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Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Symptoms Of Opiate Withdrawal


marijuana opiates methadone withdrawalBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Cannabis consumption is associated with mitigated symptoms of opiate withdrawal in subjects undergoing methadone maintenance treatment, according to the findings of a new study published online in The American Journal on Addictions.

Investigators at the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia assessed the use of cannabis in 91 opiate-dependent subjects undergoing methadone maintenance treatment. Researchers found that subjects seeking methadone treatment who acknowledged a history of cannabis use reported “significantly less daily expenditure on acquisition of opiates.”

Authors additionally reported that subjects’ use of cannabis during treatment was associated with less severe symptoms of withdrawal on the clinical opiate withdrawal scale (COWS), an index designed to serve as an objective measure of opiate withdrawal. “[I]ncreased cannabis use was found to be associated with lower severity of [opiate]withdrawal in a subset of the sample with available chart data,” authors wrote. “These results suggested a potential role for cannabis in the reduction of withdrawal severity during methadone induction.”

They concluded, “The present findings may point to novel interventions to be employed during treatment for opiate dependence that specifically target cannabinoid-opioid system interactions.”

A 2009 study published in the same journal previously reported that moderate cannabis use and improved retention in naltrexone treatment among opiate-dependent subjects.

Full text of the study, “Impact of cannabis use during stabilization on methadone maintenance treatment,” appears online in The American Journal on Addictions.

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Johnny Green


  1. I think every state should make canabis legal wht does it hurt no body ever robbed a house or got in a accident becus they was smoking if achol is legal and people can kill people cuz they was drunk then why can’t pot b legal no one is gunna die or do sumthing cuz they smoked a joint and drove sumwhere

  2. Charles Edson Rogers Jr. on

    Methadone is cardio toxic and shouldnt be used in anyone who has cardiac issues or are pre-disposed to cardiac illness.

  3. I’m lost as to why we call this country the UNITED STATES Of AMERICA yet in one state it’s illegal another it’s legal. How are we united????? we are not, thus we will fall if change isn’t made country wide not one state at a time….voters need to vote out the OLD blood who ARE stuck in the 19th/20th cent. way of thinking. The U.S. states didn’t play with DUI LAWS it’s illegal to drive while drunk and should have been way before it was.

  4. Janet Bernett on

    I find this study interesting because a friend of mine is on methadone and her doctor is stepping down her dosage at her request. She swears that her medicinal marijuana helps with her withdraws and her severe pain from a tumor removal surgery at the base of her neck.

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