420 Magazine Background

Could Medical Marijuana Help Stem The Opiate Addiction Crisis?

The General

New Member
Marijuana is touted as a treatment for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and anxiety and some say it may be a way to help alleviate Massachusetts' opiate crisis. But that idea is causing some tension in the addiction treatment community.

A Less Potent Alternative?
Shelley Stormo is a clinical psychologist at Gosnold, the largest addiction treatment facility on Cape Cod. She has secured provisional approval to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Fairhaven called Compassionate Care Clinics, and the state is now verifying her application. Stormo hopes by this fall, she'll be able to help patients avoid opiates by using marijuana. "I'm changing my efforts a bit to really focus on how to prevent addiction," Stormo said. "Through offering the medical use of marijuana as an alternative to potentially much more harmful and deadly opioids."

Stormo says marijuana is safer for several reasons. "Marijuana does not have the physical addictive components that opiates do," she said. "It does not have the propensity, as opiates do, for overdoses. There's no documented death by overdose of marijuana." Although Stormo does not advocate using marijuana to treat addiction, other medical marijuana professionals say the so-called gateway drug may one day be used as part of an exit strategy.

"Cannabis actually can be used as a harm-reduction medicine for patients to reduce their harm if they're addicted to opiates, if they're addicted to alcohol, if they're addicted to cocaine," said Thor Agustsson, a physician with Integr8 Health, a Burlington clinic that evaluates patients for medical marijuana use. "There have been studies out that have shown cannabis, when they take it appropriately, is able to help them reduce their use of these other substances that are highly more toxic to their body."

Most of the studies Agustsson is referring to are surveys or small trials, not fully randomized, controlled studies. Agustsson says he is not currently using medical marijuana to treat someone who is addicted, but he thinks marijuana might eventually become a new frontier in addiction medicine. "Plenty of patients that have come to me have already stated that, 'if I use the cannabis, I'm not going to go to these other substances like alcohol or benzodiazepines or opiates,'" Agustsson said.

A Risky Move
Other doctors, though, say the research is too preliminary. "I think it is very, very risky to try to replace one harmful, addictive substance with another harmful, addictive substance, and I think that is not underscored enough when people talk about marijuana," said Dr. Kevin Hill, an addiction psychiatrist at McLean Hospital. Hill says about 9 percent of adults and 16 percent of adolescents who use marijuana become addicted. He treats patients who are addicted solely to marijuana Hill does not believe that medical marijuana will make a major dent in opiate abuse because, he says, there are too many other factors involved in addiction.

That's part of the reason why Shelly Stormo's colleagues are so concerned about her plans to leave her job at Gosnold if the state approves her medical marijuana dispensary. "There were a lot of people concerned, who were shocked by it, because it seemed such an opposite value to what you usually talk about in addiction services," said June Duarte, who was an addiction counselor at Gosnold. "And that's no substances – abstinence, sobriety, recovery." Duarte recently quit her job at Gosnold partly, she says, because employees were getting involved in medical marijuana. But Stormo says what she's interested in is helping people with a range of medical conditions.

"There's not a conflict for me internally," Stormo said. "I can certainly see why people do not understand this and are fearful. Once people become informed and perhaps talk to individuals who have benefited from the medical use of marijuana, I believe people will understand." In addition to concerns about Stormo's dispensary, there's been criticism of Gosnold president Raymond Tamasi's planned role with the company Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts. Headed by former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt and provisionally approved to open three dispensaries in the state, Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts hired Tamasi as its addiction prevention director. Tamasi says he would have provided community education about substance abuse and directed his $100,000 annual salary from the dispensary to Gosnold. But because of the outcry, Tamasi decided against accepting the position. "My involvement began to be a significant distraction to my primary interest and goal, which is how do we get this opiate crisis under control," he said. And the debate will likely continue over whether medical marijuana may someday become a way to do that.


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Commonhealth.wbur.org
Author: Deborah Becker and Lynn Jolicoeur
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Could Medical Marijuana Help Stem The Opiate Addiction Crisis? | CommonHealth


New Member
Opiate addiction is no joke so please take is seriously, In my long search for home remedies I have decided to go this method and also use NORTHERN LIGHTS FOR THE NAUSEA AND HOPEFULLY MORE. Below is not mine it is an article I found after reading many and it seems to be the safest. There are some crazy articles out there talking about 100,200,300 pills a day but if I was you i would stay far away from anything more then this below. I did talk to a Pharmacist about it. My addiction is Oxycodone the Dr's have had me on since 2008 when I fell off a 20 foot Oil well in PA wile working and broke my back.


I am not a Doctor so if you do this you are doing it of your own free will I am just telling you what me and other friends have done that works for us.We will remind you of this again in the description below.

The amount we found effective is 12 pills per day of Loperamide . Take six in the morning, six more at night. (Just about every 12 hours.)Also you can use Cannabis Northern Lights for nasuea.

***This is all opinion, based on experiences of my friend and myself. We are not doctors, so keep in mind it's only what worked for us.***

I have IBS, a particularly severe version. For years life was absolute hell, no matter what I would eat, I would become extremely ill.

Some time ago I finally got onto medications, but they didn't always work, and the most help I ever got was from taking lots of prescribed opiates. I didn't want to do that, so I kept being sick or less healthy. Withdrawal doesn't strike me as a street I want to take!

Meanwhile, a friend of mine ignored those warnings. He was mostly using pills like Vicodin or stronger, but always opiates. I think he used pods or seeds, but I'm not entirely sure.

Anyway, our paths came together when neither of us were pretty happy with the different causes of sickness, mine IBS; his withdrawal. We used a lot of info found on this forum as well as a few others and got to work. Our weapon: Loperamide.

