In the fight for medical marijuana, there has been no more compelling of a battleground than opioid addiction. Both U.S. and Canadian governments have dubbed the rapid increase in overdoses to be a crisis or epidemic. Meanwhile, cannabis has demonstrated itself to be the potential key to unlocking the addictive cycles, adding to the urgency in passing more effective medical marijuana laws. In New York, emergency rules have been put in place to allow medical marijuana as an opioid replacement. Yet in Ontario, where medical marijuana is permitted at the federal level for a variety of conditions, workers are still having opioids pushed on them.
New York state Department of Health recently added opioid dependency to the list of 12 other conditions that qualify patients for medical marijuana recommendations, according to Marijuana Moment. Chronic pain, one of the key issues opioids are used to treat, is already on the list, but specifically adding opioid substitution gives doctors the freedom to recommend cannabis to those with opioid addictions regardless of the reason they started taking them. Officials are hoping this strategy reduces the number of opioid deaths, noting that states with pro-medical marijuana laws on the books have seen a 30 percent drop in opioid prescriptions for Medicaid users. Continue reading