UBC professor to study use of cannabis opioid overdose treatment

UBC professor to study use of cannabis opioid overdose treatment

The province says clinical trials will look at how cannabis can play a role to help address the opioid overdose crisis in B.C.

The BC Coroners Service reported there have been 1,143 people who have died from suspected overdoses of illicit drugs through the first nine months of 2018.

University of British Columbia (UBC) Canopy Growth professor of cannabis science Dr. M-J Milloy, a research scientist at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), will lead the clinical trials to see if cannabis can help people with opioid-use disorder stay on their treatment plan.

The province says Milloy has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles on the impact of policy on the health outcomes of people who use drugs.

The government says research shows fewer than a third of people who start opioid against therapy (OAT) with methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone remain in treatment after six months, and dropping from addiction treatment is a serious risk factor for overdose death.

The trials are intended to identify ways to better support people with an opioid-use disorder with cannabis-based therapy.

Milloy’s recent studies have found using cannabis every day was linked to a lower risk of starting to inject drugs amongst street-involved youth.

Other results have found daily cannabis use increased the chances that people will stay in OAT treatment and intentional cannabis use showed declines in crack cocaine use among users.

The province says it providing $500,000 to the BCCSU in support of the research.


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