Balance on cannabis may lead to answers on opioids
by Kevin P. Hill, Boston Globe, March 1, 2018
The United States is the midst of an opioid crisis. Ninety Americans die each day from opioid overdoses on prescription opioids, heroin, or fentanyl, and Massachusetts has not been spared. Many states are using the best available tools to battle the crisis, with an eye on developing better science and policy to put an end to the crisis. As more states implement either medical or legalized recreational cannabis policies, they should consider whether cannabis can play a role in the opioid crisis.
The evidence suggests that it might. For years, patients with chronic pain have reported that medical cannabis reduces the need to manage their pain with opioids. This anecdotal evidence is supported by a growing body of literature published in top scientific journals, including Health Affairs and the American Journal of Public Health. The scientific rationale for a relationship between cannabis and opioids is not new — cannabinoid and opioid receptors affect common brain pathways for pain and addiction.