- A study by Columbia University concluded that those who smoke cannabis and are medicated with dronabinol are more likely to successfully stop consuming certain products. The findings are important because, while those areas where the plant is legal feature lower mortality and substance abuse rates, where it is not these problems are on the rise.
Opponents of marijuana legalisation often associate the plant with great myths that have surrounded it for years. One of them, and of the most unfair, is that smoking cannabis leads to the consumption of more dangerous drugs, such as heroin. Many news headlines have supported this fallacy, debunked in recent times by scientific research conducted by major organisations.
A new study, backed by Columbia University, found that cannabinoids are actually direct "enemies" of opiates like heroin and that, more specifically, they help those addicted to the latter to "detox." The researchers tested two groups of hospitalised subjects seeking to discontinue their use of a certain drug. Members of one were medicated with cannabis, while the others were given a placebo. They found that those who consumed the plant were more likely to succeed.
Moreover, participants who smoked had fewer problems sleeping, did not suffer anxiety, and handled their treatments better than those who had not. In addition to smoking cigarettes, some of them were also medicated with dronabidol, a drug based on cannabis's psychoactive component (THC). The results indicate that this product also helps patients to deal with withdrawal symptoms.
The findings of this report are consistent with others conducted in 2001 and 2009. Understanding its consequences is important, as the number of overdose deaths has increased since 1999. Moreover, those places (the United States, for example) where some kind of cannabis consumption is permitted, particularly that of medical cannabis, report lower drug use and mortality rates.