Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Marijuana may not help patients fighting opioid addiction

Frequent marijuana use may not help manage pain, depression and anxiety among patients in treatment for opioid addiction, finds a study. Patients in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction believe that using marijuana helps them with their pain and mood symptoms. However, the findings showed that using cannabis could be making it harder for patients to handle their symptoms, as opposed to making them feel better.

Representational Picture
Representational Picture

"For people who are using cannabis the most, they have a very strong relationship between pain and mood symptoms, and that's not necessarily the pattern you'd want to see," said Marian Wilson, from the Washington State University. "You would hope, if cannabis is helpful, the more they use it the fewer symptoms they would see," Wilson added. More cannabis use is associated with reduced self-efficacy in managing emotions, which makes it more harder for such people to manage their symptoms.

In fact, the relationship between pain and depression and anxiety increased with the frequency of marijuana use, the researchers said. For the research, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, the team involved 150 patients and found that nearly 67 per cent of the patients use marijuana regularly. "Some are admitting they use it just for recreation purposes, but a large number are saying they use it to help with pain, sleep, and their mood," Wilson said.

"We don't have evidence with this study that cannabis is helping with those issues," he stated. The study noted that opioid overdose rates have more than tripled in the past two decades and are now the second-leading cause of accidental death in the US. "The effectiveness of cannabis for relieving distressing symptoms remains mixed and requires further research," Wilson said.

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