A new study by the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria suggests chronic pain sufferers and those taking medication to deal with mental health issues often choose cannabis over their prescriptions.
All participants in the study had physician authorization to access cannabis in addition to their prescription medications.
The study tracked more than 250 patients with conditions such as chronic pain, mental health and gastrointestinal issues.
Overall, 63 per cent of respondents reported using cannabis instead of their prescription drugs, including opioids (to treat pain), benzodiazepines (sedatives) and anti-depressants.
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UBC associate professor Zach Walsh is co-author of the study.
He suggests cannabis may have an important role to play in addressing problems associated to pharmaceutical medications such as opioids.
“Further research into how well cannabis works compared to the accepted front-line treatments is warranted,” Walsh said. “Additionally, long-term research into the potential impact of the cannabis substitution on the quality of patients’ lives is ongoing.”
The study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, was funded by Tilray, a federally authorized medical cannabis production and research company.