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

How to solve a problem like what play to put on at D.W. Poppy

Langley School performs The Sound of Music, Feb. 26 to 29

Fort Gallery features three budding Langley Fine Arts musicians at fourth Friday event

Trio made up of youths Sam Meyer, Tiffany Pai, and Cindy Zhang will perform on Feb. 28

“Better nudes” artist asks for better gallery space in Langley

Susan Falk is presenting her art work at Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery in White Rock, March 4 to 28

Langley theatre director aims to show ‘people are all closer than what we perceive’

Canadian premiere of Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women runs March 12 to 21 at Firehall Arts Centre

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Most Read