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Cannabis use ups risk of prescription opioid use disorder

05 Oct 2017

Cannabis use is likely to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder, according to a recent study.

Logistic regression models were used to evaluate prospective associations between cannabis use at wave 1 (2001 to 2002) and nonmedical prescription opioid use and prescription opioid use disorder at wave 2 (2004 to 2005) of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Corresponding analyses were also conducted among adults with moderate or more severe pain and with nonmedical opioid use at wave 1.

Researchers then used a structured interview (the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule–DSM-IV version) to measure cannabis and prescription opioid use. Other covariates were age, sex, race/ethnicity, anxiety or mood disorders, family history of drug, alcohol, and behavioural problems and nonmedical opioid use in opioid use disorder analyses.

Logistic regression models showed that cannabis use at wave 1 appeared to increase incident nonmedical prescription opioid use (odds ratio [OR], 5.78; 95 percent CI, 4.23 to 7.90) and opioid use disorder (OR, 7.76; 4.95 to 12.16) at wave 2. After adjusting for background characteristics, such associations remained significant (nonmedical opioid use: adjusted OR, 2.62; 1.86 to 3.69; opioid use disorder: adjusted OR, 2.18; 1.14 to 4.14).

Cannabis use among adults with pain at wave 1 correlated with increased incident nonmedical opioid use (adjusted OR, 2.99; 1.63 to 5.47) at wave 2. It also predicted increased incident prescription opioid use disorder, but the association lacked significance (adjusted OR, 2.14; 0.95 to 4.83).

Furthermore, cannabis use among adults with nonmedical opioid use at wave 1 was likely to increase use of nonmedical opioid (adjusted OR, 3.13; 1.19 to 8.23).

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