Cannabis, opiates team up

Combination of opiates, marijuana provides effective pain relief

A University of California, San Francisco study has concluded that the combination of opiates and marijuana is a more effective means of pain relief than opiates alone.

Despite a small sample size of 21 chronic pain patients, the study’s participants reported more pain relief when they introduced vaporized cannabis in addition to their regular doses of oxycodone or morphine, according to a UCSF press release. The study, which was published earlier this month in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, is the first of its kind to examine the interaction between cannabinoids and opiates in humans. While the original goal was to determine whether marijuana would alter opiate levels in the bloodstream, researchers were surprised with the results.

“This preliminary study seems to imply that people may be able to get away perhaps taking lower doses of the opiates for longer periods of time if taken in conjunction with cannabis,” said Donald Abrams, the paper’s lead author and professor of clinical medicine at UCSF.