Sativex Associated With Opioid-Sparing Effects

pain killers opioids

In a perfect world, every suffering patient that could benefit from the cannabis plant would have safe access to it in all of its forms. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.

In a less-than-perfect world, patients are at the mercy of what medical cannabis products are legally available in their area. Sativex is one option that is available in places that prohibit most, if not all, other forms of medical cannabis products.

A recent study found that Sativex may reduce opioid consumption rates among pain patients. It is worth noting that shaming people that have to use opioids for whatever reason is not OK.

With that being said, cannabis is absolutely safer than opioids so anyone that can transition from opioids to cannabis is a good thing. Below is more information about the recent study via a news release from NORML:

Oslo, Norway: Prescription opioid users who frequently consume the cannabis plant-derived extract medication Sativex (nabiximols) substantially reduce their opioid intake over time, according to data published in the journal Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Technology.

Sativex is an oromucosal cannabis spray containing nearly equal portions of plant-derived THC and CBD. It is available by prescription in numerous countries, but it is not FDA-approved in the United States.

A team of researchers affiliated with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health assessed the relationship between the use of Sativex and opioids over a one-year period in a cohort of patients prescribed both substances.

They reported that those who filled their Sativex prescriptions three times or more during the study period decreased their use of prescription opioids. This decrease “was even more evident among those filling five or more prescriptions.” By contrast, an inverse relationship was identified among those infrequently engaged in the use of Sativex.

Authors concluded: “This is one of a few studies investigating the impact of medicinal cannabis use on individual level opioid use. … Looking at all those filling a prescription for Sativex, opioid use was only marginally lowered in the follow-up period. Some Sativex users, however, filled more prescriptions for Sativex and were able to reduce their opioid use substantially. Further studies are needed to elucidate more details on these patients, so as to know who can benefit from such cannabis-based extracts in reducing their opioid use.”

Numerous studies have previously identified a relationship between patients’ consumption of medical cannabis and a reduction in their use of opioids and other prescription drugs.

Full text of the study, “Possible opioid-saving effect of cannabis-based medicine using individual-based data from the Norwegian Prescription Database,” appears in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. Additional information is available from NORML’s fact sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”

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