THC Enhances Analgesic Effects of Opioids in Animal Model

LA JOLLA, CA — The administration of THC enhances the analgesic effects of oxycodone, according to preclinical data published in the journal Neuropharmacology.

A team of investigators at The Scripps Research Institute in California assessed the efficacy of THC and oxycodone in a group of female and male rats. Researchers reported that the co-administration of both substances produced greater pain-relieving effects than the administration of either substance alone.

They concluded, “Together these data demonstrate the additive effects of THC and oxycodone and suggest the potential use of THC to enhance therapeutic efficacy, and to reduce the abuse, of opioids.”

Clinical data published last year by Columbia University researchers similarly reported that the co-administration of inhaled cannabis and sub-therapeutic doses of oxycodone produces enhanced analgesic effects in human subjects. Authors stated that the results highlighted “the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis.”

In jurisdictions where marijuana is legally available, patients frequently acknowledge reducing their use of conventional medications, specifically opioids and benzodiazepines, after initiating cannabis therapy.

Full text of the study, “Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol attenuates oxycodone self-administration under extended access conditions,” appears in Neuropharmacology. Additional information is provided in the NORML fact-sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”

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