Treating Addiction to substances such as heroin, methadone, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs with a nonaddictive, nontoxic alternative is an effective therapy for some recovering addicts.  Trading a physical addiction with serious life-threatening complications for a mild psychological dependence on a harmless substitute may not be the ideal solution; however, cannabis can be a valuable stepping stone to recovery for some addicts.
Research from the University of California, Irvine in April of 1999 showed that anandamide, the natural cannabinoid found in the human brain, inhibits the neurological reactions of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with chemical addiction.  As the effects of marijuana include reinforcing the presence of anandamide in the brain, it seems likely that marijuana is not merely a replacement for hard drugs. Cannabis may actually work as an antidote to the neurochemical patterns typical of addiction.
Related sections: Addiction, Cerebral Effects.
 Grinspoon, “Marijuana and heroin addiction.” The Forbidden Medicine Website, http://www.remarijuana.com/
 Stein, “Bits and Pieces.” Geriatric Psychiatry News, Issue 3, No. 7, June/July 1999