There is a long list of conditions which are effectively being treated with medical marijuana, and addiction to opioids could soon be added to that list. Maine is taking steps to become the first state to recognize addiction as a condition which qualifies for cannabis treatment.
Ironic, Isn’t It?
The DEA still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as heroin, ecstasy, and bath salts. This means that the DEA feels cannabis “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” – a ridiculous notion for the more than 1 million medical marijuana patients in the U.S.
While the federal government lags behind, states like Maine are exploring the idea that cannabis could actually be an effective way to treat people who are addicted to heroin, methadone, and other opioid narcotics. In a public hearing on April 19th, a number of patients stepped forward to share their own experiences with heroin and marijuana.
Patients Say It Works
Many former heroin addicts told a similar story, and one that has raised international concern about the way heroin addiction should be treated. These patients would try to quit heroin, start treatment with highly addictive methadone, and then relapse.
These individuals, however, also spoke to how self-treatment with cannabis has changed their lives. They claim that marijuana helps them ease the withdrawal systems, and can help them keep the cravings at bay.
Nearly 30 people spoke at the hearing to support treatment with cannabis, while only 4 individuals spoke in opposition to the proposal. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services now has 180 days to respond to the petition.
Not Enough Research Yet, But The Evidence Is Strong
Prescription painkiller abuse, specifically opioids, is a growing and alarming problem in the U.S. In 2014, nearly 1 in 4 Maine residents was prescribed an opioid. The number of drug overdoses in the state has consistently risen over the last few years – from 155 in 2011 to 208 in 2014, with the number jumping to 272 in 2015. Dawson Julia, a Caregiver from Unity, cited research which found that the rate of opioid overdose deaths are 25% lower in medical marijuana states.
While the petition is still under consideration, we are thankful that states across the nation are continuing to look into cannabis as a treatment for many medical conditions. In the meantime, The Station will continue to provide top-shelf medicine to the medical marijuana patients in Boulder, Colorado. Visit us today to learn more!