Daily Cannabis Use Lowers Odds of Using Illicit Opioids for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Daily Cannabis Use Lowers Odds of Using Illicit Opioids for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Researchers interviewed more than 1,100 people at high risk of opioid overdose in Vancouver between 2014 and 2017 who reported both substance use and major or chronic pain. They found that daily cannabis use was associated with significantly lower odds of daily illicit opioid use, suggesting people are replacing opioids with cannabis to manage their pain.

“These findings, in combination with past research, again demonstrate that people are using cannabis to help manage many different conditions, including pain. And in some cases, they’re using cannabis in place of opioids,” says senior author Dr. M-J Milloy, a research scientist at University of British Columbia BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) and the Canopy Growth professor of cannabis science at UBC. “In the midst of an ongoing public health emergency caused by opioid overdose deaths, the results suggest that increasing access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes could help curb overdose risk associated with illicit opioid use.”

Results from a statistical model showed that people who used cannabis every day had nearly 50 percent lower odds of using illicit opioids every day compared to cannabis non-users, whereas people who reported occasional use of cannabis were neither more nor less likely than non-users to use illicit opioids on a daily basis.

Researchers further found that there may be an intentional therapeutic element associated with at least daily cannabis use. For instance, daily users were significantly more likely than occasional users to report a number of therapeutic uses of cannabis, including addressing pain, stress, nausea, mental health, and symptoms of HIV or side effects of HIV antiretroviral therapy, or improving sleep.

The findings suggest that some people who use drugs and who are experiencing pain might be using cannabis as an ad-hoc, self-directed strategy to reduce the frequency of opioid use.

“These findings point to a need to design formal clinical evaluations of cannabis-based strategies for pain management, opioid use disorder treatment supports, and wider harm reduction initiatives,” says Stephanie Lake, a PhD candidate at UBC’s school of population and public health, and the lead author of the study.

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Jeffrey Sampson

I used medical marijuana for years then illness forced me to relocate and my new PCP demanded I stop using it immediately that’s where that is when my pain levels spiraled out of control. I so would like to be able to use marijuana products that can be ate instead of smoked. What I do hate is reading where people are vaping instead of using much safer ways being vaping has already proven just how deadly it really is besides I have a terminal incurable lung disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which I never heard of this disease until I was diagnosed with it first your only diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis until a rheumotologist runs DNA and many other tests that finds out if it’s idiopathic which just means don’t know what caused it. So I am happy in that respect I do not smoke anymore or I would already be gone since the disease kills from 3 to 5 years for me it’s moving pretty fast so three years or less is what’s expected which means I have two yrs or less to go but I am okay with death actually have zero fear of it that alone is a gift as far as I am concerned. What bothers me is my doctor refuses to increase pain meds to give me some kind of comfort and if I use any marijuana products I don’t get anymore meds at all. So I am in a place that just sucks and angers me. What purpose does it serve to make a dying man or woman for that matter to live what life is left without any real comfort makes zero sense at least to me.
I strongly recommend marijuana products just don’t smoke or vape you will need to try different products from oils to brownies, cookies etc just remember it takes longer to work but it also lasts much longer. PROTECT YOUR LUNGS take my word for it when you suffocate daily for oxygen that is horrible and mucks beyond words not to mention it causes very severe headcase and pain in every ounce of my body! May you all be blessed always.
With love
Jeff Sampson

Many medical providers in the Charlotte area have commented publicly about patients using marijuana instead of opioids. Many Charlotte Suboxone Clinics have said they have seen the same thing.

Susan Domokos

Hi all…i just got my Ohio medical marijuana license and found a vape product that contains 2 parts thc and 1 part cbd…and i have been vaping for 10 days…and i am posting to let you know that it has changed my whole life ..for the better…it is freaking amazing…my pain meds have been reduced to 2-3 perx a day instead of 4….AND i have only had 1 day in bed verses 15 days in bed in sept and october…it is damn crazee…😁🙏😁💙😁


Addicts don’t manage any pain except their withdrawals. If I see one more ad touting marijuana as a pain killer for abandoned severe pain patients I will ACTIVELY resist such stupidity.


Many people are beginning to realize that most opioid dependence is actually caused by people using opioids to replace our body’s requirement for endocannabinoids. This is not the only ailment that is caused by Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED}.


Absolutely! Congress should keep moving forward & legalize on a Federal level. It needs to stop! The “opiate or marijuana” why not both?! It sure should not be nothing which it is coming too!!! It came to that for me Stage 4 cancer pulled from my pain meds the reason DEA raids, CDC guidelines!!! Only reason I didn’t take my life: marijuana & sadly I risk my freedom if caught!!! It is not right!!! The DEA knows this! It is better than nothing!

What seems to be missing from the UBC study is any quantitative validation of the data. The researchers discuss what users self-report as cannabis use and as use of illegal street drugs.

If this were a study about prescription drug use, where there’s a count of how many total pills were prescribed and the researchers can count how many pills the patient took, the study would be well founded. What the study does is self-report what users say they took, if they can remember correctly. And since illegal drugs are usually adulterated to make more profit for the drug dealer, it’s not clear what the users are using.

Is it possible that street drug users feel safer buying legal cannabis than buying illegal drugs that might be mixed with poison? Or are these users actually reporting successful pain control with cannabis?

Also missing from the analysis: Patients in British Columbia have Government-paid healthcare. Up until the US began exporting opiophobia, it was quite simple for patients to get LEGAL opioids there. Not discussing the use of legal, prescribed medication for pain, seems a glaring problem with the UBC study.

