More U.S. citizens are killed by opiate overdose each yeah than have ever died from the use of cannabis.

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Study: Patients Using MMJ as Opioid Substitute

A new University of British Columbia and University of Victoria study suggests that patients in Canada are using medical cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs, particularly opioids.

In the study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, 63 percent of patients self-reported that they were using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs, with 30 percent of those indicating they were using cannabis in lieu of opioid-based pharmaceuticals. Sixteen percent reported their cannabis use was a substitute for benzodiazepines – often prescribed to treat anxiety – and 12 percent reported using cannabis as a substitute for anti-depressants.

Additionally, some of the 250 patients enrolled in the study reported using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol (25 percent), tobacco (12 percent), and illicit drugs (3 percent).

Zach Walsh, a co-author of the study and UCB associate professor, said while the study might show cannabis may have a role in addressing opioid addiction, more research is required.

“Further research into how well cannabis works compared to the accepted front-line treatments is warranted,” Walsh said in a Global News report.  “Additionally, long-term research into the potential impact of the cannabis substitution on the quality of patients’ lives is ongoing.”

The study was funded by Tilray, a Canadian licensed medical cannabis and research firm.

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