Drugs

Watch: Cannabis Used Effectively to Fight Statewide Opioid Crisis

Cannabis pills and patches help relieve painkillers' agonizing withdrawal symptoms.

Photo Credit: ABC 15 Arizona / YouTube

The treatment center Blue Door Therapeutics is combating the opioid epidemic with cannabis pills and patches in response to painkillers' often agonizing withdrawal symptoms. According to doctors at the Scottsdale, Arizona facility, a chemical in marijuana with "anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties" can "help stabilize the patient's underlying condition," reported ABC15.

Opioid addiction following common surgery is rising, particularly because the pills are so difficult for people to stop taking. According to a recent study co-authored by a bariatric surgery chief at the University of Pittsburgh, "About 20 percent of U.S. weight-loss surgery patients are still using prescription opioid painkillers seven years later."

One Blue Door patient became hooked on oxycodone during a series of knee surgeries.

"Every time I tried to come down on the pain pills, I needed another surgery," the 63-year-old female patient told ABC15. "Blue Door, and the medical marijuana, is what saved my life."

After taking cannabis capsules for six weeks, she was cured.

Patients "have to meet the state's criteria for participation in the program, and [the products] will be used responsibly and in a way that's not habit-forming," explained Ravi Chandiramani, Blue Door's medical director. 

Blue Door Therapeutics raised more than $2 million in private funding to launch the clinic. A medical marijuana card is needed to qualify. Blue Door doctors advise patients against smoking pot.

Watch:

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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