Dr. Mitch Earleywine, the author of Understanding Marijuana and The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana, dishes on opiate addiction, seizures, cannabidivarin and booze.

Can we use marijuana to solve this country’s opiate-addiction epidemic?
—Poppy

Hi Poppy,
Many former opiate addicts have used the plant to help them stay off hard drugs. We don’t yet have data from randomized clinical trials where some folks get the plant and others don’t, but what’s an opiate addict got to lose in the meantime? If you turn to cannabis and kick, you’ve made huge progress—and if you turn to cannabis and can’t kick, you’re in the same position as before. Fans of the disease model will send me angry e-mails, but I think it’s worth giving this approach a try.

Can you explain why we need CBD for seizure treatment?
Sirius Green

Hello Sirius,
There are other treatments, but one-third of epileptics have a treatment-resistant form, so standard medications aren’t doing the trick. Research shows that CBD can decrease seizures by more than 35 percent, and in some patients it can bring them down over 90 percent. CBD is also supremely safe, with essentially no side effects. What more could we want?

What’s cannabidivarin?
A Person

Yo AP,
Yet another chemical compound unique to the marijuana plant, cannabidivarin appears to be a lot like cannabidiol (CBD): It’s not psychoactive, so it has no associated changes in mood, and it shows a lot of potential for fighting seizures and inflammation. Indeed, it just might end up as the hip new pharmaceutical component of the plant once CBD becomes old hat.

I’ve heard that alcohol is the real “gateway drug.” Any truth to that?
—Ima Steppingstone

Hi Ima,
Research confirms that those who use hard drugs started drinking alcohol before they ever tried cannabis. Also, those who drank by sixth grade were the most likely to try hard drugs and to use them more often. So keeping little kids away from alcohol definitely seems more important than telling them lies about cannabis.

Last Month from Dr. Mitch: Diabetes, How to Legalize Pot Use Per Capita and Overdose Deaths

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