MAY 20, 2021 10:05 PM PDT

Study Shows Mixed Effects of Cannabis on Reducing Opioid Use

WRITTEN BY: Angela Dowden

There have been exponential increases in opioid-related illness and death in the United States and Canada, and the opioid overdose epidemic can be described as a public health crisis.

 

Is medicinal cannabis at least a partial answer to this crisis? It has certainly been billed as such by the industry, with THC-rich strain being promoted as substituting some of the pain-relieving benefits of opioids without the addictive side effects. 

 

In truth there’s been little high quality research to quantify the potential benefit, so a recent Canadian study that looks into the subject in more depth provides some useful insight .

 

For this study, the investigators analyzed medical cannabis use and opioid consumption among chronic opioid users, including more than 5,300 patients authorized to use medical cannabis and a group of matched controls who did not receive medical cannabis authorizations. The researchers evaluated the study subjects’ change in weekly opioid consumption, as measured by the oral morphine equivalent (OME). Patients’ use of opioids for the 26 weeks before and 52 weeks after medical cannabis authorization was studied.

 

The key finding was that medical cannabis authorization showed mixed effects on short-term opioid utilization, so cannabis is no panacea.

 

The greatest (statistically significant) reductions in opioid use occurred in patients who were on a high dosage of opioids However, the subjects prescribed lower doses of opioids before they received an authorization for medical cannabis failed to show a statistically significant reduction in opioid intake, relative to the matched controls.

https://youtu.be/oTWo5XqKC4I

 

The researchers, from the University of Alberta, say that a strength of their study was that it was the largest and longest population-based study on this topic to date. However, limitations include that it was an observational study, it is uncertain if medical cannabis was consumed as prescribed, and no conclusion about the best variety and presentation of cannabis can be made.  


 

More  “well-controlled clinical trials are urgently needed to be able to fully elucidate cannabis’s potential benefits with respect to opioid sparing effects in patients,” the researchers wrote.

 

Sources: BMC Public Health, High Times

 

About the Author
  • I'm a journalist and author with many year's experience of writing for both a consumer and professional audience, mostly on nutrition, health and medical prescribing. My background is food science and I'm a registered nutritionist.
You May Also Like
JUL 07, 2021
Cardiology
Wealth Changes Linked to Heart Health Differences
JUL 07, 2021
Wealth Changes Linked to Heart Health Differences
Changes in a person's financial state have been recognized as a major cause of stress . Now researchers have found inves ...
JUL 08, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
High-potency Cannabis Impacts Memory, but not Decision-Making
JUL 08, 2021
High-potency Cannabis Impacts Memory, but not Decision-Making
High-potency cannabis products impair memory in various ways, according to new research published in Scientific Rep ...
JUL 12, 2021
Cardiology
Myocarditis in Children is Usually Due to a Virus
JUL 12, 2021
Myocarditis in Children is Usually Due to a Virus
The heart is a muscle, and the wall of the heart has several layers. In a condition called myocarditis, the middle layer ...
JUL 27, 2021
Immunology
Rethinking Immune Responses Involved in Skin Hypersensitivity
JUL 27, 2021
Rethinking Immune Responses Involved in Skin Hypersensitivity
A study by immunologists at the University of Copenhagen has revealed a never-before-seen immune pathway invol ...
JUL 29, 2021
Health & Medicine
CBD Linked WIth Better Quality of Life in Epilepsy Patients
JUL 29, 2021
CBD Linked WIth Better Quality of Life in Epilepsy Patients
People with epilepsy report better well-being when they self-medicate with cannabidiol (CBD) according to a new study pu ...
JUL 30, 2021
Cancer
Obesity Reduces Mortality in Advanced Prostate Cancer
JUL 30, 2021
Obesity Reduces Mortality in Advanced Prostate Cancer
Obese patients with an advanced form of prostate cancer survive longer than their slimmer counterparts, according to res ...
Loading Comments...