A new survey has shut down claims that cannabis acts as a gateway drug, claiming that it may in fact be an effective aid for those trying to overcome alcoholism or addiction to other drugs.
The new research, which was led by researchers at the University of British Columbia, found through their survey into the drug that addicts may in fact benefit from using cannabis as an alternative to their usual substances which are seen as more dangerous and have more impact on their health. This can include illicit and prescription drugs, as well as a heavy intake of alcohol. They believe that using cannabis as a substitute for other harmful substances can be a step towards fighting their addiction.
Researcher and UBC Associate Professor of Psychology, Zach Walsh, claimed that, “research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication.”
The study was carried out on medical cannabis patients who answered a 414-question survey about in-depth medical conditions and their symptoms, as well as their patterns of medical cannabis use, cannabis substitution, and the barriers in place which hinder the access of medical cannabis to those who believe that they require it.
The survey, which was carried out on 472 adults who already use cannabis for therapeutic purposes found that, “substituting cannabis for one or more of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs was reported by 87% of respondents, with 80.3% reporting substitution for prescription drugs, 51.7% for alcohol, and 32.6% for illicit substances.”
Alongside the aid of overcoming addiction of alcohol or other drugs, researchers have also claimed that using medical cannabis may also be able to help with other medial conditions such as depression, PTSD and anxiety.
The study by researchers, which was published in the academic journal Clinical Psychology Review, also found that “cannabis use does not appear to increase risk of harm to self or others”, although it is not effective at treating all conditions, such as symptoms of bipolar disorder and psychosis.
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