People who used marijuana every day were half as likely to use illicit opioids compared to those who didn’t use cannabis, according to a new study in PLOS Medicine.
However, people who used marijuana only occasionally saw no reduction in opioid use.
Many people suffering with chronic pain use illicit opioids such as non-prescribed painkillers and heroin. There’s also evidence that some chronic pain patients opt for cannabis over opioids.
This study looked at more than 1,000 Canadians with chronic pain who reported using illicit drugs. Individuals who used cannabis daily reported doing so for therapeutic purposes, including treating pain, easing nausea and promoting sleep.
The study is part of a growing body of research showing cannabis can help manage pain and reduce opioid use In the context of the current opioid crisis, frequent use of cannabis among opioid users may play an important role in reducing their opioid use, the study authors said.