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Medical Marijuana and Opiates Prove to be Powerful Combo

Daily Dose 2011-11-12 1 comment

Medical Marijuana and Opiates Prove to be Powerful Combo

Less opiates required to achieve desired pain management effects when cannabis is used in combination, according to a new study at the University of California, San Francisco.

Cannabis administration significantly augments the analgesic effects of opiates in patients with chronic pain, according to clinical trial data published online in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Investigators at the University of California, San Francisco assessed the use of vaporized cannabis over a five-day period in 21 chronic pain subjects who were on a regimen of twice-daily doses morphine or oxycodone.

Participants in the trial inhaled cannabis vapor on the evening of day 1 of the study, three times a day on days 2 through 4, and in the morning of day 5.

Subjects’ extent of chronic pain was assessed daily.

Researchers determined that subjects’ pain “was significantly decreased after the addition of vaporized cannabis” and surmised that cannabis-specific interventions “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.”


The participants experienced less pain after 5 days of inhaling vaporized cannabis; when the morphine and oxycodone groups were combined, this reduction in pain was significant. This is the first human study to demonstrate that inhaled cannabis safely augments the analgesic effects of opioids… These results suggest that further controlled studies of the synergistic interaction between cannabinoids and opioids are warranted. – Researchers Concluded


For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at:┬á Full text of the study, “Cannabinoid-Opioid interaction in chronic pain,” appears in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

1 comment

  1. Mayi

    I have found this to be true. I am on disability and live with chronic pain. I spent the past year in Texas where I had no medical marijuana. My opiate use went up drastically. Now, I am back in California, smoking pot and taking much less opiates. I don’t understand why the federal government wants to limit my choices regarding how I work with my doctors to alleviate pain.