What Is Marijuana's Role In OUD?
Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are an important tool for those who are addicted to opioids.
Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are an important tool for those who are addicted to opioids. This pharmacological component's efficacy in treatment has been demonstrated in numerous studies. To date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three drugs to treat opioid use disorder (OUD): methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
One or more of these three drugs are included in all brand-name MOUD prescriptions. Bunavail, Belbuca, Subutex, Suboxone, Naltrexone (Vivitrol), Sublocade, and Zubsolv are all common brand names. There are a multitude of alternative drugs and substances that people use off-label or to self-treat their OUD and/or opioid withdrawal symptoms in addition to FDA-approved MOUDs. In the context of OUD, this article describes marijuana, what it is, and how it works.
What Is Marijuana and How Does It Work?
Marijuana is also referred to as weed, herb, pot, grass, bud, ganja, and Mary Jane. Marijuana was the most often used addictive drug in 2018, following tobacco and alcohol. The dried flowers and leaves of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant are used to make marijuana.
Cannabinoids are a collection of chemical substances found in cannabis plants that are closely linked. There are over 100 cannabinoids that have been identified. THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the two most common cannabinoids (CBD).
Marijuana's distinguishing element is THC. It's a psychoactive component that causes a lot of the intoxicating effects or "high" that people get when they use marijuana. Marijuana is defined as any cannabis or cannabis-derived substance having a THC concentration of more than 0.3 percent.
Marijuana may be ingested in a variety of ways, just like it has a variety of names. Marijuana can be smoked in a variety of ways, including hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or cigars (blunts), pipes or water pipes (bongs), or vaporizers, some of which employ liquid marijuana extracts. Marijuana can also be ingested in the form of edibles or brewed as tea. Dabbing is the technique of smoking THC-rich resins (dabs) that have been concentrated.
Certain strains of marijuana have a considerably faster onset of action than others. Varied formulations and routes of administration, like other medications, might have different effects.
THC activates the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which produces the effects of marijuana. Marijuana's neurological effects can affect or interfere with a person's memory, posture, coordination, reaction time, and balance, among other things. Many users report feelings of pleasure and relaxation, as well as increased hunger, heightened sensory sensitivity, laughter, and altered perception of time.
Marijuana's effects, on the other hand, differ greatly from person to person. While some people report experiencing a pleasurable "high," others report feelings of anxiety, fear, distrust, panic, psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of personal identity. The effects a person has are often determined by the amount of THC in their system, the dosage, and their tolerance. The long-term effects of marijuana use are still being studied.
The FDA has approved various cannabis-derived and synthetic cannabis-related drug items, despite the fact that marijuana has not been licensed for any medicinal use. Dronabinol and nabilone are two THC-based drugs that have been approved by the FDA. Both are synthetic THC derivatives that are used to relieve nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Dronabinol is a drug used to manage weight loss in AIDS patients.
Treatment of epilepsy, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis symptoms are among the unapproved medical uses of cannabis-derived medicines. Studies in animals suggest that combining opioids with THC may control pain with a lower dose of opioids, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). To confirm the efficacy in humans, more clinical study is needed.
What Is Marijuana's Role in OUD?
Marijuana has no evidence-based uses in the treatment of OUD. Due to a lack of scientific evidence, the FDA has not authorized marijuana as a valid treatment for OUD. Marijuana appears to have the potential to lower opiate overdose, withdrawal symptoms, abuse, and relapse, according to preliminary research. In a 2010 research, for example, states that legalized cannabis for medical purposes had lower opioid overdose rates than other states.
A methodologically similar study published in 2017 revealed diametric results. Furthermore, according to a 2017 study, cannabis usage appears to raise rather than decrease the likelihood of nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder. In the end, it's unclear whether marijuana is an effective treatment for OUD. The findings of the 2010 study prompted some jurisdictions to consider adding OUD to the list of medical marijuana qualifying disorders.
The current body of research is lacking in scientific rigor, and the results of studies have been uneven. Randomized controlled trials are still needed to assess the efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of OUD. Given the lack of methodologically sound studies and medical evidence of benefit, Suboxone clinic strongly discourages the use of marijuana to treat OUD.
Marijuana Policies and Legislation
Marijuana legalization is a multi-faceted topic that is ultimately regulated by the state you live in. According to the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug (CSA). Schedule I substances, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), are medications with no widely recognized medicinal value and a significant potential for abuse.
Marijuana use, possession, and sale are now unlawful under federal law as a result of this scheduling. The rules and regulations differ greatly at the state level, though. Furthermore, some state legislation directly contradicts federal regulations. For example, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, enacted in 2014, forbids the US Justice Department from directing funding to actions that might obstruct the execution of state medical cannabis laws.
Essentially, where state law differs from federal law on medical cannabis, the measure prioritizes state law. Individuals who follow their state's medical cannabis legislation will not be prosecuted under federal law. As a result, the legality of marijuana use, possession, and distribution is highly dependent on where you live.