So, there’s this new study causing a stir, and it’s saying that using proof cannabis isn’t really a game-changer when it comes to dealing with opioid addiction in the long run.
The Scoop on the Study
Researchers at the University of Sydney went on a long ride following 615 folks dealing with heroin dependence, a lot of whom also used cannabis, for a whopping 20 years. That’s a serious amount of time to keep an eye on things!
Cannabis & Opioids Relationship? Nope
The big takeaway? Despite the buzz about how cannabis might help with opioid issues by easing pain or withdrawal symptoms, this study found zero evidence that it makes any difference in the long run.
The 20-Year Story
Back in 2001, they gathered a group dealing with heroin problems from Australia and kept checking in on them for the next two decades. Turns out, about two-thirds of this crew were into cannabis, but here’s the kicker: cannabis use didn’t seem to make a dent in their opioid habit.
The Message for Docs and Big Shots
Lead researcher Dr. Jack Wilson is giving a heads-up to doctors and decision-makers, saying, “Hey, don’t bet on cannabis to fix opioid issues.” Especially now that cannabis is becoming more available globally and seen as a healing option.
Let’s talk opioid risks—think dependency, health issues like breathing problems, and, worst-case scenario, overdose. In places like Australia and North America, opioid use causes more problems and deaths than any other illegal drug.
Who Were These Folks?
The crew they tracked in the study were pretty typical for those facing opioid issues. You’re talking about folks dealing with bad health, unstable housing, mostly men, and bouncing in and out of treatment centers.
The Right Way to Help
Dr. Wilson is all about a full-on approach to help folks with opioid issues—think looking at everything from the physical to the mental and throwing in some therapies.
But Wait, No Jumping to Conclusions
Even though this study found no link between cannabis and opioids, Dr. Wilson’s not saying cannabis is a magic fix for pain. It’s a “hold up” moment, cautioning against jumping to conclusions.
The Experts Weigh In
Prof Mark Connor, who wasn’t part of the study, gave props for their fantastic follow-up with the peeps they studied 20 years ago. He’s not surprised that cannabis didn’t show much of an impact.
Prof Suzanne Nielsen, another expert, backs up the study, saying that this lines up with other recent research that shows cannabis doesn’t help with opioid issues. She points out that the whole idea that it did was based on some shaky research when cannabis got the green light in the US.