Consensus-Based Recommendations for Titrating Cannabinoids and Tapering Opioids for Chronic Pain Control

April 1, 2021 Spectrum Therapeutics

Spectrum Therapeutics is excited to share some new expert, consensus-based recommendations, and make them available to help physicians identify and support patients who might benefit from using cannabis to reduce their opioid medication. The full scientific article is available for free, making it easy to share with your healthcare provider. Access the full article


We helped bring together a team of 22 experts from Canada and the U.S. who focus on cannabis and pain treatments. In 2018, almost 1 in 8 Canadians were prescribed opioids; and while many patients and physicians may be considering medical cannabis to help with chronic pain and to support opioid tapering, there is a lack of high-quality studies available to meet the need for expert clinical guidance. Previous studies have found that cannabinoids can improve pain-related outcomes, and, importantly, may help people reduce, manage, and eliminate their use of opioids. These consensus-based recommendations are an important step toward the development of clinical guidelines, which can be very helpful for practical questions that are not yet clearly answered by the research.

This initiative, supported by Spectrum Therapeutics, resulted in an algorithm—a step-by-step process—that physicians can use to identify and support patients who might benefit from using cannabis to reduce their opioid medication.


The algorithm can help physicians understand:


  • Who might be a good candidate for medical cannabis

  • When and how to safely introduce cannabis when using opioids

  • When and how to safely reduce opioids use in the presences of cannabis 

  • How to monitor patients and evaluate outcomes when using both opioids and cannabis


Who might find this research helpful?


  • Patients who want to provide their physician with evidence on the potential to reduce opioid use with cannabis 

  • Physicians who want evidence to help their patients reduce their opioid doses 

  • Healthcare providers, researchers, patient advocates, and caregivers who are interested in the potential of cannabis as a harm-reduction tool



    Spectrum Therapeutics supported the development of these expert, consensus-based recommendations through an arms-length grant, which means it did not have influence on the design, data collection, analysis, or the publication.

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