Legislators in Maryland want to add a new ailment to the list which makes a patient eligible for medical marijuana. Treating opioid abuse with medical marijuana may sound crazy, but it just might work.
Maryland State Delegate Sandy Rosenberg wants this medicinal marijuana to be "provided in a way that enhances the ability to lessen pain." The legislators would like to give health care providers "more tools in the tool belt of the doctors to be able to help patients in the State of Maryland," according to another Maryland State Delegate, Cheryl Glenn.
Treating Opioid Addiction
Treating opioid addiction is done by taking something else to lessen the urges. Doctors in Massachusetts started using cannabis for this purpose in 2015 and were successful.
In fact, research shows that in states where medicinal marijuana is available, many patients who suffer from various types of chronic pain will choose cannabis over the pharmaceutical industry's pills.
According to the previously linked article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "The most striking finding was that legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends."
Despite positive results seen in some research, there are some who still doubt medical marijuana's efficacy in treating opioid abuse.
Dr. Andrew Tompkins from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said "there is no conclusive scientific evidence in animals or humans that medical marijuana is or potentially could be an effective treatment for opioid use disorder. I fear that presenting a patient with the option, would pull patients away from effective treatments - further worsening the epidemic."
In addition to Dr. Andrew Tompkins, some Republicans such as Maryland State Delegate Kathy Szeliga disagree with using cannabis for treating opioid abuse. Further discussion on the topic is expected to continue.
For a brief summary of the developments in Maryland, check out the video below.