Evaluating Cannabis as an Intervention in the Opioid Overdose Crisis: A Discussion of Preliminary Findings and Methodological Challenges

Dec 9, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
700-828 W. 10 Ave., VGH Research Pavilion
M-J Milloy

A growing body of preliminary evidence, including from observational studies and controlled trials, lends plausibility to the idea that cannabis could be a beneficial intervention to address the risk of opioid overdose. However, a number of biological and regulatory factors complicate the evaluation of the risks and benefits of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. In this presentation, Dr. M-J Milloy will review the preliminary evidence linking cannabis to lower overdose risk, including from three ongoing prospective cohort studies of people at highest risk of overdose in Vancouver, Canada, describe the challenges faced by controlled trials investigating therapeutic cannabis use, and outline his research group’s planned pilot trials into cannabis for harm reduction.

Learning objectives:

  1. To describe the epidemiology of the opioid overdose crisis and contributing factors;
  2. To outline preliminary evidence supporting the use of cannabis as an intervention in the overdose crisis;
  3. To summarize the methodology challenges in evaluating the therapeutic risks/benefits of cannabis