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Cannabis And Meth Craving Management

A study out of Canada’s University of British Columbia suggests cannabis could be a useful tool for reducing crystal methamphetamine cravings.

As in many other countries, Canada has been heavily impacted by illicit methamphetamine use. Previous research found the population-based rate of amphetamine-related emergency department visits in the country’s province of Ontario increased nearly 15-fold between 2003 and 2020.

Across the border in the USA, analysis by Pew found that from 2015 to 2019, arrests for meth possession increased 59%. During that period, the number of people in the U.S. with a methamphetamine-related substance use disorder increased 37% and overdose deaths involving meth more than doubled.

Could cannabis play a role in managing the situation?

Using data from a questionnaire completed by individuals concurrently using cannabis and unregulated drugs including methamphetamine, a new study by researchers from University of British Columbia (UBC) found cannabis use to manage stimulant cravings was reported by 134 (45.1%) participants.

These findings indicate that cannabis use to manage stimulant cravings is a common harm reduction strategy. But while cannabis consumption to manage cravings was significantly associated with daily users of crystal methamphetamine, it was not significantly associated with reduced crack/cocaine consumption among daily users.

“Our findings are not conclusive but do add to the growing scientific evidence that cannabis might be a beneficial tool for some people who want to better control their unregulated stimulant use, particularly for people who use crystal meth,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Hudson Reddon. “This suggests a new direction for harm reduction strategies among people who use drugs.”

The research has been published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. It’s the most recent in a series of cannabis studies led by UBC Okanagan’s Dr. Zach Walsh and UBC Vancouver’s Dr. M-J Milloy – both authors of the latest study – and other colleagues at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use.

“While these findings are promising, they underscore the need for more comprehensive studies to understand the full potential of cannabis in the context of the overdose crisis,” commented Dr. Walsh.

Their work has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Gillian Jalimnson
Gillian Jalimnson is one of Hemp Gazette's staff writers and has been with us since we kicked off in 2015. Gillian sees massive potential for cannabis in areas of health, energy, building and personal care products and is intrigued by the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative to conventional treatments. You can contact Gillian here.

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