HomeNewsStudy: Medical Cannabis Impact On Opioid Use

Study: Medical Cannabis Impact On Opioid Use

Another study has found prescription opioid use reducing in many patients after they begin using prescribed medical cannabis.

The abuse and negative impacts of prescription opioids in the USA continues to be a significant issue. According to CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, overdose deaths from opioids increased to 75,673 in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, up from 56,064 the year before. These included deaths from illicit and legal use.

But some patients using these drugs are turning to medical cannabis as an adjunct to or as a replacement treatment. We’ve seen a number of studies indicating medical cannabis could be a viable alternative for some patients. And here’s another.

Researchers from Emerald Coast Research and Florida State University College of Medicine performed a detailed survey of medical cannabis patients soon after medical use was legalised in Florida.

A total of 2,183 patients participated in the survey, who had various conditions including anxiety disorders, chronic pain, depression, insomnia and PTSD.

Results from the survey indicated 90.6% found medical cannabis to be very or extremely helpful in treating their medical condition. 88.7% said it was very or extremely important to their quality of life.

In terms of pain levels, these improved in 85.9% of participants, while 84% said their conditions weren’t interfering as much with social activities. Furthermore, more than half said physical activities weren’t as difficult as they were prior to using medicinal cannabis.

On the opioid side of things, 79% of those who had been taking opioid medicines were able to stop or reduce use.

“If there’s the option to instead use a medicine with less harmful side-effects, including a lower risk of overdose and death, then it should perhaps be considered,” said researcher Carolyn Pritchett.

However, Ms. Pritchett said more research is needed and stressed the use of medical cannabis for pain relief should be medically supervised.

“Like any other medicine with side-effects, patients should be regularly monitored and assessed for adverse events, abuse disorder and other issues.”

Limitations of the study included self-selected participants and its retrospective nature means participants may have been subject to recall bias.

The research has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Substance Use and Misuse

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

Most Popular