Substitution Of Medical Cannabis For Pharmaceutical Agents For Pain, Anxiety, And Sleep

 

Abstract

A prior epidemiological study identified a reduction in opioid overdose deaths in US states that legalized medical cannabis (MC). One theory to explain this phenomenon is a potential substitution effect of MC for opioids. This study evaluated whether this substitution effect of MC for opioids also applies to other psychoactive medications.



New England dispensary members ( n = 1,513) completed an online survey about their medical history and MC experiences. Among respondents that regularly used opioids, over three-quarters (76.7%) indicated that they reduced their use since they started MC.

This was significantly ( p < 0.0001) greater than the patients that reduced their use of antidepressants (37.6%) or alcohol (42.0%). Approximately two-thirds of patients decreased their use of anti-anxiety (71.8%), migraine (66.7%), and sleep (65.2%) medications following MC which significantly ( p < 0.0001) exceeded the reduction in antidepressants or alcohol use.

The patient's spouse, family, and other friends were more likely to know about their MC use than was their primary care provider. In conclusion, a majority of patients reported using less opioids as well as fewer medications to treat anxiety, migraines, and sleep after initiating MC. A smaller portion used less antidepressants or alcohol. Additional research is needed to corroborate these self-reported, retrospective, cross-sectional findings using other data sources.

 

 Key Findings

Approximately two-thirds of patients decreased their use of anti-anxiety (71.8%), migraine (66.7%), and sleep (65.2%) medications following medical cannabis. In conclusion, a majority of patients reported using less opioids as well as fewer medications to treat anxiety, migraines, and sleep after initiating medical cannabis. A smaller portion used less antidepressants or alcohol.

Information and Links


Link: Substitution Of Medical Cannabis For Pharmaceutical Agents For Pain, Anxiety, And Sleep
Year: 2017
DOI: 10.1177/0269881117699616

Ratings

(How Ratings Work)

Drugs Used

Cannabis

Pain (Chronic Non-Malignant) — 3


Likely probability of the efficacy of cannabis for treatment of Pain (Chronic Non-Malignant) according to the results found in this study.

Insomnia — 3


Likely probability of the efficacy of cannabis for treatment of Insomnia according to the results found in this study.

Anxiety — 3


Likely probability of the efficacy of cannabis for treatment of Anxiety according to the results found in this study.



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