One way to judge the degree to which 70 years of international propaganda has embedded stigmas in your brain is to ask yourself whether it makes sense to use weed in addiction treatment. How would you react if I told you that rehab almost never works for those struggling with addictions and that cannabis use almost always does?
I have been privy to the wondrous benefits that this botanical wonder offers to those who struggle with substance abuse. While it’s true that no single remedy can cure all addictions, cannabis has been found to possess unique properties that make it a valuable ally in the battle against substance abuse.
My knowledge and experience in this regard led me to respond to recent news of major downticks in meth prices since weed was taken off the narcotics list in Thailand with: “Well, of course.” Over at East Asia Forum, Peter Warr reports
Following the shift in Thai cannabis policy, multiple sources have reported that there has been a large decline in the street price of methamphetamine pills.
From which he draws the super-cautious conclusion:
It remains possible that demand has shifted towards cannabis and away from more dangerous drugs like methamphetamines, used by both younger Thais and foreign tourists. If so, that impact is potentially very significant.
I appreciate Peter’s council not to jump to conclusions; nevertheless, his many hypotheticals about why the price of meth is way down since cannabis became widely available gives to much weight to alternatives to the iron-clad law of supply and demand. If the price of a good drops and stays down, the primary reason is always a decrease in demand. I do not think it a stretch to say: Meth is less popular than it was before weed was being sold on every corner in every city in Thailand.
Again I say, of course.
If we thought there might be a safe substance to use to curtail meth addiction around the world, one would assume that there would be a concerted effort to establish applications. Why is this not the case?
One stumbling block is that there are strong interests within the Judicial Treatment Complex that will not accept that there is any significant difference between alcohol, meth and cannabis. A cabal of treatment center owners, lawyers, judges, therapists, social workers and others are invested in the continued demonization of cannabis.
Another reason that cannabis is not hard at work liberating individuals from the clutches of substance abuse is that our brains would explode when we tried to decide if such use of cannabis was medical or recreational. Effective treatment of substance abuse with cannabis would vaporize that false dichotomy and create havoc in the current cannabis legal system. We have allowed cannabis to go down a linguistic rabbit hole where it is either used as medicine or as fun. We cannot provide treatment for substance abuse with cannabis if we do not have the right language to think it through.
Pain, Anxiety and Cannabis
One of the primary advantages of cannabis is its ability to alleviate pain and anxiety. These two factors can be major drivers of substance abuse, and cannabis has been found to be effective in reducing them. In a study published in the Journal of Pain in 2015, researchers discovered that cannabis was effective in reducing chronic pain in patients with neuropathic pain. A review published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2015 revealed that cannabis was effective in reducing anxiety levels in individuals with anxiety disorders.
Cannabis, Alcohol and Meth
In a study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine in 2015, researchers found that cannabis use was associated with a decrease in alcohol and drug cravings in individuals undergoing addiction treatment. Furthermore, a review published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology in 2016 found that cannabis use was associated with a reduction in withdrawal symptoms in individuals with opioid addiction.
Although cannabis has many benefits for those struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to consider the potential risks associated with its use. However, when compared to alcohol and methamphetamines, cannabis is generally regarded as far less harmful and non-addictive.
Alcohol, for instance, is an extremely addictive substance that can lead to a slew of negative consequences, including liver damage, heart disease, and an increased risk of certain cancers. In a study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research in 2016, researchers found that alcohol use was associated with an increased risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Moreover, alcohol use has been linked to a range of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
Methamphetamines, on the other hand, are even more pernicious and addictive than alcohol. Methamphetamine use can result in a slew of negative consequences, including heart attack, stroke, and organ damage. In a study published in the journal Addiction in 2015, researchers found that methamphetamine use was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Additionally, methamphetamine use has been linked to a variety of mental health issues, including psychosis and schizophrenia.
While cannabis does have some potential risks associated with its use, these risks are generally considered to be far less severe than those associated with alcohol and methamphetamines. While cannabis use can lead to respiratory issues such as bronchitis and lung infections, it is not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Also, while cannabis can be psychologically addictive, the risk of addiction is generally considered to be lower than that of alcohol and methamphetamines, as these are psychological and physiological.
I believe that cannabis has many benefits for those struggling with substance abuse. Cannabis can be an effective tool for reducing pain and anxiety, as well as reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms in individuals with addiction. I urge the public to consider cannabis as a valuable ally in the fight against substance abuse and to continue researching its potential benefits and drawbacks.