Cannabis does NOT help people quit opioids, study claims

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Cannabis does NOT help people quit opioids despite hopes legalising the drug would reduce US addiction crisis, study claims Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario reviewed six other studies They found no evidence that cannabis could help people in addiction programs Scientists had hoped legalisation would reduce painkiller prescriptions in the US

By Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 05:00 GMT, 19 November 2019 | Updated: 05:00 GMT, 19 November 2019

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Medicinal cannabis is not effective at helping people come off powerful opioids, according to researchers.

Marijuana advocates claim the drug can reduce people's reliance on the addictive painkiller drugs and even help addicts recover. 

Scientists claim opioid prescriptions went down in states which legalised cannabis, with suggestions it is just as good of a painkiller.

But research has now debunked the unproven claims, with experts saying there is no proof using cannabis makes people less likely to take opioids.

Using cannabis during a methadone opioid-withdrawal program did not increase someone's chances of succeeding and did not reduce how many opioid drugs people took, according to research (stock image)

Using cannabis during a methadone opioid-withdrawal program did not increase someone's chances of succeeding and did not reduce how many opioid drugs people took, according to research (stock image)

'There is limited evidence that cannabis use may reduce opioid use in pain management,' said Dr Zainab Samaan, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

'And some high-profile organizations have suggested cannabis is an "exit drug" for illicit opioid use.

'But we found no evidence to suggest cannabis helps patients with opioid use disorder stop using opioids.'

Opioids include drugs like heroin, morphine, tramadol, codeine, oxycodone and fentanyl.

OPIOIDS IN AMERICA: BY THE NUMBERS

Opioid prescriptions are going down across the US, but overdoses are not.

Last year, the rate of opioid overdose deaths hit a record high, with around 200 Americans dying every day, according to new figures, published by the DEA in July.

US Health Secretary Alex Azar insists the tide has turned this year.

However, doctors warn the boom in prescriptions flooded the market with unused pills, some of which may have made it onto the black market. 

An in-depth analysis of 2016 US drug overdose data shows that America's overdose epidemic is spreading geographically and increasing across

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