WIVBTV out of New York State, released the above commentary on public discourse in Maine regarding medical marijuana as a novel treatment for opiate addiction. Medical marijuana treats a range of health problems. In the U.S., opioid overdoses are the leading cause of preventable deaths killing approximately 100 Americans every day.
Maine might the first state in the U.S. to officially add opiate addiction and withdrawal as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. In Western New York, the location of the news cast, heroin addiction is an epidemic. It is also in the state of Maine.
Advocates in Maine say medical marijuana can ease symptoms of a heroin withdrawal. Medical cannabis can help with pain management. Pain is a common withdrawal symptom. Nearly 30 medical marijuana caregivers and patients told state regulators at a public hearing on Tuesday. Advocates also point out some medical marijuana prescriptions have been written for opiate addiction in Massachusetts, though it is not a specifically recognized as a treatable condition.
They say marijuana eases the symptoms of opiate withdrawal and offers a healthier alternative to the prescription painkillers that can lead to addiction. Studies show most addictions begin in the form of a pill bottle–an official opiate prescription.
Some doctors claim there is no, or not enough, scientific evidence that marijuana treats addiction. Others say it could help some people with their symptoms. Medical Cummings, local ECMC Associate Medical Doctor, says, in some states medical marijuana is used to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
When you look at people with drug abuse, many have these symptoms. In theory, according to Dr. Cummings, you could perhaps alleviate those symptoms and treat drug abuse in those individuals.
As of 28 April, 2016, the release date of the video, medical marijuana was prescribed in 25 states, for a variety of medical conditions. Dr. Cummings says it unlikely to see medical marijuana prescribed for opiate withdrawal, in the state of New York, in the near future.
One study, out of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP), found medical cannabis benefited habitual opioid using chronic pain patients. Data gathered showed improvements in pain reduction, quality of life, social life, activity levels, and concentration, and little adverse side effects, after using cannabis for one year after enrolling in MCP.
Medical marijuana has shown promise when it comes to treating opiate withdrawal and associated pain, but further studies are needed. If you live in a state with medical marijuana, you can speak your doctor on the possible benefits of marijuana for opiate addiction. They are best qualified to help you.