A new study revealed results that those that use a combination of cannabis and opioids for chronic pain are at risk for anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
But the problem isn’t the conclusion. The problem lies in the inconsistencies that led to that conclusion.
According to the University of Houston research study, participants that consumed the combined treatment displayed elevated levels of depression and anxiety. They also exhibited evidence of substance abuse, as well as no improvement in pain levels.
However, Dr. Peter Grinspoon finds the research study full of flaws. As a Doctors For Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) board member, he is well-versed in medical marijuana benefits. He advocates cannabis as an alternative to opioids. Dr. Grinspoon also says it also works as a transitional drug for recovering opioid addicts.
The study period lasted 90 days. But rather than controlling the amount of time of co-use to compare against results of opioid use alone, researchers simply recorded cannabis and opioid use within those 90 days.
When you take a further look, the patient could have smoked weed and then two-three months later, taken an opioid. Therefore, the researchers cannot draw correlations, it seems likely that the patients who are using cannabis to self-treat their anxiety and depression would probably need more help.Dr. Peter Grinspoon shares with Forbes
Plus, the findings lacked other controlled measures, including the amounts and forms consumed. Frequency of use was also missing in the results. Dr. Grinspoon also questions whether the cannabis was prescribed or not and legally obtained.
To learn more about the study, check out the Journal of Addiction Medicine.