Could cannabis help keep people in B.C. on treatment for opioid addiction?

People on opioid agonist treatment face lower risks of overdosing, BC Centre on Substance Use says

One month until marijuana becomes legal across the country, first-of-its-kind research is suggesting that daily use of cannabis could be a strong help in helping British Columbians stay on track with their addiction treatment.

Researchers with the BC Centre on Substance Use and the University of British Columbia interviewed 820 people undergoing opioid agonist treatment (OAT) over a 20-year period between December 1996 and March 2016.

According to the findings, released Thursday, those who said they used cannabis on a daily basis were 21 per cent more likely to still be in methadone or buprenorphine treatment at the six-month mark than non-cannabis users.

The latest findings add to an emerging body of evidence suggesting cannabis may have positive impacts on the health and well being of people who use other substances, especially opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl. The study comes at a time when an average of three people a day are dying of an opioid overdose each day across the province.

READ MORE: B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

READ MORE: Overdose deaths rise during income assistance week in July

“Untreated opioid use disorder is a key driver of the overdose crisis in B.C. and across North America,” said Dr. Eugenia Socias, research scientist at the centre and lead author of the study.

“With cannabis use common among people with opioid use disorder, these findings highlight the urgent need for clinical research to evaluate the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids as adjunctive treatment to OAT to address the escalating opioid overdose epidemic.”

People who stay on opioid agonist treatment face substantially lower risks of dying of an overdose or other causes compared to people who are out of treatment, according to the centre.

Previous research from the centre has also found that using cannabis every day can be linked to a lower risk of starting to inject drugs.

“The therapeutic benefits of cannabis are only just beginning to be understood,” said Dr. M-J Milloy, senior author and research scientist at the centre.

“This research suggests that cannabis could have a stabilizing impact for many patients on treatment, while also reducing the risk of overdose. Further examination of its therapeutic value and clinical application is clearly needed.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More affordable housing for seniors opens in Kelowna

Third and final building at the Apple Valley complex on Benvoulin Road opens

Truck smashes into multiple parked vehicles in Kelowna

The driver of a truck was taken to hospital with undetermined injuries

Kelowna writer of controversial Conservative Facebook post apologizes

Writer suggested Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan got his job because of affirmative action

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Kelowna close-up: A local cyclist is riding out of his ‘most successful year’

“When the team is good and the team can win a lot, that’s really rewarding.”

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Sunrise ceremony at B.C. legislature honours Louis Riel

Nov. 16 marks the 133th anniversary of the Métis leader’s death

California wildfire death toll hits 63

Sheriff says hundreds still missing in nation’s deadliest wildfire

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Trudeau to meet key Pacific trade partners at APEC leaders’ summit

Canada became one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP

Judge orders White House to return press pass to CNN’s Acosta

U.S. District Court Judge will decide on White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta

WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

Charges against Julian Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia co-ordinated with the Trump campaign

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Migrants streaming into Tijuana, but now face long stay

U.S. border inspectors are processing about 100 asylum claims a day at the main border crossing with San Diego

Most Read