Researchers in Israel have found that cannabis usage is associated with reduced opioid usage among individuals with chronic pain. The team performed a random sample of chronic pain patients who had been granted license for cannabis use over telephone and asked about their lifetime opioid and cannabis usage. According to the report:
Of the 100 participants aged 18–70 years (compliance 67% (aged >40) and 33% (aged ≤ 40y)), 76 ever used opioids. Of them, 93% decreased or stopped opioids following cannabis initiation. Ten patients (10%), 17.4% of the ≤40 y age group, met the criteria for cannabis use disorder. Compared to those who did not meet the criteria, their lifetime depression was higher (80% vs. 43.2%, respectively, P=.042), and they were less educated (12.2 ± 0.6y vs. 13.5 ± 2.1y, p = 0.05).
In addition to their general findings of reduced opioid use, these findings suggest that younger age, depression, and other risk factors should be considered before recommending cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain.
The Journal of Addictive Diseases has more.