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The Benefits and Effects of Using Marijuana as a Pain Agent to Treat Opioid Addiction

A shocking population of Americans and Canadians succumb to opioid addiction daily. In response to this, various interventions including pharmaceutical therapies have been put in place to address overdose prevention. However, the adoption of pharmaceutical interventions such as the use of buprenorphine, α2-adrenergic agonists, and antiemetic’s pose the risk of harmful drug interaction and overdose. As such, Cannabis sativa (marijuana) is considered an adjunct therapy for opioid addiction due to its safety and efficacy. The present paper explores the benefits and potential effects of marijuana as a therapeutic option in treating opioid addiction. The study conducted a systematic literature review of published journals in America and Canada related to the use of marijuana for management of opioid addiction. Medical databases such as CINAHL, Cochrane, and PubMed were used to identify peer-reviewed articles between 2014 and 2018. The PRISMA flow diagram was used to identify and document the number of articles eligible for the research. 1,608 records were identified out of which 30 full-text articles were screened for eligibility. Out of the 30 items, 10 full-text articles met the inclusion criteria. These reported the safety and efficacy of the use of medical cannabis in managing opioid addiction. In essence, marijuana suppresses cravings induced by opiates and controls opioid withdrawal syndromes. However, cannabis may result in non-serious effects such as disorientation, lethargy, hallucinations, and confusion. The current literature review concludes that the use of marijuana for opioid addiction is safe and effective. Certainly, insufficient literature is available to establish the benefits and harms of medical cannabis as a therapy option for opioid addiction.


Griffith C and La France B

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