According to a study recently published by the International Journal of Drug Policy, patients in Canada are substituting marijuana for opioids, benzodiazepines and antidepressants for symptom relief of pain and mental health conditions.
The study, “Medical cannabis access, use, and substitution for prescription opioids and other substances: A survey of authorized medical cannabis patients,” undertaken by the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, examined survey responses from 271 patients registered to buy marijuana from Tilray, a licensed producer in Canada and the organization that funded the study.
With 107 questions, the online survey covered demographics, use patterns and marijuana as a substitute for prescriptions. According to the survey results, 63% of respondents reported that they substitute marijuana for prescription medication, with marijuana most commonly acting as a substitute for opioids, benzodiazepines and antidepressants in the treatment of pain-related conditions, including chronic pain and arthritis, and mental health conditions, including eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychiatric disorder.
According to the study, “In light of the growing rate of morbidity and mortality associated with these prescription medications cannabis could play a significant role in reducing the health burden of problematic prescription drug use.”