Women with opioid addiction who use cannabis will do poorly in methadone treatment

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Opioid addiction is a serious and rapidly increasing issue around the world and people undergoing methadone treatment for opioid addiction are using cannabis at a much higher rate than the general population. In light of Canada’s recent move towards the legalization of cannabis, authors of a new study published in Biology of Sex Differences, that investigated the association between cannabis use and methadone treatment outcome, discuss their findings and the implications.

There is a growing popular belief that cannabis is natural and therefore harmless to use. In fact many people who are addicted to opioids believe that cannabis use is a substitute to methadone and can help them control opioid withdrawal symptoms. In addition there are an increasing number of studies advocating for the use of cannabis instead of opioids for chronic pain. Is cannabis harmless for everyone as claimed? Will making cannabis legal and eventually more accessible do harm or good?

Criminalization of cannabis has been ineffective in reducing its use, generating larger societal costs with minimal effect on public health. Canada is moving towards legalization of cannabis, and therefore it is important for the public to be aware of potential risks of cannabis on people, especially people with opioid addiction in the current opioid epidemic before cannabis becomes widely available.

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Information source: blogs.biomedcentral.com

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