In a 2014 report of a study conducted by
While caveated by the usual “more research is needed,” their preliminary research does show a reduction in overdose rates among patients using opioid medications for the treatment of chronic pain.
“Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. Further investigation is required to determine how medical cannabis laws may interact with policies aimed at preventing opioid analgesic overdose.”
“If the relationship between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality is substantiated in further work, enactment of laws to allow for use of medical cannabis may be advocated as part of a comprehensive package of policies to reduce the population risk of opioid analgesics.”
Patients using opioid medications for chronic pain issues are at risk when using these medications and especially in older populations – the fastest growing demographic for cannabis use – where providers must take special care in prescribing to patients that may have other issues such as sleep apnea or sleeplessness.