Addiction has become an increasing threat to our wellness – particularly with opioids – where the rate of the problem exceeds the rate of successful treatment. As a result, there is an epidemic in North America, where Overdoses are increasing at an alarming rate.

Cannabis has recently become a hot topic of conversation regarding treatment of addiction. Advocates and researchers have been bringing the once-radical idea of replacement therapy using cannabis, pointing to the effectiveness of cannabis to help manage symptoms of withdrawal. Cannabis is often also chosen because it does not carry physically addictive properties.

With Medical-use legalization occurring in Canada and other regions, a massive research effort has been ignited.

In 2009, the Harm Reduction Journal reported on a study that saw a 40% success rate in removing alcohol dependency, with a conclusion that cannabis be considered an effective replacement for alcohol in alcohol dependence therapy.

Studies published this year also indicate that cannabis may be useful as a replacement therapy for opioids, and a recent University of California at Berkeley study observed the effects of cannabis replacement therapy on 2,897 medical cannabis patients who had been using opioids.

97% responded that they were able to decrease the number of opioids consumed when using cannabis, and 81% had agreed that they found cannabis more effective on its own than when combined with opioids when managing pain. 

Can cannabis help advance how we manage addictions and dependency? The emerging evidence certainly serves as a call for more research and better understanding of how we can combat the disease of addiction.