Jul 02, 2021

That’s Debatable! Does Cannabis Reduce Opioid Death

The use of opioids to treat chronic pain has become quite contentious in recent years. Things get even more confusing when we consider adding an adjuvant analgesic in the mix.

Does this reduce or heighten risk? The audience can decide where to throw spitballs when 2 practitioners debate 2 separate topics. First, is the use of cannabis plus an opioid likely to provide an enhanced clinical effect (eg, allow for opioid dose reduction and by extension, harm), make no difference, or possibly cause more harm. The second debate will evaluate the use of gabapentin plus an opioid.

On one hand, we have data showing the gabapentinoids may be habituating and result in addiction. Combining gabapentin with an opioid may also increase the risk of mortality. On the other hand, rational polypharmacy, using an opioid and gabapentin, has been shown to result in superior clinical outcomes compared to either analgesic alone. So perplexing. What’s a practitioner to do? Listen to the debate and decide for yourself!