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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN: Waiting for answers on COVID-19, benefits and WE charity

Recent questions raised in the House of Commons have not yet been answered

Missing toddler wandered for three hours in Beaverdell area before being found

The two-year-old boy was found safe by his uncle on Beaver Creek Road on Aug. 12

Two structures burned in Cawston blaze

Crews from Keremeos, Kaleden and Osoyoos attended blaze early on Aug. 13

Roots and Blues festival to kick off virtually on Friday

Watch the festival on Black Press Media website platforms, for free

Morning Start: The first vending machines dispensed holy water

Your morning start for Thursday, August 13, 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Algae bloom highlights nutrient concerns in Shuswap water quality report

Shuswap Watershed Council releases 2019 water quality report

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Police in Summerland hand out treats with tickets

Positive Ticketing Campaign began Aug. 9 at Summerland Skatepark

Aldo Shoes’ Kelowna store to close permanently

The branch is among those closing as the company restructures to deal with COVID-19 debt

Most Read