Cannabis does NOT help people quit opioids despite the hope that the legalization of this drug will reduce the US dependency crisis
- Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario analyzed six other studies
- They found no evidence that marijuana could help people with addiction programs
- Researchers hoped that legalization would reduce prescriptions for painkillers in the US
According to the researchers, marijuana is not effective in helping people release strong opioids.
Proponents of marijuana say that the drug can reduce people's addiction to addictive painkillers and even help addicts regain their health.
Researchers say opioid prescriptions have fallen in states where cannabis has been legalized, suggesting that it's an equally good painkiller.
But research has now undermined the unconfirmed claims, and experts say there is no evidence of marijuana use, which reduces the likelihood of opioid use.
Using marijuana during the methadone withdrawal program did not increase one's chances of success and did not reduce the number of opioid users, according to research (image)
"There is limited evidence that cannabis use can reduce the use of opioids to treat pain," said Dr. Zainab Samaan of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
"And some high-profile organizations have suggested that marijuana is the" starting drug "for illegal opioid use.
"But we didn't find any evidence to suggest that marijuana helps patients with opioid disorders stop using opioids."
Opioids include drugs such as heroin, morphine, tramadol, codeine, oxycodone and fentanyl.
OPIOIDS IN AMERICA: BY NUMBER
Opioid prescriptions are falling across the United States, but overdoses are not.
Last year, the death rate due to opioid overdose was record high, and about 200 Americans die each day, according to new data released by the DEA in July.
US Health Secretary Alex Azar points out that the tide has changed this year.
However, doctors warn that the prescription boom has flooded the market with unused tablets, some of which may have hit the black market.
In-depth analysis of data on drug overdose in the US in 2016. Shows that the epidemic of overdose in America is spreading geographically and is increasing among demographic groups.
In 2016, drug overdose killed 63,632 Americans.
Almost two-thirds of these deaths concerned a prescription or illegal opioid. The number of overdose deaths has increased in all categories of drugs studied in women and men, people aged 15 and older, all races and ethnic groups, and at all levels of urbanization.
Orange County Health Agency said 88 percent of deaths related to drug overdose were reported in 2000–2015.
Half of these deaths were caused by accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Seven out of every 10 deaths from overdose in 2011-2015 were in opioids.
Source: CDC, Orange County Health Agency
They are one of the strongest painkillers in the world, and the US is currently in a crisis of addiction to prescription drugs, with millions addicted to them.
Research has suggested that legalizing marijuana would reduce the number of opioid prescriptions and reduce addiction.
For example, a study published in the journal Internal Medicine showed that the number of opioid prescriptions filled in the Medicare D part fell by 2.21 million doses per year in states where medical marijuana is available.
But Dr. Samaan and her colleagues analyzed six studies involving over 3,600 people looking at the effects of cannabis use during methadone maintenance therapy and found that this applies to different groups of people.
Methadone has a similar effect to heroin but is weaker and is used to help you become addicted to a stronger drug without such extreme withdrawal symptoms.
In their review, the team stated that people using marijuana during withdrawal treatment did not use fewer opioids.
It also didn't make them more likely to extend treatment until the end.
The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
It follows a study published by Columbia University in the summer that looked at the results of a survey conducted by approximately 70,000 Americans.
The data showed that people who started using marijuana after it was legalized were not usually the same people who abused opioid drugs.
Dr. Silvia Martins, a Columbia epidemiologist, said: "The hypothesis generated from this research is that, after the marijuana law was implemented, healthcare professionals would more often prescribe medical marijuana instead of opioid drugs, which in turn would limit the possibility of inappropriate using prescription opioids and causing consequences.
"We have tested this compound and found no evidence that the introduction of marijuana regulations – even in medical clinics – has been associated with a decrease in individual prescription opioid use for non-medical purposes."