Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. Apr-Jun 2012;44(2):125-33.
doi: 10.1080/02791072.2012.684624.

Cannabis as an Adjunct to or Substitute for Opiates in the Treatment of Chronic Pain

Affiliations
Review

Cannabis as an Adjunct to or Substitute for Opiates in the Treatment of Chronic Pain

Philippe Lucas. J Psychoactive Drugs. .

Abstract

There is a growing body of evidence to support the use of medical cannabis as an adjunct to or substitute for prescription opiates in the treatment of chronic pain. When used in conjunction with opiates, cannabinoids lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain, resulting in a reduction in the use of opiates (and associated side-effects) by patients in a clinical setting. Additionally, cannabinoids can prevent the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates, and can even rekindle opiate analgesia after a prior dosage has become ineffective. Novel research suggests that cannabis may be useful in the treatment of problematic substance use. These findings suggest that increasing safe access to medical cannabis may reduce the personal and social harms associated with addiction, particularly in relation to the growing problematic use of pharmaceutical opiates. Despite a lack of regulatory oversight by federal governments in North America, community-based medical cannabis dispensaries have proven successful at supplying patients with a safe source of cannabis within an environment conducive to healing, and may be reducing the problematic use of pharmaceutical opiates and other potentially harmful substances in their communities.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 18 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback