Study: Subjects Report that Cannabis Mitigates Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Baltimore, MD: Cannabis use is associated with subjective improvements in opioid withdrawal symptoms and opioid withdrawal severity, according to survey data published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Investigators affiliated with the John Hopkins University School of Medicine assessed the impact of cannabis use on symptoms of opioid withdrawal in a cohort of 200 subjects. Participants in the survey acknowledged having recently used cannabis and also having experienced symptoms of opioid withdrawal over the previous 30 days. Researchers reported that the majority of subjects reported "clinically meaningful" improvements from cannabis, particularly with respect to improved sleep and reduced anxiety.

They concluded: "Across all symptoms, more participants indicated that opioid withdrawal symptoms improved with cannabis relative to those who indicated that cannabis worsened a symptom. On average, withdrawal severity scores nearly doubled on days cannabis was not used. Commonly improved symptoms included anxiety, trouble sleeping, and bone/muscle aches."

"... These results show that cannabis may improve opioid withdrawal symptoms and that the size of the effect is clinically meaningful. ... Prospectively designed studies examining the impact of cannabis and cannabinoids on opioid withdrawal are warranted." Full text of the study, "The impact of naturalistic cannabis use on self-reported opioid withdrawal," appears in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Additional information is available in the NORML fact-sheet, "The Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids."

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