So far, two US states, New York and Illinois have legalized the use of cannabis to help treat chronic pain as an alternative to addictive opioids.
Ask someone on the street and they would probably tell you that cannabis helps people relax. The chemical similarities between cannabis and opioids seem to make it anecdotal, like cannabis, could help reduce opioid dependence. Both drugs relieve similar symptoms and catch similar experiences – but cannabis is far less dangerous alone.
But anecdotal evidence goes only so far.
Although it is difficult to criticize something that can help alleviate the opioid epidemic, the physiological effect of treating either chronic pain or opioid dependence with cannabis has not undergone nearly the same rigor of scientific study as other medical treatments, according to Scientific American .
Overall, researchers have had many challenges when it comes to experimenting with cannabis. Although Scientific American reports that some clinical studies finally begin to support it, there is generally not many evidence to support the anecdotal hunch.
But because other opioid dependence treatments such as methadone are already working, and because cutting people out of them can be dangerous, scientists argued to switch people who are already taking prescription opioids to a prescription for cannabis could actually be dangerous in a perspective letter. recently published to Journal of the American Medical Association.
The big question is whether cannabis will not only be able to help people who are already dependent on opioids, but also the chronic pain that opioids may have been in the first place.
In this case, research is once again limited. Lots of studies suggest that cannabis treats pain, but a research paper published in European Archives for Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience earlier this year showed that most cannabis pain trials had serious limitations that doubted their results.