Cannabis Preferred Over Opioids When Treating Many Conditions

Cannabis Preferred Over Opioids When Treating Many Conditions

By Staff

If you take opioids to treat chronic pain, mental health issues or gastrointestinal issues, you’d probably prefer to use cannabis instead of your opioids, at least that is what new research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy says.

“This study is one of the first to track medical cannabis use under the new system of licensed producers, meaning that all participants had physician authorization to access cannabis in addition to their prescription medicines,” says University of British Columbia Assoc. Prof. Zach Walsh, co-author of the study.

The study, which was conducted by the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria, tracked more than 250 patients who were prescribed medical cannabis for treating conditions including as chronic pain, mental health and gastrointestinal issues.  Overall, 63% of study participants said they prefer using cannabis compared to their prescription drugs, which included opioids (to treat pain), benzodiazepines (sedatives) and anti-depressants.

Study lead Philippe Lucas is vice-president of Patient Research and Access at Tilray, a federally authorized medical cannabis production and research company, and the source of funding for the study.  Lucas is also a graduate fellow at the University of Victoria Centre for Addictions Research of BC.  He suggests the main reasons for the switch to cannabis from prescribed meds is due to reduced side effects, better symptom management and a feeling that cannabis is safer than prescription drugs.

Walsh added that cannabis may have an important role to play in addressing the problematic use of pharmaceutical medications such as opioids.

In 2001, Canada became one of the first nations to develop a program to allow access to cannabis for medical purposes.  As of August 2016, more than 30 federally authorized licensed producers of cannabis provided product to more than 65,000 patients.

“Further research into how well cannabis works compared to the accepted front-line treatments is warranted,” says Walsh.  “Additionally, long-term research into the potential impact of the cannabis substitution on the quality of patient’s lives is ongoing.”

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Sandy Auriene Sullivan

Kim, “Would be good if there were a class or tutor to help people who are new to MM for real medical reasons. (The people at the dispensories knew much more about how to get high than how to reduce pain.)”

I would be happy to try to explain it at some point. Right now in Florida the right is available but access still limited and they have until September to get it right.

It helps significantly in concentrated - vaporized form and/or the capsules that they have currently which are made of coconut infused MMJ.

They list what the product is made of; cbd/thc-sativa or cbd/thc-indica. For most of us the latter; THC-INDICA is going to give you the best relief for pain depending on the cause.

If you google indica and pain you will understand. Sativa too often creates too much anxiety in me and others with anxiety disorders. It varies on strains used. They do name them and you can google those too.

CBD helps with appetite. Not much for pain.

Sandy Auriene Sullivan

Sandra G, are you in Florida?

The offerings currently that worked the best for me was the Indica vaporizer. [inhale vapor, several other ways to take indica - which is better on pain and anxiety than sativa. Sativa can increase anxiety while indica truly relaxes. And I have PTSD - non-combat though one could say ‘domestic combat related’]

Nevertheless, it wasn’t that evening that made me feel better - it was how I felt the following *morning* that made me realize the ‘concentrates’ in coconut oil or vaporized form at the 6 approved so far dispensaries in the state of Florida; could be life changing for me.

However, I would have to leave Florida to have cheaper access as I would need large quantities to switch from opiates to MMJ concentrates *only* and I never believed MMJ only could allow me to see an opiate free day in my future. It does. I hope it does for you too.

Concentrates over the ‘buds’ provides significant relief for those of us in chronic pain. My list of ailments is long, I qualify for it based on some of those alone [hitting more than one allowable reason for a prescription] My pain specialist is also my primary care. He’s researching and I told him of the affect my one time experience had on me. Made me weep. That there’s real relief available and that cost is so high I might not be able to use it within my state. 🙁

Sandra Gurrola

I am so sorry for everyones pain. I am in a lot of pain and have applied to my States mmj program, right now just waiting to hear if I can get it. I am hoping that it might help, my pain is mostly coccyx and leg pain from some bad lower back discs. The pain is constant. I would love to hear from anyone with a positive mmj result, as it’s very expensive and would hate to pay and it doesn’t work.


Are there any studies on CBD and MS


I have read in several articles that the powers that be will regulate marijuana dosages. I think one article stated that they are trying just that in Colorado. Please don’t quote me on that as I may be remembering incorrectly.


I think the key is giving people in pain a choice in their care. Not all things work for all people. MM was very good to help me sleep, but I had prohibitive rebound pain the next day. Some say if i take it daily for a couple weeks, the rebound pain may diminish. Dosing wish edibles was difficult to gauge accurately and smoking is said to be far less beneficial for pain. Would be good if there were a class or tutor to help people who are new to MM for real medical reasons. (The people at the dispensories knew much more about how to get high than how to reduce pain.)

