Despite marijuana being considered as a ‘doorway drug’ to more addictive and harder stuff, scientists at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada think that the contrary is true.
Their extensive review of research on the medical use of cannabis has found that smoking marijuana may actually help alcoholics kick their drinking habit for good. And it can also help people addicted to harder drugs.
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Bill Maher and Woody Harellson are toking up somewhere right now in celebration.
The study also found evidence that cannabis may help treat the symptoms of depression, PTSD and social anxiety. However, the review concluded that cannabis use might not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.
UBC lead investigator Zach Walsh explained: “Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication.”
“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, ” says Walsh.
Walsh and his team systematically reviewed all studies of medical cannabis and mental health, as well as reviews on non-medical cannabis use–making their report one of the most comprehensive to date on the effects of medical cannabis on mental health.
“With legalization of marijuana possible its important to identify ways to help mental health professional move beyond stigma to better understand the risk and benefits of cannabis is increasingly important, ” adds Walsh.
“There is not currently a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes, ” says Walsh. “With the end of prohibition, telling people to simply stop using may no longer be as feasible an option. Knowing how to consider cannabis in the treatment equation will become a necessity.”