Medical Marijuana Used With Opiates Could Help Patients Reduce Pain

Written by Abby Callard | December 07, 2011 | Print  |
Researchers at University of California, San Francisco, found when used with opiate-based treatment, medical marijuana can further reduce pain, according to a UCSF news release. Researchers looked at the interaction between cannabinoids, the main ingredient in medical marijuana, and opiates in 21 chronic pain patients being treated with long-acting morphine or long-acting oxycodone. They found combining the two better reduced pain than opiates alone.

The study was originally intended to see if cannabinoids increased the level of opiates in the bloodstream. After recording the initial opiate level, patients were given vaporized cannabis for four consecutive days. Because the level of morphine slightly decreased and the level of oxycodone was unchanged, researchers expected patients would report less relief of pain. However, they reported more pain relief.

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