U of A psychiatry prof probes links between cannabis, opioid abusePosted by On


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A study led by a University of Alberta psychiatry professor aims to clarify whether cannabis use makes it more or less likely a person will later develop problems with opioids.

Dr. Bo Cao, an assistant professor in the U of A department of psychiatry, is heading a study that will use health-care data to look at the relationship between the two substances in a medical setting.

“There’s a big debate,” says Cao.

On the one hand, there are those who believe that, under medical supervision, cannabis can be used to decrease opioid dosages, decreasing the risk of future opioid use disorders and overdoses.

Others argue cannabis can be a “gateway” drug that actually increases the risk of future problematic opioid use.

“We don’t know,” said Cao, who is Canada Research Chair in computational psychiatry. “We just want to have a peek (at) this problem using the current data.”

Opioids are prescribed to treat pain, but opioid misuse is common. Last year was Alberta’s deadliest on record for overdoses with 1,316 drug-related deaths, 1,144 of which were linked to opioids.

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A study led by a University of Alberta psychiatry professor aims to clarify whether cannabis use makes it more or less likely a person will later develop problems with opioids.

Dr. Bo Cao, an assistant professor in the U of A department of psychiatry, is heading a study that will use health-care data to look at the relationship between the two substances in a medical setting.

“There’s a big debate,” says Cao.

On the one hand, there are those who believe that, under medical supervision, cannabis can be used to decrease opioid dosages, decreasing the risk of future opioid use disorders and overdoses.

Others argue cannabis can be a “gateway” drug that actually increases the risk of future problematic opioid use.

“We don’t know,” said Cao, who is Canada Research Chair in computational psychiatry. “We just want to have a peek (at) this problem using the current data.”

Opioids are prescribed to treat pain, but opioid misuse is common. Last year was Alberta’s deadliest on record for overdoses with 1,316 drug-related deaths, 1,144 of which were linked to opioids.

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According to Alberta…



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