White Opioids Pills | Getty Image

Opioids vs Medicinal Cannabis

White Opioids pills | Getty Image

In April, the regulation of medicinal cannabis worked out, allowing GPs to prescribe the drug to patients. Some GPs are wary of medicinal cannabis, for lack of research data. Besides, medicinal cannabis is thought to be an alternative to opioids, a “harmful” drug.

Dr. Bryan Betty, medical director of RNZCGP, said they need to understand where the drug cannabis is useful and where it is not.

The studies showed in this article are mostly from areas in the United States where the cannabis is controlled.

Cannabis | Healthline.com

The Fatalities of the Two Drugs Caused

Drug-related deaths use data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Found drugs were not the direct reason


An overdose of opioids can cause respiratory problems. According to the Drug Harm Index, ten deaths are allocated to opioids annually. The Drug Foundation suggests the low allocation “dramatically underplays the number of deaths and related harm for this group of substances.”


According to the New Zealand Drug Harm Index, cannabis causes 32 deaths a year. The Drug Foundation believes an overdose should be the only definition used to count drug-related deaths. 

However, David Schmader, author of Weed: The User’s Guide, said, “A fatal dose of marijuana would require ingestion of 1500 pounds [670kg] in 15 minutes, a physical impossibility for any human.” Schmader told.

Are the Two Drugs Addictive?


US doctor Nathan Jakowski said when opioids are taken, dopamine was released, activating the reward system within the brain.

“In drug use, this leads us to seek out the drug again and again. Even short-term use of the opioid can lead to addiction,” Dr. Jakowski wrote in his article.

Opioids make our brain believe we need them for survival. This happens relatively quickly, as our body becomes tolerant to the substance and wants more.


Long-term users are at risk of developing drug use disorder. The danger of addiction becomes greater the earlier people start using cannabis. In addition, cannabis was to be legalized in New Zealand, and use would be restricted to those over 20 .  

Does Drugs Cause Anxiety or Depression?


An article in the Psychiatric Times stated opioid use might cause ’anxiety’ in 2011.  A study conducted by the  US Annals Family Medicine sited 10 percent of the patients in the survey developed depression for a month after using opioids in 2015.


Australian researcher Dr. Peter Gate wrote a thesis detailing the relationship between cannabis use, anxiety, and depression. He highlighted a study done by Cambridge University in 2014, which found cannabis users had a risk of depression. But this study cannot conclude cannabis was the cause of depression. Thus the relationship between cannabis use, depression, and anxiety is complicated and may affect each cannabis user differently.

Do the Drugs Impact a Person’s Cognitive Ability when He is Driving?


A study examined 22 people who drove under the influence of opioids in 2018.  The drug-affected people’s driving and increased sleepiness. Four people had to stop the test during driving, because they are too sleepy.


The Drug Foundation quoted a study showing overweight users of cannabis may be impaired continuously for some weeks after stopping use. The study stated heavy persons are five times more likely to have an accident with cannabis in their system. And a study presented at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting, in San Diego, depicted young people who use marijuana have more cognitive shortfalls.

The difference between opioids and cannabis are included above. If you want more information, please check out.

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Jane Yang
Author Bio
Jane Yang, master of TCSOL, editor of VAPEBIZ.NET.


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