“Cannabis has been linked to reduced opioid use, although reasons for cannabis use among adults prescribed opioids are unclear.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether motivations for cannabis use differ between adults prescribed opioids for persistent pain versus those receiving opioids as medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
More than half the sample (n = 122) reported current, daily cannabis use and 63% reported pain as a motivation for use. Adults with persistent pain were more likely to be older, female, and have higher levels of education (p < .05). Adults with opioid use disorder were more likely to report “enhancement” (p < .01) and relief of drug withdrawal symptoms (p < .001) as motivations for cannabis use. The most common reasons for cannabis use in both populations were social and recreational use and pain relief.
Both studied populations have unmet health needs motivating them to use cannabis and commonly use cannabis for pain. Persistent pain participants were less likely to use cannabis for euphoric effects or withdrawal purposes. Nurses should assess for cannabis use, provide education on known risks and benefits, and offer options for holistic symptom management.”