Daily cannabis use lowers odds of illicit opioid use for pain

Cannabis best to fight pain?

A new study published by the University of British Columbia indicates cannabis may be safer and have more benefits than illegal opioid drugs.

The study conducted by UBC between 2014 and 2017 focused on more than 1,100 people determined to be at risk of an opioid overdose. During their interviews for the study, it was determined that daily cannabis use may have an impact on lowering the odds of daily illegal opioid use.

CTV News reports that researchers discovered the information they were getting back pointed to people swapping opioids for cannabis to manage pain.

"In the midst of an ongoing public health emergency caused by opioid overdose deaths, the results suggest that increasing access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes could help curb overdose risk associated with illicit opioid use," said senior author research scientist Dr. M-J Milloy.

The UBC study published Tuesday also found that daily cannabis users had a 50 per cent better chance of avoiding illegal opioids every day compared to those who didn't use cannabis. "These findings point to a need to design formal clinical evaluations of cannabis-based strategies for pain management, opioid use disorder treatment supports, and wider harm reduction initiatives," said Stephanie Lake, a PhD candidate at UBC's school of population and public health, and the lead author of the study.

The next steps will include controlled trials to determine how effective cannabis is at helping people with an illegal opioid disorder. 

– with files from CTV News

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