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Marijuana is abused commonly in the United States, with its main ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) acting on specific brain receptor cells. No matter how it gets into the body, the active ingredient THC affects almost every organ, including the nervous system and immune system.
Given the increasing use of marijuana by young adults, counseling and education can help them adapt to a drug-free lifestyle. But when these addicts are given psychological counseling in combination with the anticonvulsant drug topiramate, their marijuana use is remarkably reduced, according to a 2016 study by Brown University. Published in the Addiction Biology, the study reiterates that many addicts cannot put up with the side effects of the medication.
Lead researcher Robert Miranda Jr., associate professor (research) of psychiatry and human behavior in the Alpert Medical School, along with his co-workers, aimed to determine whether topiramate used to treat epilepsy can actually enhance the benefits of motivational enhancement therapy (MET). For the study, the researchers enrolled 66 participants in the age group of 15-24 years, with more than half of them showing visible symptoms of marijuana abuse and dependence.
As a rule, all participants were offered MET sessions lasting 50 minutes, at weeks 1, 3 and 5 of the study. As the next step, 40 of the 66 participants were administered topiramate, along with MET, in various doses – escalating from 25 milligrams in week one to 200 milligrams by week five. Surprisingly, this group was found to use less marijuana each time in comparison to those who received only counseling and a placebo.
“The positive news is it did seem to have some effect and that effect seemed to really be focused on helping people reduce how much they smoke when they smoke,” says Miranda. “It’s promising in the sense that it suggests that medications can help, but it asks questions about for whom it might be most effective because many people can’t tolerate the medication.”
However, 21 of the 40 participants who received the drug were found to quit the study, in comparison to only six of the 26 people who got placebo. The dropouts were the result of side effects such as depression, anxiety, trouble with coordination and balance, weight loss and unusual sensations, associated with this drug.
Based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2013 report, nearly 115 million Americans aged 12 or older were found to use marijuana at some point in their life. With no medications currently available to treat marijuana dependence, professional detoxification facilities can provide a safe, supportive place for abusers to detox their body and get the drug out of their systems.
Studies have shown that good outcomes are possible with adequate treatment length, hence, patients are often recommended long-term addiction recovery programs that enable them to undergo detox and other physician-assisted procedures, while helping them build strong coping skills.
Moreover, cases of stress and drug craving that often lead to relapse can be easily managed with long-term care as it offers a more comprehensive approach to deal with such issues. For high recovery success rates, a drug rehab program that lasts more than 90 days is considered effective. Studies indicate those who remain in treatment for longer than this three-month period show a relatively fast recovery.
An inpatient detoxification process also motivates and supports patients to seek formal treatment. In the rehab, patients are offered professionally directed care and treatment, and are encouraged to cope with impairments in their social and occupational lives. Life skills learned in rehabs allow patients to have a smooth transition into a more independent lifestyle.
It is not easy to fight the misfortune of addiction to a substance, but with proper treatment and care a person can reclaim his life and live freely once again. You can call the Colorado Detox Helpline for information related to available treatment options, including Natural Assisted Detox (NAD) and Neurotransmitter Restoration (NTR). Call our 24/7 helpline at 866-730-5807 or chat online with a representative today.
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