Science About THC and Opioid Misuse

Chart showing predictors of youth opioid misuse

One way to fight our opioid epidemic is to prevent marijuana use, especially in teens. How can this be? What do THC products have to do with opioid abuse? Aren’t they separate drugs? And wasn’t marijuana supposed to help our opioid crisis? The latest science shows how marijuana use actually conributes to our opioid crisis. See studies below.

Additionally, there are two video presentations: the first is by expert Dr. Ken Finn, who is also a founding member of IASIC. The second is with famed celebrity and sports agent, Darren Prince, who shares his personal struggles with opioid addiction which was preceeded by marijuana use.


“More than 90 percent of heroin users report a prior history of marijuana use compared to a prior history of painkiller use (47 percent).”

Cannabis use appears to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder.”

“Cannabis users are more likely, rather than less likely, to escalate opioid use…Additionally, cannabis can worsen mental health outcomes…which can increase risk for opioid use…”

“Association between medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality has reversed over time. Not only did findings from the original analysis not hold over the longer period, but the association between state medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality reversed direction from −21% to +23% and remained positive after accounting for recreational cannabis laws.”

“Use of other substances, particularly current use of alcohol (59.4%) and marijuana (43.5%), was common among students currently misusing prescription opioids.”

“Opioid antagonists modulate cannabinoid effects and may offer a potential approach to reducing cannabis use.”

“Discrete opioid gene expression impairment in the human fetal brain associated with maternal marijuana use.”

“Persons diagnosed with severe cocaine use disorders or dual opioid and cocaine use disorders exhibit a pattern of heavy and especially early adolescent exposure to cannabis.”

“One-fifth of the adolescents in our sample followed a pattern of occasional or regular cannabis use, and these young people were more likely to progress to harmful substance use behaviors in early adulthood.”

“People who began using pot as adolescents were 20.4 times more likely to be illicit drug users…Weed users who began as adults were 36.8 times more likely to use illicit drugs.”


Dr. Ken Finn discusses how the data shows marijuana has not helped the opioid crisis.  

Hear the story of Darren Prince, famed celebrity and sports agent. He tells how he used marijuana in his youth and went on to develop an opioid addiction which almost cost him his life.