Study Suggests that Cannabis Access Reduces Opioid Demand Among Pain Patients

Baltimore, MD: Access to cannabis reduces pain patients’ perceived demand for opioids, according to data published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

A team of investigators affiliated with the John Hopkins School of Medicine assessed whether or not cannabis availability would hypothetically influence pain patients’ demand for prescription opioids. One hundred and fifty-five subjects with recent experience using both opioids and cannabis for pain management participated in the survey.

Authors reported, “[O]ur demand analyses suggests the availability of cannabis decreased opioid consumption (intensity) and increased the degree to which opioid consumption was influenced by opioid price (elasticity).”

They concluded, “These results suggest cannabis may confer an opioid-sparing effect in this population.”

The authors findings are consistent with those of several other studies reporting that pain patients typically mitigate their use of prescription opioids after initiating medical cannabis therapy.

Full text of the study, “Evaluating the co-use of opioids and cannabis for pain among current users using hypothetical purchase tasks,” appears in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Additional information is available in the NORML fact-sheet, ‘Relationship Between marijuana and opioids.’