Mixing opioids, cannabis may increase anxiety, depression in adults

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Aug. 12 (UPI) — Mixing cannabis and opioids don’t provide more pain relief, and they can lead to more substance abuse and worse mental health outcomes, a new study says.

Recent research showed that while people who use cannabis and opioids showed no relief in pain, they did have higher levels of anxiety and depression, according to findings published Monday in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

“Given the fact that cannabis potentially has analgesic properties, some people are turning to it to potentially manage their pain,” Andrew Rogers, a researcher at the University of Houston and study author, said in a news release.

The researchers conducted the study to explore the idea of mixing cannabis and opioids for pain relief.

The researchers surveyed 450 adults who suffered moderate to severe pain for longer than three months. Some of the participants used opioids to relieve pain, and others used combined opioid use with cannabis.

The study showed people who consumed both substances also used more alcohol, tobacco and cocaine compared to the adults who only used opioids.

Since 1999, more than 700,000 people in the United States died in overdoses involving opioids.

“There’s been a lot of buzz that maybe cannabis is the new or safer alternative to opioid, so that’s something we wanted to investigate,” Rogers said. “The findings highlight a vulnerable population of polysubstance users with chronic pain and indicates the need for more comprehensive assessment and treatment of chronic pain.”

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