THURSDAY, Aug. 22, 2019 — As America continues to struggle with an opioid epidemic, marijuana has been recommended by some as a safer option to opioid painkillers. But taking the two with each other might leave customers vulnerable to mental overall health difficulties, a new study finds.
Not only that, researchers discovered that these who combined pot and opioids for discomfort had been also much more probably to abuse other drugs such as cocaine, alcohol and sedatives.
“There is been a lot of buzz that perhaps pot is the new or safer option to opioids, so that is one thing we wanted to investigate,” study lead author Andrew Rogers stated in a University of Houston news release. He is a doctoral student in clinical psychology from the university’s Anxiousness and Wellness Analysis Laboratory and Substance Use Therapy Clinic.
Rogers and his colleagues recruited 450 adults who had been making use of opioids to handle chronic discomfort that had lasted for at least 3 months. The participants answered quite a few on the internet questionnaires on basic data about themselves, their mental overall health, their discomfort levels and use of other substances.
The researchers discovered that persons who mixed opioids with pot had larger prices of anxiousness and depression, and they had been also much more probably to abuse other drugs, which includes cocaine, alcohol, sedatives and tobacco.
But Dr. Michael Hooten, from the American Academy of Discomfort Medicine, noted the study does not prove a pot-opioid combo causes mental overall health difficulties.
For instance, it really is achievable that people with current mental overall health complications engaged in risky behaviors to handle their symptoms, such as combining drugs.
“I did not see any data about [participants’] baseline history of mental overall health complications. What they did was merely a cross-sectional assessment of symptoms,” stated Hooten, who wasn’t involved with the study.
Nevertheless, “what this study tells us is that people with chronic discomfort that use opioids and cannabis concurrently are much more probably to have mental overall health complications and other substance use difficulties, and that is incredibly crucial,” Hooten stated.
To identify whether or not combining pot and opioids in fact causes mental overall health difficulties, researchers would will need to do a study in which baseline mental overall health was assessed and participants had been then assigned to take either opioids or opioids and pot, Hooton stated. Although this might appear unethical, provided the widespread use of pot, such a study would much more than probably obtain regulatory permission, he stated.
The study also discovered that these who utilized opioids and pot with each other did not have decrease discomfort scores than these who utilized opioids alone.
It could be that there is a “ceiling impact,” or a maximum point beyond which improved discomfort does not matter. Or it could be that pot does not in fact lower discomfort. “The literature on the effects of pot on discomfort tolerance is restricted and mixed,” the researchers wrote.
General, this study suggests that substance abuse, chronic discomfort and mental overall health are closely intertwined. Offered the dangers of combining substances, it might be valuable for physicians to determine and monitor sufferers who are co-making use of substances, encourage sufferers to cease making use of pot with opioids, or determine these who use pot prior to prescribing opioids, the researchers stated.
“The findings highlight a vulnerable population of polysubstance customers with chronic discomfort and indicate the will need for much more extensive assessment and therapy of chronic discomfort,” stated Rogers.
The study was published in July/August problem of the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has much more about marijuana.
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Posted: August 2019