Meta-study shows reduced opioid use with cannabis

Published Aug 6, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / BackyardProduction

Are we saying inequitably that cannabis, THC oil, can be the needed bridge to stop opioid use from destroying many people today? Let's hope so, but is there enough documented research to support that theory? Presently we fall short on conclusive evidence to say that this statement is true. However, a new scientific meta-analysis may be on the green road to proving that cannabis could be the viable means of reducing the opioid use that is creeping its way across the country and destroying many lives.

Long and short term challenges

Advocates have been walking the green path to the legalization of cannabis and its use for treating health concerns such as chronic pain as an alternative to using narcotics. The opioid overdose crisis is one of the most significant public health challenges facing society today.

A study was conducted to evaluate the long and short term effects of cannabis for pain, quality of life, and tolerability over one year. Medicinal cannabis use participants reported a decrease and improvement of pain tolerance and severity compared to the use of narcotics. For patients who reported using the opioid medication as a baseline, there were significant oral morphine reductions when cannabis was introduced to the regime.

When the oral morphine was taken together with medical cannabis, there was cumulative evidence that marijuana is a treatment that is a safe and effective option and a potential opioid replacement. The management of chronic pain and the symptomatology and quality of life was improved overall once cannabis was introduced to the equation.

Orthopedic views

Studies have observed the association between the legalization of state cannabis and prescribing the most common opioid from orthopedic surgeons. Overall participating orthopedic surgeons found out that there was a reduction in opioid use in the states that permitted patient access to medical cannabis compared to states that did not allow medical marijuana. Prescription of narcotics, commonly known as hydrocodone, was the most frequently prescribed medication reported.


A study conducted by John Hopkins School of Medicine was conducted, which included one hundred and fifty patients who used opioids and cannabis for pain management. The research suggests that those who used opioids and had the availability to use marijuana decreased their consumption of opioids.

The study further opened up the potential for patients living with cancer pain or following a palliative care program, as they too reduced their rate of opioid use. Cannabis was recognized as a viable source of pain measurement, nausea, and anxiety reduction. Using opioids for pain management can be reduced, and marijuana should be considered as a viable therapy for palliative care management.

The patients involved in the study who were admitted to the hospital with a traumatic injury were given the oral synthetic THC Dronabinol 55 hours after being exposed to the study. The cases where Dronabinol was administered saw a reduction in the amount of opioid consumption. The use of Dronabinol may be beneficial to nearly half of the population in Colorado.

Final thoughts

An online survey of medical cannabis users who live with chronic pain nationwide suggests that cannabis does affect both health and pain management. About 80% of those surveyed reported that they substituted cannabis for traditional medical treatment with great success. The study cited that the use of marijuana over narcotics had fewer side effects and better pain management overall.

Study finds no relationship between the use of cannabis and IQ


Related posts