New research from the US has found yet more evidence that medicinal cannabis can help ameliorate the country’s opioid crisis.
Based on a comprehensive review of the literature and epidemiological evidence, the team found “cannabinoids stand to be one of the most interesting, safe and accessible tools available to attenuate the devastation resulting from the misuse and abuse of opioid narcotics”.
Specifically, they found:
● In the 1960s, more than 80% of people entering treatment for heroin addiction started their habit on heroin. Now, around 80% of those misused prescription opioids first.
● A survey of 2,897 medicinal cannabis patients found that, of the 34% who used opioid-based pain medication in the prior six months, 97% decreased their consumption with medicinal cannabis and 81% said cannabis alone was more effective than cannabis-plus-opioids.
● A retrospective cross-sectional survey of 1,513 dispensary members indicated that 77% of regular opioid-using respondents reduced their use after starting medicinal cannabis. When participants were asked what they liked most about cannabis, the most common response was that it helped with pain.
Published in the Harm Reduction Journal the paper, ‘An answered call for aid? Cannabinoid clinical framework for the opioid epidemic’, calls for the US medical community to pursue the use of cannabinoid treatments instead of opioids for their patients.
The researchers conclude: “Considering the urgency of the opioid epidemic and broadening of cannabinoid accessibility amid absent prescribing guidelines, the authors recommend use of this clinical framework in the contexts of both clinical research continuity and patient care.”