The data is clear: medication-assisted treatment (MAT) saves and improves lives. Yet the current recovery culture disparages and marginalizes the potential benefits of assistance from medication. Remedy Recovery offers medication-assisted recovery without shame. For generations, the accepted solution to a substance misuse disorder was to cease use of all substances. Now, science informs us differently.

Studies about Medication-Assisted Treatment

  • Research shows MAT can help people through withdrawal.
  • MAT has been proven to reduce relapse and overdose.
  • Research has shown that MAT can assist people transition from harmful drugs to go on and live healthy, functional lives.

The Use of Cannabis in Medication-Assisted Treatment

Remedy Recovery supports the use of cannabis. Research supports our belief that cannabis can be a vital tool as an exit drug from self-harming drug use (see below). Its innovative use as a harm reduction approach to opioid addiction has proven to be successful in reducing deaths, assisting withdrawal from opioids, and significantly decreasing the use of highly addictive opioids to control pain.

While it’s not without the risk of dependence, cannabis has a high value potential as a transitional or maintenance drug, as evidenced in these studies:

  • According to research out of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, opioid overdose deaths have decreased by 25 percent in states where medical cannabis is legal.
  • A recent University of Michigan study found clients who used medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of opioids.
  • Cannabidiol has proven to be a useful treatment for cannabis withdrawal syndrome.
  • Studies have shown that the use of cannabis during the induction of methadone reduces the patient’s experience of opiate withdrawal.
  • Doctors in Massachusetts have used cannabis to treat those with opioid use disorder with positive results.

The statistics are clear that the risk of death from opioids far outweighs the risk of dying from cannabis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, opiate overdoses claimed 64,000 lives in 2016. The latest figures from the National Institute on Drug Abuse state that more than 115 Americans die every day of opioid-related reasons. With no lethal point of ingestion, cannabis claimed zero lives. Death ends the potential for any measure of recovery.

Remedy Recovery does not profess that medication is right for all people; we do believe in exploration of all options, including abstinence. The question of medication is best addressed by the client and their licensed medical doctor.

 Remedy Recovery is focused on client collaboration. We consider our clients to be the most important voice in their recovery. Our ethical, educated, and experienced staff is intended to be the scaffolding for goal clarification and support to meet those goals, not as a means to mandate how one recovers.

Research Supporting Medication-Assisted Treatment, Including The Use of Cannabis

Topic Authors Summary Link
Clients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain Boehnke, K.
Litinas, E.
Clauw, D.
  • Cannabis use was associated with 64% lower opioid use in patients with chronic pain.
  • Cannabis use was associated with better quality of life in patients with chronic pain.
  • Cannabis use was associated with fewer medication side effects and medications used.
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Cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs Corroon, J.
Mischley, L.
Sexton, M.
  • Data contributes to the growing evidence that cannabis is used as a substitute for prescription drugs, particularly prescription pain relief.
  • The study showed that the state laws allowing access to and use of medical cannabis may not be influencing individual decisions to use the drug.
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Cannabis as a substitute for opioid-based pain medication Reiman, A.
Welty, M.
Solomon, P.
  • The use of cannabis as a method of pain treatment might assist with pain relief and less risk.
  • A society with less opioid dependent people will result in fewer public harms.
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A comparison of medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in the U.S. Bachhuber, M.
Saloner, B.
Cunningham, C.
  • Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates.
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Cannabidiol for the treatment of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome Crippa, J.
De Sousa, M.
Queiroz, R.
Bergamaschi, M.
Chagas, M.
Zuardi, A.
  • CBD can be effective for the treatment of cannabis withdrawal syndrome.
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Problematic use of opioids and medicinal cannabis among patients suffering with pain Feingold, D.
Goor-Aryeh, I.
Sril, S.
Delayahu, Y.
Lev-Ran S.
  • Problematic use of opioids is common among chronic pain patients treated with prescription opioids and is more prevalent than problematic use of cannabis among those receiving medical cannabis. Pain patients should be screened for risk factors for problematic use before initiating long-term treatment for pain control.
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Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs Reiman
  • Cannabis was used to curb alcohol cravings, as an alternative to previous use of prescription drugs, and even as a substitute for more potent drugs such as cocaine.
  • 57.4% of respondents chose to use cannabis because it provided better symptom management.
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MAT assisting patients through opiate withdrawal Fullerton, C.
Kim, M.
Parks, Thomas C.
Lyman, R.
Montejano, L.
Dougherty, R.
Daniels, A.
Ghose, S.
Delphin-Rittmon, M.
  • MAT improves outcomes for individuals and pregnant women with opioid use disorders.
  • MAT should be a covered service available to all.
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Use of cannabis with methadone during initiation of treatment Scavone, J.L.
Sterling, R.
Weinstein, S.
Van Bockstaele, E.
  • Use of cannabis with methadone reduces opiate withdrawal symptoms.
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MAT assisting the transition to leading healthy and fulfilling lives Sees, K.
Delucchi, K.
Masson, C.
  • Results confirm the usefulness of MAT in reducing heroin use and HIV risk behaviors.
  • Illicit use of opioids reduced.
  • Data indicates that behavioral therapies would increase MAT efficacy.
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MAT reducing relapse and overdose Gordon, M.
Kinlock, T.
Schwartz, R.
O’Grady, K.
  • Methadone maintenance, initiated prior to or immediately after release from prison, increases treatment entry and reduces heroin use, compared to counseling only.
  • This intervention may be able to fill the urgent need to treat prisoners with a history of heroin use disorder.
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