I don't really remember the specifics, but for IBS and withdrawal both, the magic number seemed to be six pills, twice a day, for a total of 12 per day. My friend is a lot larger than me, and had a fairly moderate addiction (I don't know how much he took daily) but 6 seemed to be the winner.

Since you're going through the poop-part of it all, you could try taking nine pills, twice a day, usually about 12 hours apart. Once the poop stabilises, drop down to six, twice a day. My friend said he carried that cold, clammy feeling, similar to drinking that first sip of really cold water. Otherwise, no withdrawal trouble otherwise. He even said he lost the craving! My guess is his brain's receptors were getting the important parts of the opiates so it didn't demand the secondary, i.e. the want.

You have to stick with it, and wean yourself off or you'll get the withdrawal from the loperamide. But even then, it's mild compared to the Mark-Renton-Trainspotting withdrawals.

I've been on this myself for a number of months now and if I forget to take it, I'll too feel some bad effects, albeit mild ones. My friend is weaning off it, but I'm staying with it because of the IBS. I've been very busy recently, so I missed about two days' doses. The poops came back, but I wasn't violently ill like before I started any medicines. It was a little harder to sleep, had a little bit of coughing. That's pretty much it, no horrible symptoms.

I'm no doctor, but from what I've read of loperamide, it's not a medicine that causes health problems if taken long term. Doctors recommend taking it as a preventative, maybe not as their first idea and it sucks to have to take it every day, but it's been around a long time and is well understood.


From what my friend through, I believe loperamide is the absolute best choice for any person wishing to avoid withdrawal. Reasons are:

1: It works really well.

2: It's cheap. The big-box-retailers carry generic boxes of 48 or 72 for only a few euros/dollars/pounds. A 72-count box will last me almost a week. (The rules page here says "Prices & sources of common products from national chain stores like K-mart are allowed" so I assume it's OK for me to say that.) Shop around, as some places are much more expensive.

3: It's private. If it's not on record (no arrests, rehab, failed drug tests, etc.) that you are addicted to opiates, keep it that way. Again, I am not a doctor, and if you have any problems you should SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY!!! I definitely do not want to say one shouldn't get medical attention, counseling, all that stuff if you need it. If it comes down to a choice of asking a doctor for a prescription and admitting everything, vs. buying something legally yourself, why not choose the easier road? Why allow that information be entered into your medical records if you can avoid it?

4: It's common, readily available. Providing you live in the modern world, you can walk into any retailer that sells medications and get it. You don't have to build your day/life around trips to the methadone clinic, doctor and pharmacy, or chasing down some drug dealer.

5: It won't get you high. Things like methadone just trade one scary, illicit opiate for a stable, meted dose... but it still can get you high. With loperamide, you are sober. Overdosing is much less likely; you won't feel tempted to take more loperamide like methadone or others, because there's nothing to chase.

6: It killed my friend's cravings! As I said above, my friend said he lost the craving, he didn't find himself fighting to "go out and score." Neither of us could figure out why, but he said that when he'd tried quitting cold turkey, he'd start craving it withing days or weeks or months.


Like said above, DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET DEHYDRATED! Dehydration has sent me to the ER several times, just this year. If the nausea will allow it, the BRAT diet may help (banana, rice, applesauce, toast). Sometimes loperamide takes a long time to stop the diarrhea, so give it time and and keep taking it hours apart like the bottle recommends. If the six I recommend isn't enough, you could try another half-dose a few hours later.

With the vomiting, phenergan or other anti-nausea meds can help and generally work OK with loperamide. They make you sleepy, though. Another good thing is those pulse-point wristbands they sell for motion sickness. They work really well! The last IBS attack I had (unfortunately the loperamide doesn't always stop them all...) came with a lot of nausea, something rare for me, and the bands, phenergan and light eating all failed me. It was also a very stressful time, but had the stress not been there, they probably would have defeated the vomiting.

Good luck! I hope your withdrawal symptoms subside very soon. Regardless of how you got them, nausea and upset stomach are two very awful things. Feel better!

Also add quinine in ~10mg pills with out a prescription If the Restless Leg Syndrome hits a high.
Loperamide, It's night/day unless you add quinine. I've tried it both ways. In the U.S. you can get quinine in ~10mg pills with out a prescription. Go to any GNC and ask for a formulation for Restless Leg Syndrome. There is a particular one that contains ~10mg of quinine. Prescription doses are 100 and 200 mg.

Seriously, alone (just Loperamide) you will feel a little better, and when your full on withdrawing, you will swear by it! Add ~100mg of quinine you'll understand and feel 10X better and you can reduce your dose of Loperamide.


New Member
I believe that the less opiates are prescribed, the less opiate addicts there will be. Its just my simple logic. Marijuana definitely helped me after surgery. I didn't use opiates after the first day because smoking did everything i needed. Thats my reasoning for supporting cannabis. especially after watching people around me go down the wrong path with what started as opiate abuse. I hope one day we will have the freedom to use cannabis legally in all states.


New Member
It seems it is a matter of time before the government will need to approach it. As marijuana, more specifically the CBD is tested more and more we will better understand the compounds in the plant. Early signs are indicating that cbd can have a large variety of health potential.

We need more scientific research loans behind Cannabis and its "hidden potential" to better understand what fundamental solutions it brings to our society. In regards to solving the opiate epidemic that will be left up to the government and the pharmaceuticals. Our solution with respect to the medical industry has been prescription pills. I AM NOT a medical or scientist but it is commonly known that these drugs contain opiate related compounds that create the want. So what we really need to do is eliminate the big pharma but that is a whole different game and if we are lucky it will happen in the near future.
Top Bottom