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Chronic Pain patients replace opioids with cannabis

More than two-thirds of patients with chronic pain prefer to use cannabis products rather than prescription opioids. 

 Chronic Pain patients replace opioids with cannabis

This emerges from a study among Canadians who are allowed to legally take cannabis as medicine. Nearly half of the patients suffering from headaches and migraines replace opioids with cannabis.


A study investigates the use of cannabis in pain patients

Scientists from the United States and Canada investigated the use of medical cannabis and prescription drugs. In particular, the group of pain patients who had to take opioids or other strong analgesics was envisaged. The group consisted of over 2,000 Canadian patients who were legally allowed to use cannabis as medicine. The study was published in Journal of Headache and Pain released.

Results of the study

Among patients with chronic pain, 73 percent reported using cannabis as a medicine instead of opioids. The pain patients who are specifically with headaches or migraine Cannabis was widely used as a substitute for other medicines: 43% of these were opioids, 39% antidepressants, 21% nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 8% triptans, and 8% anticonvulsants.

Cannabis can make opioids obsolete

“Most patients in the pain groups reported that prescription drugs have been replaced with medicinal cannabis, the most common being opiates / opioids,” write the authors of the study.

For them, the “opioid-saving effect” of cannabinoids is remarkable. The authors also point out that there is now much evidence that cannabis can help in the weaning of opioids and therefore a means to combat the disease Opioid epidemic could be.

The results of the study are in line with many others who noted that patients in medical cannabis programs reduce or eventually eliminate the use of opioid analgesics (analgesics) by replacing opioids with cannabis over the long term.

What are opioids?

Opioids are a collective term for natural, derived from the opium, or synthetically produced drugs with pain-relieving properties. The effect is due to binding to endogenous opioid receptors. Opioids are highly potent agents that must be used with caution. An overdose is life-threatening. Opioids can be abused as an intoxicant and lead to dependence.

Opioid crisis in the US

The US is currently suffering from a deadliest opioid crisis. In the under-50s age group, drugs are now the leading cause of death – even before traffic accidents and armed violence. The reason is that opioids have been prescribed in the US in recent years very often – and sometimes recklessly. Stricter prescription policies alone can not solve the problem now. Many opioid-dependent people have already switched to heroin. The substance is cheaper, more potent and in many cases also more readily available as a prescription painkiller.


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