Cannabis Use By Methadone Maintenance Patients Associated With Fewer Opioid Overdoses

The use of cannabis by patients enrolled in a methadone maintenance treatment program is associated with fewer nonfatal opioid overdoses, according to the results of a recently published study. An abstract of the research, “Cannabis Use and Nonfatal Opioid Overdose among Patients Enrolled in Methadone Maintenance Treatment,” was published online last month by the journal Substance Use & Misuse.

To complete the study, researchers with the University of Washington, the University of Rhode Island, the VA Portland Health System, and the Oregon Health & Science University recruited patients undergoing methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) at four clinics in Washington and southern New England. Patients were asked to complete a one-time survey, which included questions about their cannabis use over the past month.

Data from the survey was then analyzed to compare the prevalence and risk of nonfatal opioid overdose over the previous 12 months “between participants reporting frequent (at least weekly) or infrequent (once or none) cannabis use in the past month.”

Chance Of Overdose 71% Lower Among Frequent Cannabis Users

Among the 446 participants of the study, 35% reported frequent cannabis use and 7% reported nonfatal opioid overdose in the past year. The prevalence of nonfatal opioid overdose was

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