A researcher from the University of Houston has discovered that adults who take prescription opioids for severe pain are bound to have increased anxiety, depression, and substance abuse issues in the event that they also use marijuana.
“Given the fact that cannabis conceivably has pain-relieving properties, a few people are opting for it to possibly manage their pain,” Andrew Rogers, said in describing the work published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. Rogers focuses on the intersection of chronic pain and opioid use, and distinguishing the underlying psychological mechanisms, for example, anxiety sensitivity, emotion regulation, and pain-related anxiety, of these relationships. Rogers is a doctoral student in clinical psychology who works in the UH Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory and its Substance Use Treatment Clinic.
Under the guidance of advisor Michael Zvolensky, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Professor of psychology and director of the lab and clinic, Rogers surveyed 450 adults all through the United States who had experienced moderate to severe pain for over a quarter of a year. The study revealed elevated anxiety and depression symptoms, yet in addition tobacco, liquor, cocaine and sedative use among the individuals who included the cannabis, compared with the individuals who used opioids alone. No increased pain reduction was accounted for.
Significantly, said Rogers, while the co-use of substances, for the most part, is related to poorer results than single substance use, little work has examined the impact of mixing opioids and cannabis.
Narcotic abuse comprises a significant public health issue and can be related to a ton of negative results. Regardless of efforts to curb this increasing epidemic, opioids remain the most widely prescribed class of prescriptions. Prescription opioids are frequently used to treat chronic pain, regardless of the risks, and chronic pain remains a significant factor in understanding this epidemic.
Cannabis is another substance that has already gained traction in the chronic pain literature, as increasing numbers of individuals use it to manage chronic pain.
“There’s been a lot of buzz that perhaps cannabis is the new or safer alternative to opioid, that’s something we needed to research,” said Rogers, who said the thought for the study evolved from a conversation with Zvolensky. Rogers was studying opioid use and pain management when they started discussing the role of cannabis in managing pain.