NOV 19, 2019 2:51 PM PST

Cannabis Can't Simply Replace Opioids for Pain Management

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

According to the research, cannabis is not effective when it comes to treating individuals struggling with opioid use disorder. While some may have considered cannabis as a promising solution for opioid addiction, McMaster University researchers have shown that it is not the answer scientists are looking for.

Researchers found and analyzed the results of six studies including more than 3,600 participants undergoing methadone maintenance therapy, a common treatment for opioid use disorder. They found that cannabis use neither decreases the number of people who illicitly use opioids during treatment, nor does it help reduce the number of people who ultimately fail to complete therapy.

Recent research has suggested extracting cannabidiol (CBD) from cannabis to treat cannabis use disorder. A study published in 2015 found that marijuana use more than doubled between 2012 and 2013, and a significant increase in marijuana use disorder cases accompanied.

The American Psychiatry Association defined opioid use disorder as a “chronic lifelong disorder” associated with at least two out of 11 habits defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. Habits include but are not limited to consuming progressively larger amounts of drugs “over a longer period than intended,” failure to manage opioid use, and experience of withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal syndrome.

“Some high-profile organizations have suggested cannabis is an 'exit drug' for illicit opioid use, but we found no evidence to suggest cannabis helps patients with opioid use disorder stop using opioids," explained senior author Dr. Zainab Samaan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2016, approximately 2.1 million Americans suffered from opioid use disorder. Opioids are most often prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain.

Sources: McMaster University, Canadian Medical Association Journal

 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 26, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Medicinal Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells
JUL 26, 2020
Medicinal Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells
Researchers at the University of Newcastle have found that a modified version of medicinal cannabis can kill and inhibit ...
AUG 05, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Provides Short Term Relief for Depression
AUG 05, 2020
Cannabis Provides Short Term Relief for Depression
Researchers from Yale University have found that cannabis has short-term antidepressant effects in the vast majority of ...
AUG 16, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabinoids May Interact with Prescribed Medications
AUG 16, 2020
Cannabinoids May Interact with Prescribed Medications
Despite the growing popularity of cannabis products, information is currently limited on how they may interact with othe ...
OCT 20, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Should Cannabis Doses Be Standardized?
OCT 20, 2020
Should Cannabis Doses Be Standardized?
Should cannabis and its compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis, come in sta ...
OCT 25, 2020
Health & Medicine
Over 4 in 10 People With MS Have Used Cannabis in the Last Year
OCT 25, 2020
Over 4 in 10 People With MS Have Used Cannabis in the Last Year
University of Michigan researchers have found that Americans with Multiple sclerosis (MS) are twice as likely as the gen ...
NOV 19, 2020
Health & Medicine
Two Studies Raise Cannabis Heart Concerns
NOV 19, 2020
Two Studies Raise Cannabis Heart Concerns
Cannabis was under discussion at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020 (held November 13&ndash ...
Loading Comments...