Rationale for cannabis-based interventions in the opioid overdose crisis

North America is currently in the grips of a crisis rooted in the use of licit and illicit opioid-based analgesics. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Canada and the US, and the growing toll of opioid-related morbidity and mortality requires a diversity of novel therapeutic and harm reduction-based interventions. Research suggests that increasing adult access to both medical and recreational cannabis has significant positive impacts on public health and safety as a result of substitution effect. Observational and epidemiological studies have found that medical cannabis programs are associated with a reduction in the use of opioids and associated morbidity and mortality.