Cannabis and the opioid crisis – a thoughtful look into the science behind how cannabis can help reduce use and overdose via the “Substitution Effect” as seen through the POV of those working with drug abuse and dependence…

We’ve waded through a lot of unpleasant realities in this, our longest series focusing on a single topic, so we thought we’d wrap up on a more optimistic note about what CAN be done if people open their eyes and we start deploying the tools that are available (including cannabis and many others), but which are being very underused even as counter-productive forces keep the crisis bubbling.

So a fresh set of approaches is a heavy lift, but it can be done….

This article comes from the Harm Reduction field, where medical cannabis is seen as ‘Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes’ (CTP)

From the introduction:

“North America is currently in the grips of a crisis rooted in the use of licit and illicit opioid-based analgesics.

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Canada and the US, and the growing toll of opioid-related morbidity and mortality requires a diversity of novel therapeutic and harm reduction-based interventions.

Research suggests that increasing access to both medical and recreational cannabis has significant positive impacts on public health and safety as a result of substitution effect.

Observational and epidemiological studies [see article] have found that medical cannabis programs are associated with a reduction in the use of opioids and associated morbidity and mortality.

This paper presents an evidence-based rationale for cannabis-based interventions in the opioid overdose crisis informed by research on substitution effect, proposing three important windows of opportunity for ‘Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes’ (CTP) to play a role in reducing opioid use and interrupting the cycle towards opioid use disorder:

1) prior to opioid introduction in the treatment of chronic pain;
2) as an opioid reduction strategy for those patients already using opioids; and
3) as an adjunct therapy to methadone or suboxone treatment to increase treatment success rates.

The commentary explores potential obstacles and limitations to these proposals, and as well as strategies to monitor their impact on public health…”

This scientific paper is long, but quite accessible. Highly recommended… ….and again, if anyone can name another way known to be highly likely to inexpensively and relatively quickly, cut Utah’s opioid incidents by up to 25% or more, step up and let us know….

#MMJ #Opioids #HarmReduction #SubstitutionEffect #USpo #UTpoll #TRUCE    

See full article – Rationale for cannabis-based interventions in the opioid overdose crisis