With regards to therapeutic marijuana use, there is mounting evidence that cannabis eases withdrawal symptoms of opioid dependent patients. In states where marijuana is legal, the number of opioid related overdoses has decreased. This is very good news as this number has been increasing yearly over the past 10 years. The bad news is that not every person in America has access to legal cannabis whether it be medically prescribed or legal for recreational purposes.
I am in no way endorsing any drug use, but we must look at this from a logical and scientific point of view. If alcohol is legal and we can drink ourselves to death, we should be able to use marijuana for medical problems as well as recreationally. Marijuana has not directly killed one person in recorded history, but alcohol is responsible for a high number of deaths every year; directly and indirectly. In my view, if marijuana remains illegal at the federal level then alcohol should be made illegal again in our country.
I am a strong advocate for medical marijuana being used during opioid withdrawal as it saved me from opioid dependence and subsequent withdrawal effects of the medication Suboxone. Suboxone is a synthetic opioid consisting of buprenorphine and naloxone, and is primarily used to wean patients off of other opioids. The problem is that a person will become dependent on the Suboxone too. Even though I was not abusing Suboxone, but taking it as prescribed my body could not miss a day without it.
After being prescribed Suboxone for 8 long years I wanted to be free from it and its numbing effects of the human condition. Fear of the side effects and withdrawal symptoms is what kept me taking it for so long, not to mention the unethical doctor looking to feed his family. Suboxone has a long half-life, which means it leaves the body slowly and withdrawal symptoms last much longer. I did not know this when I was put on the medication, and really would not have cared as I was in an addicted state of mind.
It was on July 5th, 2016 when I took my last dose of Suboxone, which was only about a quarter of a milligram. I had tapered down over the past month, taking smaller and smaller daily doses. I had been prescribed and taking one 8mg strip per day the eight years before. The first 2 days after my last dose were not too bad as the long half-life helped to prevent immediate harsh withdrawal effects. The third day is when the full force of withdrawal came upon me.
It felt as if time slowed to almost a stop, with every second feeling like a minute and every minute an hour. My runny nose was almost like a faucet while my whole body began to ache. I was restless, my legs began to jerk involuntarily and sleep was impossible. I was so tired and wanted to sleep but I couldn’t, and that is a horrible feeling. My motivation was on empty as well as my stomach, but I could not think of eating; the growling of my stomach was an often reminder though.
At this point, about 4 days into withdrawal effects I could barely move or even think straight. I could not seem to collect my thoughts, and my body felt like a 98 year old ill man’s would feel. I literally had to pick up my own legs from the couch and guide them to the floor to help myself get up. I was close to calling the doctor to get back on Suboxone, but I did not want to. Instead, I decided to see if marijuana would help me as I knew it may.
After acquiring some medical grade marijuana and using it I was able to eat, and think a bit clearly. By no means did it cure the withdrawal symptoms, but made them more manageable. After using it I was able to leave my house, sleep a bit and it kept the restless leg at bay. Without a doubt, it helped get me through the harsh withdrawal symptoms and associated side effects of Suboxone. I firmly believe that if I didn’t use marijuana during this time, I would have gone back to the doctor for more Suboxone.