Ibin Duped

I am currently “trying” CBD oil. No THC in the oil extract. It is hemp oil, not a “marijuana” plant product. Why CBD Oil? Because the CDC has MADE my pain care physician reduce my dosage of opioid medication by 80%……. daily. Stable, prescribed the same dosage for 5 years now. I use no other medication other than the primary opioid medication. I……personally have NOT redistributed MY medication. I have NOT varied from my daily dosage of pain control medication. I have NOT broken ANY law governing the use of opioid medication for severe, continuous, uncontrolled pain. So, I will try ANY other legal “medication” for chronic pain. CBD Oil is legal but, it is not FDA approved. Thus the quality control of CBD Oil is non existent. The CDC has FORCED good people to use CBD Oil and Kratom which again is not FDA approved. As bad a decision as the CDC has made with the new “guideline” , the CDC and FDA are comprised of intelligent, educated, Americans attempting to make life in America as healthy as possible. Just one misguided solution to a “problem” does not disqualify these agencies from being an absolute necessity. I am NOT “knocking” the use of Kratom or CBD oil. Online testimony from those using CBD oil and kratom seems to be by an overwhelming margin, helping, those in severe, continuous, uncontrolled pain. I have tried both and, for me, neither fill the void of an 80% reduction of the opioid medication that has helped me remain employed for the last 20 years. BIG life change for many 100’s of thousands of people. Maybe millions of Americans. I can not smoke or use a marijuana product, it is not legal in my state. Would I try a marijuana product to relieve the pain? You better believe I would. I can NOT and WILL not say anything against the use of marijuana or a pot product if it helps with an individuals out of control pain. I can NOT condemn any human being in their effort to control chronic pain. We, the chronic pain afflicted UNDERSTAND what severe, continuous, uncontrolled pain does to the psyche, to the routine of a “normal”life. Our governing agencies know what chronic pain does to good people, they just don’t care. Once again, it is NOT the responsible majority of the opioid prescribed chronic pain patients that are “re-distributing” their medication!!!!!!!!!!! Again, the governing agency DOES NOT CARE. I must admit, I love my country, I love democracy, I love my fellow man. The CDC “guideline” is being shoved down good, responsible, law abiding, Americans throats. Those “few”, on the board, that do NOT have to exist in severe, continuous, uncontrolled pain know what we the pain afflicted need or in the “guideline” matter, what we do not need? Hypocrisy at its finest. I believe that all non cancer chronic pain patients would do their personal part to curb any mortality with the irresponsible use of opioid medication… Read more »

Candice Hawkins

Moira Catherine Claire…..I’m so sorry that you are in so much pain.
There is a name for the nerve disorder you have in your genitalia and it’s hard to treat since women’s issues that declared those symptoms was not recognizable by Gynecological MDs.
Some doctors still don’t even know what Vulvodynia is and treatment is palliative at best.
I’ve suffered for 20 years and had to stop all exercise and hobbies, horses, due to increasing pain. It runs along the same line as Fibromyalgia but due to it being an area that is easily irritated from sitting, walking, swimming and even washing it becomes a disorder that can ruin your life. If you can Google or do a search on your Internet for this disorder it may clear things up for you. I would definitely show your primary care MD or gynecologist the info you found so if they do not know about it they can l earn and try to help you.
Again. I’m so sorry that pain has caused you so much grief and hope you can find resolution to your problem.


My husband has had great success with cannabis however I have not and there are major drawbacks. My husband had to choose between opioids or cannabis as the overbearing pain contracts still consider cannabis illicit drug use. As for work he cannot be found using marihuana but a note from his doctor is fine for pain meds. For me cannabis was not something doable daily. Too much anxiety and fuzzy head which I do not get using opioids for my pain care. It’s so strange to have proven opioid pain medication become the villain and illegal drugs like marihuana to become doctors choice. Just bizarre.

Hi Moira,
I apologize for the delay. All comments are reviewed by our staff, prior to approval - so it may take a few hours before you see it posted. No one on staff can has experience similar to your request regarding your specific personal issues, but perhaps other readers my have similar experiences can offer their input.
Thank you for your readership and your comments.


I agree with everything said here. Yes Cannabis is a viable replacement for several conditions. But, just like with many medications out there some people have negitive reactions to it. Like with me, I have tried Medical Marijuana on a few occasions with very negitive results every time. Hives, itching and severe nausea each time.
Then we have the FACT that Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration are going to go after Marijuana again and as long as it is kept as a Schedule 1 narcotic, proper and extensive research in the US will be almost impossible. Real research would be able to separate out the helpful compounds and find others that may have adverse effects on people like myself. Unfortunately cannabis is still on the money making list for the DEA and DOJ, and this administration is all about the money so rescheduling probably won’t happen. Then we have the problem of individual States refusing to even get on the medical marijuana band wagon. Some states have legalized it but have not setup prescribing guidelines and if you aren’t prescribed it and use it, you will fail drug tests and lose your pain management.
So, while all studies on medical marijuana are great and helpful for some medical professionals and patients, the scrutiny is still there in several other states and the federal government.

Moira Catherine Clare

I have severe Fibramylgia but the worst is I have chronic nerve pain from the entire part of my body waist downto the souls of my feet, all body parts and the worst is nerve pain affecting genital and anal area. I do not understand what is written on the right hand side of this emaile. I live in Australia.
Please respond addressing my personal issues.
If it costs money do not bother but at least have the courtesy to respond to me.


I’d love to. But I’m so sck and tired of trying to get into Minnesota s restrictive program. We had a cihance to use whole plant but of course it got shot down. And the people that advocated asked the program very very good reason and reasoning.Im not going to use unaffordable oils and tincture, (its not happening. I dont doubt law enforcement stuck thier ugly head inbetween patients and the mmj program same as they did when rules were being drawn up.
So sad and sick of being in this state with no access. It makes me want to scream and cry. What ever happened to the patient. And to top it off .Rthe mn mmj program had the guys to ask the state for more money. If we had whole plant the money problems would be long gone.


While I am very happy to see this study and would like to see more like it we, once again,see a study where the people doing the study are the ones who will make the money off of the results. How can we be certain that the results aren’t skewed? I tend to agree with the results

M Cathy Vadneu

I was on 125mg fentanyl patch a year ago. I got myself off the patch and on MM and take a 25 mg piece of candy at bedtime only. I have my life back. But the biggest Improvement is I have my sleep back. I suffer from failed back surgery after my fourth Fusion and have been diagnosed with arachnoiditis. I have a pacemaker because my body could handle the stress of the pain anymore which is why I had to go on opiates to begin with. I’m happy and my heart is happy period thank you New Mexico for providing his final service.