Study finds most people at high risk of overdose who use cannabis do so for pain relief and other therapeutic reasons.
Most people at high risk of overdose in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who use cannabis do so for pain relief and other therapeutic reasons—and they may be at lower risk of overdosing on opioids as a result, suggests new research published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One.
“The mounting evidence related to the motivations behind people’s cannabis use strongly suggests that improving access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes could help reduce overdose risk associated with illicit opioid use,” says Dr. M-J Milloy, a research scientist at BCCSU, the Canopy Growth professor of cannabis science at UBC and the senior author of the study. “Unfortunately, our results also tell us that medical cannabis users from the Downtown Eastside do not have equitable access to legal sources of cannabis, either through the medical cannabis system or the new recreational market. Authorities should pause their efforts to close unregulated sources of cannabis and eliminate the illicit market until barriers to legal cannabis are addressed, especially during the overdose crisis.”
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