Can cannabis alleviate the need for oxycontin?

by HelloMD

Can cannabis alleviate the need for oxycontin?


Answers


Answer - Leslie Elkind MD

"Need for Oxycontin" could mean a few things, like pain that requires long acting opioids like Oxycontin for control, or Oxycontin dependence with appearance of withdrawal symptoms if it isn't taken, or both. The article Melissa cites in her answer is a very good explanation of how cannabis can be helpful in both situations. Pain that has become chronic is not well treated with long-acting opioids like Oxycontin because of the development of tolerance and dependence. Reducing the amount of opioid required for adequate pain relief is a good step on the road to eliminating reliance on opioids, and cannabis can definitely be helpful. You should be always be cautious when taking cannabis with opioids because if too much cannabis is taken their additive effects can produce dizziness and nausea, but these unpleasant effects are not dangerous and will subside quickly on their own. I suggest making sure lots of CBD is present in the preparation you use, even 1:1 CBD:THC, and I would set up a schedule for reducing the opioid dose by half over a defined period, like 2 weeks. Being able to do that much will likely produce the confidence required for taking the next step of this journey.


Answer - HelloMD Office Manager

Possibly. Patients have reported being able to wean off pain medicines by using cannabis. It’s a good pain reliever and can help with withdrawal symptoms. “… active compounds in marijuana may be able to break this cycle of using opioids to treat opioid dependence. One of the body’s two cannabis receptors, CB1, occurs abundantly in areas of the brain related to noradrenergic activity. Researchers think that using cannabis compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD) may increase the production of the body’s own natural opioids. This can make opioid drugs more effective for pain relief and also moderate the release of norepinephrine thereby reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Not only that, but tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, may increase the release of enkephalin, which can help to stabilize activity in the brainstem during opioid withdrawal.” https://www.hellomd.com/health-wellness/5a14b5edeea891000897e26c/how-cannabis-can-break-the-cycle-of-opioid-abuse

Hope that helps!