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Utilizing Cannabis and Opioids Together for Pain Relief

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

For patients with chronic pain the solution is often prescription opioids. This over prescription is what led to the current opioid crisis. Over 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose every day according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is these disturbing numbers and heartbreaking losses that have the medical and cannabis industries both working to discover whether an opioid/cannabinoid combination is a safe alternative to prioritizing and overprescribing opioids for pain relief.

A recent study done by the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky studied the natural endogenous opioid and cannabinoid receptor systems in the body which are widely distributed and co-localized throughout central and peripheral nervous systems. Previous studies have suggested that there is a relationship between these systems and this relationship could help in the medical field. Since animal studies have shown that THC enhances pain relief effects of opioid pain relievers because the opioid pain reliever is reduced after THC is administered, utilizing cannabinoids for opioid withdrawal has also been suggested. Unfortunately, emerging reports have conflicting results and more studies are necessary for definitive answers and application.


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