UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The association between cannabis and codeine use : a nationally representative cross-sectional study in Canada Garg, Ria; Shojania, Kam; De Vera, Mary


Background Due to the growing use of cannabis for the purposes of pain relief, evidence is needed on the impact of cannabis use on concurrent analgesic use. Therefore, our objective was to evaluate the association between the use of cannabis and codeine. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the nationally representative Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (2017). The primary explanatory variable was self-reported use of cannabis within the past year. The outcome was the use of codeine-containing product(s) within the past year. We used multivariable binomial logistic regression models. Results Our study sample comprised 15,459 respondents including 3338 individuals who reported cannabis use within the past year of whom 955 (36.2%) used it for medical purposes. Among individuals who reported cannabis use, the majority were male (N = 1833, 62.2%). Self-reported use of cannabis was associated with codeine use (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.89, 95% CI 1.36 to 2.62). Additionally, when limited to cannabis users only, we found people who used cannabis for medical purposes to be three times more likely to also report codeine use (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.96, 95% CI 1.72 to 5.09). Discussion The use of cannabis was associated with increased odds of codeine use, especially among individuals who used it for medical purposes. Our findings suggest a potential role for healthcare providers to be aware of or monitor patients’ use of cannabis, as the long-term adverse events associated with concurrent cannabis and opioid use remain unknown.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)