Subst Abus. 2022;43(1):943-948. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2022.2060431.
Aims: With increased liberalization of cannabis policies in North America, there is growing interest in the use of cannabis to manage pain instead of opioids. The objectives of the study were to (1) examine the use of cannabis for pain relief in Canada and the United States (US) in 2018 and 2019; (2) examine the association between recreational cannabis laws and changes in the use of cannabis for pain relief, instead of opioids or prescription pain medication. Methods: Repeat cross-sectional survey data were used from Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the International Cannabis Policy Study conducted in 2018 and 2019 in Canada and the US. Respondents were recruited through commercial panels, aged 16-65, and had ever tried cannabis (N = 44,119). Weighted binary logistic regression models examined the association between the legal status of recreational cannabis and cannabis use for pain relief instead of opioids or prescription pain medication (n = 15,092). Results: Between 14-33% of cannabis consumers in Canada and the US reported using cannabis to manage headaches or pain. Of these consumers, 79% and 78% respondents in Canada; 80% and 83% in US illegal states; and 83% and 84% in US legal states, in 2018 and 2019, respectively, reported cannabis use for pain relief instead of opioids or prescription pain medication. There was little evidence of an association between the legal status of recreational cannabis and cannabis use for pain relief instead of opioids or prescription pain medication, among Canadian (AOR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.78, 1.22) and US respondents (AOR = 1.11, 95% CI: 0.96, 1.28). Conclusions: Although substitution of cannabis for opioids or prescription pain medication is common among those who use cannabis for pain, there does not seem to be a significant difference according to cannabis legality. Future research should examine cannabis and opioid substitution using different research designs and time frames.
Source: ncbi 2