Cannabis growing in a B.C.-based medical facility. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

Cannabis growing in a B.C.-based medical facility. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

Canadian trial to compare cannabis and fentanyl in relieving chronic pain

Firm says data needed to support claim that cannabis may help cut use of fentanyl when treating pain

A Canadian pharmaceutical company has launched a clinical trial to measure which is more effective in managing pain: cannabis or fentanyl?

Tetra Bio-Pharma, based in Ontario, says the study will evaluated the time it takes for pain to be relieved in patients suffering from cancer and other chronic illnesses.

“Medical cannabis may help reduce the use of drugs like fentanyl for treating breakthrough and chronic pain,” said CEO Dr. Guy Chamberland in a news release.

“However, unrefuted scientific data on its safety and effectiveness that will satisfy regulators, professional groups and insurers is what’s missing.”

READ MORE: New in-depth report sheds light on who in B.C. is dying of drug overdoses

READ MORE: Could cannabis help keep people in B.C. on treatment for opioid addiction?

The trial was approved in August by the federal government, and launched last month with research group Sante Cannabis.

In the first three months of this year, an estimated 1,036 people died of a drug overdose in Canada, with nearly 400 of the deaths occurring in B.C.

READ MORE: Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

In June, Health Canada restricted how drug manufacturers could market opioids.

The B.C. government is suing a number of pharmaceutical companies to reclaim costs associated with the ongoing opioid crisis.

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