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Study: Oxycodone & Smoked Cannabis for Pain

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Brought to you by the new Higher Learning LV Cannabis for Pain seminar.


Welcome to Cannabis Conclusions, a unique educational series from Higher Learning LV that is targeted at hemp and cannabis industry professionals. This series provides readers with the conclusion section from important modern peer-reviewed research studies.

A February 2018 study entitled "Impact of Co-administration of Oxycodone and Smoked Cannabis on Analgesia and Abuse Liability" that was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology explored the ability of cannabis to enhance "the analgesic effects of low dose oxycodone using a validated experimental model of pain and its effects on abuse liability."

The study observed that, in the United States, "11 percent of the adult population suffers from chronic pain and nearly 20 percent of patients presenting with acute and chronic non-cancer pain are prescribed opioids."

The study's authors observed that, between 1999 and 2015, "opioid prescribing tripled, along with the number of deaths attributed to opioid analgesics, with an estimated 17,500 fatalities in 2015 (relative to 6,160 reported in 1999).

Study Conclusions

"Cannabinoids may provide a therapeutic strategy to enhance the analgesic effects of opioids while mitigating their serious adverse effects. Smoked cannabis combined with an ineffective analgesic dose of oxycodone produced analgesia comparable to an effective opioid analgesic dose without significantly increasing cannabis’s abuse liability.

"Cannabinoids may provide a therapeutic strategy to enhance the analgesic effects of opioids while mitigating their serious adverse effects."

"Yet the combination did increase opioid-related positive subjective ratings. These findings warrant future well-controlled, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies designed to assess the opioid-sparing effects of cannabinoids across therapeutically viable routes of administration, employing multiple nociceptive stimuli, patient populations, and importantly, addressing the impact of the drug combination on other critical endpoints including opioid self-administration, tolerance, and dependence.

"Such studies will determine the generalizability of these findings and the clinical benefit of combined cannabinoid-opioid therapy to treat chronic pain."

View the original study.

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