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Cannabis relieves opioid withdrawal symptoms – study

Cannabis could help to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms in three out of four patients, a US study suggests.



Researchers at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore found that nearly three quarters of respondents found cannabis useful in easing their withdrawal from opioids.

They asked participants whether their symptoms of opioid withdrawal improved or worsened when they consumed cannabis.

Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of the 125 respondents said it eased their symptoms.

While 6.4 per cent said it made them worse, 20 per cent reported mixed results.

The researchers would now like to see clinical trials on the back of their findings.

Using cannabis medicine as a direct treatment for opioid use disorder – rather than as a replacement for opioid-based medicines – is not new and is permitted in some US states.

Meanwhile, in 2018, the Canadian Mental Health Authority cited cannabis medicine in its policy paper Care not Corrections: Relieving the Opioid Crisis in Canada.

One of its recommendations was to “explore promising new research on cannabis as an alternative form of treatment to substitute opioids for pain management, to manage withdrawal symptoms, and/or treat substance use problems.”


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