Since the study was funded by a major cannabis company, reasonably steps should have been taken to ensure that the results did not unfairly favor the sponsors’ products.

A chronic pain person should not have to consider taking illicit opioids in the first place. They should be given enough legal opioids for their pain or have the cannabis paid for. Nobody should have to suffer in pain when there is a way to prevent that pain. To do less is torturing that person and is cruel. As a chronic pain person who has no treatment I am tired of hearing the words ILLEGAL and ILLICIT. What can we do when we are left with no treatment? I was always under treated and then in March 2019 my small dose of pain medication was taken from me. I am trying to treat my pain with over the counter but it does not work.
I am so tired of suffering to fulfill somebody elses opinion of what is right or wrong. I want relief. I want to have my pain treated. So tired of being the whipping post because of the twisted and ignorent ideas of others.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

Having used Weed in my youth for a short time, I can say something about this I believe. Those who use marijuana daily stay stoned and mostly lay, or wonder around forgetting most everything. And when asked questions will say just about anything. “FINDING SAY” Millions have been forced into the use of marijuana and have found themselves in the streets looking for pain relief, which has cost many their lives. The truly only actual working pain medication has been taken away from people who go by the rules. Tapering and taking them off the only thing that gave them any kind of normal life has caused them to become criminals, according to the government and their one sided angle on what is right and wrong. Marijuana should never have been placed on schedule 1 nor should have been made ilegal. This I believe was done in the 1920’s and was pushed by church hypocrites. I am not against the true Church being I am part of it. In the time of the Prohibition thousands of decent people were then made criminals to make those in power appear to be right. People who use marijuana daily are actually not in control of their facilities and when they are asked questions could say about anything. It’s very sad that educated people have become like this, believing whatever is told them. Marijuana is most likely a help to some but everyone cannot or will not use it for many reasons. When the only pain relieving medication is systemically attacked and tried to be done away with our country is in deep trouble. Any time any society turns on the innocent, the sick and dying, their heroes who come home from war, that society is near it’s end. People, you may believe and practice whatever you desire but truth is truth and will never yield to change. Truth is progressive but never changes. Whereas lies change to suite the person or situation. I am determined to seek Jesus Christ and His truth. I will encourage all to do the same.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

Nothing again was said about the fact that most deaths are a direct cause of this fake opioid pain medication crisis. The streets both in Canada and here continue unabated. Marijuana cannot replace Methadone taken for chronic pain for more than 30 years! Seems that people are just caving into the media’s biased reporting, which are most times made up to line with those who writing. Soon this site will stop allowing comments such as mine. These things have been going on for years and the propaganda is always in the same line of those who desire power irrespective of the people who are being tortured because of their sickness. Any government which will sit back and allow this much suffering and dying to just happen is wicked and evil. My state’s governor lost his place because of his narrow mindedness. He in his first term basically sat and allowed the man who beat him to sue pharmaceutical companies and anyone else who didn’t agree with him. Justice has always come to those who think themselves above the law, but many people are working behind the scenes to bend our laws in favor of themselves. Any time people choose to hide, ignore and not care, the innocent suffer. People on both sides of this have forgotten the past and millions will pay dearly! Studies, surveys and polls, experiments continue to be, but many have found that just pretending that they took place is enough to deceive the ignorant and gullible. This continues and we the sick and dying pay the cost. Greed destroys those who practice it but people never learn. I could rattled on and on but I grow weary of this evil mess brought upon us to gain as much worldly wealth as possible. Sad that those who did this know that nothing much will happen to them by our sick government. Good evening everyone.


I thought everyone knew that. Pity you cant…

Rosalind Rivera

I am a chronic pain victim whose meds have been drastically lowered. I finally came to a point of either continuing my suffering or end it. I then thought of Cannabis after watching the Hidden Within 7 day series that provides medical opinion and proof that Cannabis works. For about 2 weeks now, I’ve been trying the different strains and varieties of Cannabis and am now, just this morning have come to a life-saving understanding and determination to use Cannabis for my pain and it does help, tremendously, each and every day.
My greatest concern is a urine test which my doctor does require every so often. I just don’t know when that is??


These are Addicts experiencing some kind of pain, possibly related to their addiction, NOT Pain Patients experiencing Chronic Pain, a distinction not emphasized strongly enough by reviewers of the study desperate to make it fit some narrative in curtailing the legitimate use of prescription opiods.


As I agree there are some people illicit drug users & chronic pain patients that may or have benefited from the use of cannabis but the problem then llies with lumping all chronic pain patients with having cannabis work for their pain. This is not true but when an article comes out about some study finding such as this then they want to take all opiods from pain patients & tell them to use cannabis. Cannabis #1 does not work for every chronic pain patient, whereas some chronic pain patient have been successfully on an opioid program for many years able to have some quality of life some even able to work, 2nd cannabis is a trial an error , no one can point you to a specific cannabis for the chronic pain patient so you have to spend more money than most patients have, as cannabis is expensive, to try to find something to work & then it may not work at all & we chronic pain patients are left with nothing to control our pain because a doctor or pain management will not take you back for treatment.


YES! This true! We need more studies and research! When I could use cannabis I took far less opioid medication and no muscle relaxers. Since it is not legal in my state and my Dr prescribing my meds says since its illegal I cant use it anymore.
Cannabis is much easier on the body overall that the medication in the long term. I speak from experience.