ST. LOUIS, MO — The intermittent use of cannabis can play a positive role in opioid-dependent subjects undergoing treatment, according to a review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis assessed data evaluating the relationship between the use of cannabis and opioids.
They reported, “Adjunct cannabis use alongside current treatment strategies could help to improve the number of individuals engaging in OUD (opioid use disorder) treatment, as well as increase treatment retention rates.”
Specifically, authors acknowledged that the use of CBD is associated with reduced opioids cravings and relapse, and that cannabis acts synergistically with opioids to provide analgesic benefit at sub-therapeutic doses. Authors also suggested that “cannabis may be an efficacious tool” in the treatment of symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.
They concluded: “The opioid overdose epidemic is arguably the worst public health crisis in U.S. history. … A continental crisis of this magnitude warrants the immediate implementation of novel strategies that prevent opioid misuse, overdose, and death. Growing pre-clinical and clinical evidence appears to support the use of cannabis for these purposes. The evidence summarized in this article demonstrates the potential cannabis has to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduce opioid consumption, ameliorate opioid cravings, prevent opioid relapse, improve OUD treatment retention, and reduce overdose deaths.”
Separate clinical data published online last week in the journal Addiction reported that daily cannabis users undergoing therapy for opioid dependence are far more likely to complete their treatment regimen than are non-users
Full text of the study, “Emerging evidence for cannabis’ role in opioid use disorder,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship between marijuana and opioids,” is online.