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Medical Marijuana and Opioid Use Disorder

Can Medical Marijuana Help Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a serious medical condition that involves ongoing dependence on opioids, such as heroin and prescription painkillers. Opioids are highly dangerous drugs that can easily result in overdose, coma, and death if misused.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 128 people in the U.S. die from opioid overdoses each day, and over 2 million Americans struggled with opioid addiction in 2017 alone.

While not an effective OUD treatment on its own, medical marijuana may help this crisis by easing withdrawal symptoms, reducing feelings of opioid pleasure and reward, and reducing overdose rates.

What Is Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioids produce feelings of euphoria and reduce feelings of pain. Using opioids over time leads to dependence and an increase in tolerance, which means that a person with OUD will need to take more of the drug to feel these effects over time. Common opioids include heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine.

OUD occurs when a person experiences at least two of the following symptoms within a 12-month period:

  • Strong desires to use opioids
  • Unsuccessful efforts to reduce opioid use
  • Taking larger amounts of opioids or taking opioids for a longer period than intended
  • Avoiding activities to use opioids
  • Increased tolerance
  • Increased tolerance
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Inability to fulfill responsibilities due to opioids
  • Difficulty with relationships due to opioid use

If you develop OUD, you can experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using opioids, even for a short period of time. These symptoms can be very unpleasant, including pain, chills, diarrhea, insomnia, and severe nausea.

Professional treatment is necessary to overcome withdrawal symptoms and recover from OUD — and research shows that medical marijuana may help.

Can Medical Marijuana Help Opioid Use Disorder Patients?

While further research is necessary, recent studies suggest that medical cannabis may help relieve some symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

When a person takes opioids, they will experience feelings of euphoria due to the drug’s triggering of the reward response in the brain. CBD, the non-psychoactive component of medical marijuana, may help reduce the impact of this reward response without producing replacement feelings of euphoria. In addition, CBD may also reduce heroin cravings.

Medical marijuana may also help improve the outcome of OUD treatment programs. When used as a supplement to professional rehab treatment, small doses of medical marijuana may increase rehab retention rates, as well as ease unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

States who operate medical marijuana programs also see lower rates of opioid overdoses than other states. Studies found that states with legalized cannabis laws saw a 23% reduction in emergency room visits for nonfatal overdoses and a 24% reduction in overdose deaths.

Applying for a Medical Marijuana Card for OUD

If your state legalized medical marijuana and has opioid use disorder on the list of qualifying conditions, you can apply for a cannabis card to receive the treatment you need. The Sanctuary Wellness Institute is here to guide you through the process.

Our friendly staff members can connect you with a physician licensed to certify patients for medical marijuana in your state and answer any questions you may have about the application. Contact the Sanctuary at (484) 346-5140 to schedule your evaluation.

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute

226 W Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia PA
Call (267) 630-1714

Treating Glaucoma with Cannabis

Medical Marijuana Treatment for Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a painful eye condition that can lead to blindness, often caused by a buildup of pressure on the nerves and systems that help the eye function. While the vision damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, many treatment options exist to help reduce and relieve the condition’s symptoms.

Research suggests that medical cannabis may be an effective treatment option for people with glaucoma, both as a way to relieve unpleasant side effects and to reduce pressure in the eye that could lead to this condition.

What Is Glaucoma?

The leading cause of glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve, which is important for maintaining our field of vision. If you develop glaucoma, you will experience blind spots and disruption to your eyesight that can impact your quality of life.

There are many types of glaucoma, each with their own set of symptoms. These include open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, normal tension glaucoma, and pigmentary glaucoma.

Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, include:

  • Patchy blind spots in the field of vision
  • Tunnel vissionj

Symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma, one of the most serious types of glaucoma that requires emergency medical attention, may include:

  • Headache
  • Pain in the eye
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision

Leaving any type of glaucoma untreated will often lead to blindness. Treatment options include prescription eye drops, surgeries, and oral medications. Side effects of these medications can be unpleasant, and may include fatigue, upset stomach, and depression.

Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Glaucoma

Traditional treatments for glaucoma can be very unpleasant. The side effects of prescription eye drops and oral medication can be overwhelming for some people, and without treatment, these patients may see a negative progression in their symptoms.

Research suggests that medical marijuana may be an effective alternative to traditional glaucoma treatment. Studies from the 1970s show that medical cannabis, when inhaled or taken orally, can reduce the pressure in the eye that contributes to the severity of glaucoma.

In addition, medical marijuana is an effective option for relieving unpleasant side effects and symptoms of glaucoma and glaucoma treatment. Marijuana has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and nausea-reducing effects, and glaucoma and its treatment often results in stomach issues, eye pain, and uncomfortable forms of inflammation. As a supplement to traditional treatment, medical cannabis can be very effective for glaucoma patients.

Need Help Applying for a Cannabis Card?

Glaucoma can be painful, and the side effects of its treatment are usually unpleasant. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, cannabis can be a valuable addition to your treatment regimen. The Sanctuary Wellness Institute can help you receive the treatment you need.

We offer evaluation services to medical marijuana patients looking to apply for a cannabis card in their state. Our network of physicians hold the credentials and registrations necessary to evaluate your glaucoma and provide you with a certification for medical marijuana.

Contact the Sanctuary today at (484) 346-5140 to schedule your evaluation. Our staff members are happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process.

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute

226 W Rittenhouse Square Suite 101
Philadelphia, PA 19103