According to a press release from the organization, “researchers have never studied—in any population—if the use of medical marijuana over time reduces the use of opioids. Additionally, there are no studies on how the specific chemical compounds of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), affect health outcomes, like pain, function, and quality of life. Most studies that have reported negative effects of long-term marijuana use have focused on illicit, rather than medical, marijuana.”
“As state and federal governments grapple with the complex issues surrounding opioids and medical marijuana, we hope to provide evidence-based recommendations that will help shape responsible and effective healthcare practices and public policies,” Dr. Cunningham said.
The study will include 250 HIV-positive and HIV-negative adults with use opioids to manage chronic and who have received certification from their physicians to use medical marijuana. The medical marijuana will be dispensed through approved dispensaries in New York State. Over the course of 18 months, study subjects will complete online questionnaires every two weeks. The questionnaires focus on pain levels and the medical and illicit use of marijuana and opioids. They will also give urine and blood samples at in-person research visits every three months. In-depth interviews with a select group of these participants will explore their perceptions of how medical marijuana use affects the use of opioids.
The grant is titled “Does medical cannabis reduce opioid analgesics in HIV+ and HIV- adults with pain?” (1R01DA044171-01A1)