New potential for marijuana: Treating drug addiction

Most European countries and Canada have embraced the idea of harm reduction, designing policies that help people with drug problems to live better, healthier lives rather than to punish them.

On the front lines of addiction in the United States, some addiction specialists have also begun to work toward this end.

Joe Schrank, program director and founder of High Sobriety, is one of them. He says his Los Angeles-based treatment center uses medicinal cannabis as a detox and maintenance protocol for people who have more severe addictions, although it’s effectiveness is not scientifically proven.

“So it’s a harm-reduction theory,” he said. “With cannabis, there is no known lethal dose; it can be helpful for certain conditions.”