Marijuana Use May Not Aid Patients Fighting Opioid Addiction

Many patients who are being treated for opioid addiction in a medication-helped treatment clinic utilize marijuana to help deal with their pain and mood symptoms.

In any case, new research led by Marian Wilson, Ph.D., of the Washington State University College of Nursing found that continuous marijuana utilize appears to strengthen the relationship amongst pain and depression and anxiety, not ease it.

Wilson said, “For individuals who are utilizing cannabis the most, they have a strong relationship amongst pain and mood symptoms, and that is not really the example you’d need to see. You would hope, if cannabis is useful, the more they utilize it the fewer symptoms they’d see.”

The research, recently published in the diary Addictive Behaviors, involved 150 patients being seen at an opioid treatment center. Previous studies have demonstrated that almost 66% of patients receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction likewise have chronic pain, and many experience depression and anxiety.

Around 67 percent of the clinic patients overviewed by Wilson and her team said they had utilized marijuana in the previous month.

Wilson said, “Some are admitting they utilize it only for recreation purposes; however a substantial number are stating they utilize it to help with pain, rest, and their mood. We don’t have evidence with this study that cannabis is assisting with those issues.”

In fact, the connection amongst pain and depression and anxiety increased with the frequency of marijuana utilize. In most cases, individuals reported they were self- medicating with marijuana, Wilson noted, yet just a small number had a medical marijuana card.

The study noticed that opioid overdose rates have dramatically multiplied in the past two decades and are presently the second- leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

For example, why opioid death rates are 25 percent lower in states that have legalized medical marijuana – however, the main purpose of Wilson’s study was to see whether cannabis utilize affects the relationship amongst pain and depression and anxiety.

Patients think utilizing marijuana helps them with their symptoms, yet the study’s outcomes could show the opposite is valid for those in addiction treatment – that by strengthening the connection between feelings of pain and emotional distress, it makes it harder for them to deal with their symptoms.

“The effectiveness of cannabis for relieving distressing symptoms stays mixed and requires further research,” the study concludes.


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