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Long-Term Study on MMJ's Impact on Opioid Use Awarded Grant From NIH

August 8, 2017


Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Montefiore Health System based in The Bronx, NY have been awarded a $3.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct the first long term study on the effects of medical marijuana on opioid use in adults with chronic pain, including HIV+ individuals. 



The principal investigator on the grant, and associate chief of general internal medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, Chinazo Cunningham, M.D., M.S. had this to say about the study and grant: 


"There is a lack of information about the impact of medical marijuana on opioid use in those with chronic pain. We hope this study will fill in the gaps and provide doctors and patients with some much needed guidance." 


Never before have researchers studied if over time the use of medical marijuana reduces the use of opioids. That said, a recent study did note a correlation between the legalization of medical marijuana and decreases in both the hospitalization rates of people suffering from opioid abuse and cases of opioid overdose.


About the Study 


The study will enroll 250 adults (both HIV+ and HIV-) with chronic pain that use opioids and have received a medical marijuana certification from their physician.


Related: How Marijuana Helps HIV Patients With Treatment


Over the course of 18 months, study participants will complete a web-based questionnaire every two weeks that focuses on pain levels and the medicinal and illicit use of marijuana and opioids. Every three months, study participants will provide urine and blood samples, and a select group will be interviewed regarding their perceptions of how medical marijuana use affects the use of opioids. 




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