Marijuana as Colorado Addiction Treatment: Fact or Fiction?

Person smoking a marijuana cigarette.

When one thinks of treatment for addiction, thoughts of detoxing medication, and counseling may come to mind. But as of late, theories have been circulating about the possibility that including marijuana in Colorado addiction treatment protocols may actually help addicts overcome their substance use disorders.

But how true are these theories? Can marijuana really help treat addiction, or is this just a fallacy?

More and more research is being done that suggests that marijuana and the cannabinoids found within it has many powerful effects on the body and can alleviate several ailments, including pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures, and skin problems, among others. But can it actually be used to heal addiction?

The Theory Behind Marijuana Use to Heal Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Proponents of marijuana use as a means of alleviating addiction to drugs and alcohol believe that marijuana is the lesser evil in comparison. By using marijuana as a treatment for addiction—a natural substance—instead of alcohol and narcotics, addicts may use much less of their drug of choice.

Referred to as "harm reduction," this theory is based on the notion that addicts who feel as though they are unable or even unwilling to stop using drugs can use something much less harmful in its place. By using marijuana instead of drugs or alcohol, it's suggested that use of more harmful drugs will significantly decrease or even stop altogether.

In fact, some addiction specialists in the U.S. have also started to embrace harm reduction and are implementing marijuana into their addiction treatment protocols. They're using medicinal cannabis to help addicts detox and manage severe addictions. Since cannabis has no known doses that have proven to cause overdose, it has been suggested that it can be helpful and effective in certain cases.

That said, the effectiveness of marijuana treatment has not yet been clinically proven.

Marijuana plant.

Marijuana might not be as dangerous as other illicit drugs, but its effectiveness in treating addiction has yet to be clinically proven.

Marijuana in Addiction Treatment—Swapping One Addiction For Another?

While some believe that introducing marijuana to drug addicts can alleviate the more severe forms of addiction, others believe it is hypocritical to add another drug into the mix.

The idea behind addiction treatment is to get addicts off of drugs completely. But the thought of introducing marijuana is causing concern that addicts would simply be trading in one addiction for another, or even adding another addiction altogether. And with the lack of real evidence to support the idea that cannabis can eventually lead to abstinence, critics aren't sold.

But proponents of the harm reduction method still believe that some people can still achieve complete sobriety from drugs and alcohol by gradually weaning themselves with something far less dangerous, such as marijuana.

The dangerous effects of illicit drugs on the body are well known, and they include brain damage, increased heart rate, fluctuations in blood pressure, damage to the central nervous system, heart attack, stroke, and death. But the dangers of marijuana use are much less pronounced, with little evidence to show that its use goes any further than reducing cognitive abilities and worsening respiratory issues. While these side effects are certainly not positive, many would argue that they're much less serious than the effects of illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine, and opioids.

Overcoming Drug and Alcohol Addiction in a Colorado Addiction Treatment Center

Regardless of whether marijuana should be considered as part of an overall treatment protocol or not, addicts should always seek Colorado addiction treatment resources to deal with their substance use disorders.

At Colorado addiction treatment facilities, addicts will be safely detoxed from drugs and alcohol in an effort to avoid withdrawal symptoms and eliminate drugs from their systems safely. With the implementation of one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and ongoing education to develop coping mechanisms to deal with life's stressors without turning to drugs or alcohol, addicts can finally beat their addiction and go on to lead normal, healthy lives free of drugs or alcohol. Contact us for more information.

Marijuana as Colorado Addiction Treatment: Fact or Fiction?
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