Title

Substitution of medical cannabis for pharmaceutical agents for pain, anxiety, and sleep.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2017

Journal Title

Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England)

MeSH Headings

Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Analgesics, Opioid, Antidepressive Agents, Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Medical Marijuana, Middle Aged, Pain, Retrospective Studies, Sleep, Young Adult

Abstract

A prior epidemiological study identified a reduction in opioid overdose deaths in US states that legalized medical cannabis (MC). One theory to explain this phenomenon is a potential substitution effect of MC for opioids. This study evaluated whether this substitution effect of MC for opioids also applies to other psychoactive medications. New England dispensary members ( n = 1,513) completed an online survey about their medical history and MC experiences. Among respondents that regularly used opioids, over three-quarters (76.7%) indicated that they reduced their use since they started MC. This was significantly ( p < 0.0001) greater than the patients that reduced their use of antidepressants (37.6%) or alcohol (42.0%). Approximately two-thirds of patients decreased their use of anti-anxiety (71.8%), migraine (66.7%), and sleep (65.2%) medications following MC which significantly ( p < 0.0001) exceeded the reduction in antidepressants or alcohol use. The patient's spouse, family, and other friends were more likely to know about their MC use than was their primary care provider. In conclusion, a majority of patients reported using less opioids as well as fewer medications to treat anxiety, migraines, and sleep after initiating MC. A smaller portion used less antidepressants or alcohol. Additional research is needed to corroborate these self-reported, retrospective, cross-sectional findings using other data sources.

ISSN

1461-7285

First Page

569

Last Page

575

Share

COinS