Combination Of Medical Marijuana, Opioids Does Not Increase Substance Abuse Risk, Study Finds

With nearly half of the country having already legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes, physicians prescribing opioids for pain management have another alternative at their disposal. As medical marijuana laws become more relaxed, practitioners now have the option of treating chronic pain patients with prescription opioids, medical cannabis or both. Among many, however, there’s a concern about the adverse effects in patients using both.

A new study in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, a peer-review scientific journal focusing on substance-related issues, found that using medical marijuana along with prescribed opioids does not increase the likelihood of a patient abusing alcohol or other drugs. Researchers examined the data from 273 patients already receiving medical marijuana at a clinic in Michigan.

Taking the total number of study participants into account, more than 60% had admitted to using a combination of both medical marijuana and prescription opioids within the past month. The rate of co-occurring substance use between those who took prescription pain medication while using cannabis for medical purposes and those did not were similar — there were no significant differences, the report found.

Interestingly enough, subjects did report higher rates of alcohol and other drug use than the general population. There was no difference, however, between medical marijuana users who ingested prescription opioids and those participants who did not.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.