A recently released Canadian study has found that authorizations to use medical cannabis for chronic pain patients correlated to a reduction in opioid use among those to whom they are prescribed. A report on the research, “Opioid use in medical cannabis authorization for adult patients from 2013 to 2018: Alberta, Canada,” was published earlier this month in the journal BMC Public Health.
In their background statement for the abstract of the study, researchers affiliated with the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto wrote that the over-prescription and widespread diversion of opioid medications has led to an epidemic of misuse and abuse in both Canada and the United States. As a result, identifying suitable medical alternatives to opioids and helping patients reduce their intake of the powerful painkillers has become a critical area of investigation.
“An increasing body of literature suggests that medical cannabis may decrease chronic pain, be a potential substitute for opioids and act as a contender for decreasing patients’ opioid usage,” the authors of the study wrote. “Known as the ‘opioid-sparing effect,’ recent studies have emphasized the analgesic properties of medical cannabis—and that concomitant use with cannabis may potentially show a significant reduction in overall reliance of opioid