Production manager Shawn McDougall shows a cannabis flower after its been harvested and dried at Blissco Cannabis Corp. in Langley, B.C., on October 9, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Easier access to cannabis could reduce the need for patients to use opioids to manage their pain, research from the B.C. Centre on Substance Use suggests.

The study, released Tuesday in PLOS Medicine, found that daily cannabis use was linked to “significantly lower odds of daily illicit opioid use.”

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and major or chronic pain between June 2014 and December 2017. They found those people who used cannabis daily were nearly 50 per cent less likely to use opioids to manage pain. People who used cannabis occasionally were neither more or less likely to use opioids than non-pot users.

Study results suggest that daily cannabis use in people with chronic pain could be an “ad-hoc, self directed” strategy to reduce their reliance on opioids, even as B.C. went through the worst years of the overdose crisis. In 2014, there were 338 deaths linked to opioid overdoses across the province. By 2016, that number near tripled to 992 deaths and in 2017, the second-worst year on record, the number of deaths spiked to 1495.

“These findings point to a need to conduct experimental evaluations of cannabis-based strategies for pain management, opioid use disorder treatment supports, and wider harm reduction initiatives,” says Stephanie Lake, a doctoral candidate at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, and the lead author of the study.

READ MORE: Could cannabis help keep people in B.C. on treatment for opioid addiction?

READ MORE: Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New pool systems being checked out as renos near completion

Maple Ridge Leisure Centre pools open some time next year

Former Maple Ridge mayor new Chamber president

Al Hogarth takes over from Ken Holland

Caddy Shack, one of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs, baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Bill 41 a ‘step toward reconciliation’: MLA

Katzie will get meaningful consultation, says Chief George

Freshco opens in Maple Ridge on Thursday

Free eggs for first 500 customers

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read