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

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Smithers only taxi company closing down

BV Taxi parking its cars at the end of January

Coastal GasLink repeats desire for meeting with hereditary chiefs

Coastal GasLink says they’re ready to meet with the hereditary chiefs at their convenience

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Cariboo Memorial Hospital on the mend after cold weather wreaks havoc

Burst pipes and water leaks cause three different incidents

Most Read