There was once a time when people were told that cannabis was a gateway drug. Using cannabis was supposed to lead to using dangerous drugs like heroin and meth and you would end up ruining your life. One doctor in Canada is using cannabis to help patients at his methadone clinic get their lives back.
Canadian Doctor Mark Ujjainwalla knew that most of his patients at the Recovery Ottawa clinic were already using cannabis to help cope with quitting opiates. Though the results were positive, his patients were getting their cannabis on the black market, much of it through the same people who supplied them with pills. So, he decided to take matters into his own hands and prescribe them cannabis.
Dr. Ujjainwalla said in an interview, “They gotta go on the street to the same idiots they used to buy their pills from, they used to buy their crack from, are selling their weed. They have to go back into the red zone area to buy weed from these same idiots. So that’s an issue around relapse.” By prescribing his patients cannabis he is not only helping them cope with the difficulty of beating opiate addiction, he is also greatly reducing their chance of relapsing due to being around the same people who enabled their addiction.
Guess what, it seems to be working. “We get them on methadone, they start doing better. But they’re using marijuana. They’re using marijuana because they feel better on marijuana. I’m not saying that’s good or bad. I’m just saying that’s what they tell me. So now they’re on methadone and marijuana, and they’re doing pretty well, considering where they were at,” the Canadian doctor commented.
Opiate addicts have been using cannabis on their own as an exit drug for a few years now. A study from 2014 showed that opiate overdoses were as much as 25% lower in the states where medical cannabis is legal. Dr. Ujjainwalla is the first doctor to put this theory into practice. If the current bill in the US Congress to reschedule cannabis passes, then hopefully doctors in the US will begin doing the same.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Image Source: Vice
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