Attorney General Sessions has said he’s disgusted at the idea of exchanging one drug for another. But now, researchers say that using cannabis to quit crack is a real possibility.
One hundred and twenty-two people participated in a study done by researchers at St. Paul Hospital in Vancouver in conjunction with the University of Montreal. The investigation looked at the intentional use of cannabis to reduce crack cocaine use. CS Globe reported on the findings of the study.
Choosing cannabis to quit crack
The study reported 620 recorded instances of people choosing cannabis to quit crack. The study found that over a period of time, intentional exchange of crack for cannabis led to decreased use amongst crack addicts.
The researchers expressed optimism that cannabis can reduce the use of harmful drugs. As a result of their findings, they called for further studies to assess whether cannabinoids can treat crack addiction.
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Same finding in 1999 Brazil study
These findings mirror previous research in Brazil where researchers found the use of cannabis therapeutically reduced the cravings for crack cocaine and changed the addiction patterns in drug dependent subjects. A pro-cannabis advocacy group summarized the study.
In the small pilot study, 68% of the participants stopped using crack and reported reduced cravings. This ultimately led to a concrete change in their behavior and helped them overcome their addiction.
The study authors warned in 1999 that a positive outcome could only be feasible if fears, dogmas, stigmas and prejudice could be countered. Twenty years later, more and more people around the world are willing to accept the medicinal value of cannabinoids.
Small studies added together
Subjects said they felt better when using cannabis to quit crack. They could return to work or resume their studies. The sample size was small, and further research was needed. The Vancouver findings added similar data to the pool of knowledge. Meanwhile, US researchers say that cannabis might be the solution to opioid addiction and death by overdose. Overdose rates have dropped in states that allow medical marijuana.
What ingredient in cannabis is helping with addiction?
We may ask how cannabis can help with these addictions, and maybe some will agree with Sessions’ opinion that one is just replacing one addiction with another. However, there is a scientific basis for the idea.
Scientists discovered that increased transmission of glutamate, a neurotransmitter found in the hippocampus, causes cravings. People experience these cravings as irritability, anxiety, palpitations or sweating. Years after initial drug detoxes, cravings can cause people to relapse.
CBD for cue-induced cravings
We now know that CBD can reduce what is known as ‘cue-induced cravings’. The non-psychoactive compound combats cravings brought on by a trigger. For example, cigarette smokers may crave a smoke when drinking coffee. CBD also reduced the anxiety levels of smokers and heroin and opioid dependent people when they try to quit.
Furthermore, studies on addicted rats showed permanent brain changes and re-wiring after 7 days of CBD treatments. This is very good news for anyone wanting to kick addictive substance abuse. Addictive substances change the way the brain works, but CBD may be able to reverse the changes.