Alcohol addiction is very real and very scary, especially if you’ve been personally affected by it. Many addicts who seek out help end up relapsing. According to a new study, there is a certain plant addicts can use as an exit drug to reduce the use of other, more harmful substances, such as alcohol and opiods. Often called a gateway drug, the authors of this study are insisting that cannabis can actually be used as an exit drug.
Researches conducted at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Zach Walsh, UBC associate professor and lead researcher in the study reviewed all studies of medical cannabis and mental health issues. Walsh and his team also looked at reviews on non-medical cannabis use, making this the most comprehensive study to date.
Walsh explained, “Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication.” He continued, “In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points,” said Walsh.
The team found that cannabis use does not appear to increase the risk of harm to self or others. They also found evidence that cannabis could be helpful in treating the symptoms of social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The team concluded that cannabis use may not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder or psychosis.
Researchers aren’t sure exactly how mental health professionals can work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes. But the study shows that the use of cannabis may be helpful in some circumstances. Walsh explained, “There is currently not a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes. With the end of prohibition, telling people to simply stop using may no longer be as feasible an option, so knowing how to consider cannabis in the treatment equation will become a necessity.”