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Study shows CBD dominant cannabis consumption may reduce opioid use

35.6 per cent reported being able to stop their opioid prescription after medical cannabis



Opioids: A row of pastel coloured tablets

Study reports that CBD-dominant cannabis may be associated with a reduction in opioid prescription use in adults

A study on CBD-dominant cannabis and prescription opioid use involved almost 10,000 patients aged 65 or older. All of the participants held a prescription for medical cannabis from Canadian doctors and their consumption was monitored over a six-year period.

The participants were prescribed either cannabis flower or oil extracts.  The majority chose extracts that had a high percentage of CBD.  They were then given a questionnaire to describe their use, dosage, method of consumption and the efficacy of the medication.

The most common reason that medical cannabis was used was for pain (67.7 per cent) which was more prevalent in women. The researchers noted that oncological and neurological conditions were more common in men.  Some participants reported side effects of dry mouth, drowsiness and dizziness but the majority reported improvements.

Prescription opioid reduction

Researchers reported that between 20 per cent and one-third of older adults who use CBD-dominant cannabis for medical reasons were able to reduce their use of prescription opioids or benzodiazepines.

Participants reported improvements in pain (72.7 per cent), sleep (64.5 per cent) and mood. Some participants (35.6 per cent) were able to reduce their dose of opioids and 19.9 per cent reduced their dose of benzodiazepines.

The authors wrote: “Among older adults, medical cannabis is used more often by women, with CBD-containing cannabis oils being the most commonly used. Users reported improved pain, sleep, and mood symptoms at follow-up after cannabis use.”

“This study describes the patterns of use of medical cannabis by older adults and highlights the need for research to determine appropriate indications, precise doses of active ingredients, and short- and long-term outcomes among older adults.”

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