Article by Solomon Israel, The Leaf News
Cannabis could play an important role in helping opioid drug users keep up with replacement treatments like methadone, suggests new Canadian research published today in the prestigious scientific journal Addiction.
Researchers from the B.C. Centre on Substance Use and the University of British Columbia retrospectively analyzed a sample of 820 people who used opioid drugs in Vancouver from 1996 to 2016. Everyone in the study population was involved in opioid treatment using medically prescribed drugs like methadone or buprenorphine that substitute for opioids and ease the ravages of withdrawal.
Subjects who used cannabis at least daily during their treatment were about 21 per cent more likely to stick with that treatment six months later, the study found.
People who are addicted to opioid drugs like heroin aren’t “getting high and having fun,” explains M-J Milloy, an epidemiologist and research scientist with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use and a senior author of the study.
“It’s not a recreational activity, but it’s the easiest way to stop withdrawal and to stop being sick. So the idea behind methadone is to replace that heroin with methadone or other agonist therapies.”