Canadian cannabis patients use less opioids and alcohol – study

Canadian cannabis patients use less opioids and alcohol – study
Cannabis Health News

Just under half of Canadian medical cannabis patients say the treatment has enabled them to reduce their use of other controlled substances.  According to new data, nearly one in two Canadian patients authorised to use medical cannabis say they have been able to reduce – or cease entirely – their consumption of other controlled substances, particularly opioids and alcohol. A team of researchers from Canada and the United States surveyed almost 3,000 Canadian patients enrolled in the nation’s federal medical marijuana programme, which began over two decades ago.  Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001, the country legalised the possession and retail sale of adult-use cannabis in 2018. In the research, which was published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, investigators reported that 47 per cent of respondents acknowledged substituting cannabis for other controlled substances.  Of those who said that they used cannabis in place of prescription medications, half acknowledged doing so for opioids – a finding that is consistent with other studies.  Many respondents also reported using cannabis to reduce their alcohol intake. However, the study highlighted the need for more open communication between patients and their doctors. Around one-third of respondents did not inform their primary care providers (PCP) that they were engaging in drug substitution. Authors concluded: “This study examined patient-provider communication patterns concerning cannabis use and substitution in Canada.  “Results suggest that patients often substitute cannabis for other medications without PCP guidance. The lack of integration between mainstream healthcare and medical cannabis could likely be improved through increased physician education and clinical experience. “Future studies should investigate strategies for effectively involving PCPs in patient care around medical cannabis with specific focus on substitution and harm reduction practices.” Commenting on the findings, NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentano, said: “Cannabis has established efficacy in the treatment…

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