Marijuana has become a saving grace for many methadone addicts, with the herb able to wean them off their destructive addiction. Could crack cocaine addicts benefit from cannabis too? Much of the focus of late has been on the opioid crisis, from addictive prescription drugs to heroin and fentanyl, but crack cocaine is an unsolved problem, too.
With many users sharing pipes and needles, getting hepatitis and HIV is far from uncommon. Crack cocaine may be a forgotten drug in America, but it remains a serious health concern, and researchers continue to believe that a targeted effort to reduce usage is necessary. The same people are also making the case for medical cannabis to end crack addiction.
How cannabis helps kick crack addiction
Canadian scientists at Vancouver’s BC Centre on Substance Use have concluded that cannabis is an efficacious substitute for crack users. The study showed that crack users who made an intentional effort to end their dependence by taking cannabis, experienced a significant reduction in crack consumption. Crack use among this group declined from more than 30 percent to below 20 percent.
More than 100 crack cocaine users were studied by the researchers over a three-year span. The analysis revealed a clear pattern: after using marijuana as a substitute for crack, usage of the latter declined significantly afterwards.
Treating addiction with cannabis
The findings about crack go along with much of the research carried out on other addictive substances, and the ability of marijuana to end said addiction. People addicted to opioid drugs, alcohol and nicotine have all found that cannabis products – and specifically CBD, a non-psychoactive compound – has reduced their consumption of the drug they are attempting to kick.
There is some evidence to show that CBD disrupts the reward mechanisms that goes on with addictive drugs, which increases dependence on a substance. In 2013, Addiction Biology featured a study that found CBD interrupts the brain reward mechanisms that facilitate opioid addiction. Therefore, if CBD can remove the reward and pleasure aspects of opioids, it may help an addict wean themselves off them.
Drug addicts also tend to have endocannabinoid deficiencies that cannabis consumption can rectify. Medicinal compounds like CBD, THC and CBG correct any imbalances.
With cannabis being presented as a genuine alternative to opioids, attention could soon fully turn onto the crack addiction crisis that’s also scarring America. Brazilian research has also identified links between marijuana usage and a reduction in crack cravings and less severe withdrawal symptoms.
The research in question found that an incredible 68 percent of crack users managed to stop using the substance for good within nine months. Crack cocaine has a reputation for being one of the most addictive hard drugs on the black market, making these findings even more notable. Further Brazilian studies and research out of Jamaica also points toward cannabis as a method of ending usage of crack and other dangerous substances.
Some are optimistic that addiction centers will recognize the addiction-busting properties of marijuana and CBD and incorporate it into treatment plans.