Getting off opioids with medical marijuana: Patients turn to pot over pills
The withdrawal symptoms were severe. Slinker said she was moody and irritable from the pounding headaches and constant nausea. Without any medications, her hands began to spasm and freeze.
Her then 22 year-old son suggested cannabis. The relief was quick. “I realized immediately that there are medicinal properties within cannabis,” she said.
It didn’t completely eliminate her pain, but pot allowed her to live again, she says. She was able to play with her granddaughter and participate in life. “I’m never going to be pain-free, ever. But cannabis has given me a reason to live,” Slinker said.
But it is also illegal in her home state of Indiana. “I could have bought cannabis off the street. But that was not me. I wanted to do it the right way. I wanted to do it legally,” she said. So in July 2012, Slinker moved to Maine.
Treating patients with weed
Medical marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1999. The state has one of the top ten highest rates of opioid overdose in the country. In 2016, the rate of overdoses from opioid drugs in Maine was nearly double the national rate. The number of heroin related deaths has jumped more thanfourfold since 2012.