Amphetamine Addiction and Cannabis Treatment

Amphetamines are a synthetic-type medicine called stimulants. Stimulants are responsible for increasing your energy and alertness, helping you feel more focused, confident and in a certain level, euphoric. They are often recommended by doctors to treat sleep problems, learning problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, depression, and obesity in extremer cases. They are also sold illegally and are known for “speed” or “uppers.”

The risk of addiction of amphetamine users exists even if the medicine is taken therapeutically. The risk of addiction is higher when there is an abuse of the drug. The addiction is mainly due to the euphoria and rewarding feeling that motivates someone to continue using. Amphetamine abuse and dependence lead a person to have many serious personal, family and health problems.

One of the most significant problems with amphetamines is that people who use it regularly may develop a tolerance to them, requiring increasing the dose of amphetamine to achieve the same effect. This process of creating tolerance and increasing the ingestion of the drug continues as long as the person continues using amphetamines.

The abuse of amphetamines can lead to several unwanted effects like extreme mood changes, poor nutrition, problems breathing, disequilibrium and loss of motor coordination, seizures or stroke and more frequent signs of psychosis. The combination of amphetamines with alcohol is also extremely dangerous, and it can lead to alcohol poisoning, increased heart rate and blood pressure that can cause heart attacks. Actually, there are multiple medical records reporting heart attacks after mixing amphetamines with alcohol.

Some of the diagnostic criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that qualifies a person as amphetamine addicted are taking more amphetamines than necessary or for a longer time that was really needed, developing amphetamine tolerance, wasting a lot of time trying to get the drug, wanting to quit using but failing every time, using amphetamines even when the drug is affecting yourself, leading to physical or mental distress and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using it.

Withdrawal symptoms happen when an individual stops taking the drug but his body is already used to functioning with the substance and cannot work without it anymore. The usual symptoms of withdrawal are fatigue, sleeping problems, increased appetite, depressed mood, irritability, muscle and body pain, loss of interest and pleasure, cravings for the drug and vivid nightmares.

The use of cannabis for substitution of other drugs is quite common, and many types of research displayed that a large percentage of cannabis users are substituting either medication or other drugs with marijuana, mainly due to the adverse effects.

In research published online in 2014 that analyzed cannabis and opioids interaction showed that marijuana helped and influenced positively opioid dependence and withdrawal in rodent models on preclinical trial. There are some ongoing researches about the potential of marijuana for treating addiction and preclinical trials of previous studies already show a positive response.