Can Cannabinoids Help People Wean Off Opioids?

Can Cannabinoids Help People Wean Off Opioids?

Doctors desperately need tools to combat the opioid epidemic and are turning to cannabinoids as a new way to approach the problem of opioid use disorder (OUD). Recently, researchers aimed to create an open-access framework designed to help people wean themselves off opioids and ultimately replace them with cannabinoids.

Last August, study Provided a clinical framework for cannabinoids in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The study is titled “Have we answered the call for help?'' A Clinical Framework for Cannabinoids for the Opioid Epidemic” harm reduction journal.

Researchers provided an evidence-based clinical framework for utilizing cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic pain patients who are dependent on opioids, seeking alternative medications, and tapering off opioids.

“Based on a comprehensive review of the literature and epidemiological evidence to date, cannabinoids are one of the most interesting, safe, and accessible tools available to alleviate the devastation resulting from the misuse and abuse of opioid narcotics. “This is likely to be the case,” the researchers wrote. “Given the urgency of the opioid epidemic and expanding access to cannabinoids in the absence of prescribing guidelines, the authors recommend using this clinical framework from both a clinical research continuity and patient care perspective. We recommend it.”

Recent studies have shown a role for CBD in treating cannabis use disorder, and similarly, this compound may be useful in treating OUD. Researchers are also investigating the possibility of THC and acidic cannabinoids. Cannabis is anecdotally known to be helpful in treating mild to moderate pain, even though it works very differently than opiates.

The open access framework includes recommendations for opioid tapering consistent with the CDC's current clinical practice guidelines for the management of opioids for pain.

“As opioid deaths continue to be a global problem, researchers are struggling to standardize protocols and health care providers are nervous about recommending cannabinoids in the absence of prescribing guidelines. “Increasingly, patients self-medicate with cannabis,” the researchers wrote. “Thinking of cannabis as a harm reduction tool that patients are already using without medical guidance provides a clinical framework to standardize research and more beneficially recommend cannabinoids as safe, effective, and accessible support tools.” The work could realign the focus to supporting researchers and health care providers in the management of chronic pain. To our knowledge, this is one of the first evidence-based, peer-reviewed, comprehensive clinical frameworks for the safe use of cannabinoid products for chronic pain and OUD. ”

The researchers found that many of their patients had already begun self-directed efforts to manage their pain with cannabinoids.

The devastating effects of opioid overdose

Opioids continue to take their toll on Americans, confusion has arisen over who needs strong opioids and who doesn't, and overdose deaths continue to ravage at a steady pace.

by National Center for Health Statistics According to the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths increased from 2019 to 2021, with more than 106,000 drug overdose deaths reported in 2021. Deaths from synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl but not methadone) continued their death march. 70,601 people died from overdose Fentanyl in particular kills 150 Americans a day.

Overprescription of opioids may be part of the problem. 2018 longitudinal analysis The opening of medical marijuana dispensaries led to a 14.4% decrease in all opioid prescriptions in the United States. Hydrocodone and morphine in particular, but also benzodiazepines, stimulants, and many other drugs known to be overprescribed and addictive.

In some states, opioid use disorder is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use. Researchers are still studying the effectiveness of cannabinoids in animal and human trials.

Research on cannabis and opioid abuse is mixed.

Opioid addiction is a complex phenomenon, and research results vary on whether cannabinoids are effective. One study concluded that “there is no evidence that cannabis reduces opioid abuse.”

According to a study published in American Journal of PsychiatryResearchers instead found “no evidence” that cannabis may not be an effective long-term strategy to reduce opioid abuse.

“There are claims that cannabis may reduce opioid use or help people with opioid use disorder stay in treatment. However, these studies investigated short-term effects and may not be effective in other settings. “It is important to note that our focus was on chronic pain treatment and pain management, not levels of opioid use,” said study lead author and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Jack Wilson. The Matilda Center for Mental Health and Drug Use Research at the University of Sydney in Australia said: statement.

“While our research shows that cannabis use remains common among this population, it may not be an effective long-term strategy to reduce opioid use.” he added.

Recent research shows significant potential for cannabis in the fight against the opioid epidemic that continues to grip the United States

David B.
author
David B. stands out as an exceptional cannabis writer, skillfully navigating the intricate world of cannabis culture and industry. His insightful and well-researched articles provide a nuanced perspective on various aspects, from the therapeutic benefits to the evolving legal landscape. David's writing reflects a deep understanding of the plant's history, its diverse strains, and the ever-changing dynamics within the cannabis community. What sets him apart is his ability to break down complex topics into digestible pieces, making the information accessible to both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers alike. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for the subject, David B. emerges as a reliable and engaging voice in the realm of cannabis literature.

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