A meeting in Hartford will take place over the summer where doctors will discuss medical marijuana as a viable option for treating opioid abuse and withdrawal. Two recently published studies regarding reduced opioid prescriptions written and/or filled where medical marijuana is legal will also be considered. The Medical Marijuana Program Board of Physicians will make a decision following their gathering.
The Compassionate Care Center in Bethel has seen patients stop using opioids completely once medical marijuana was available to them, News Times reports. A majority of exerts do agree that cannabinoid implementation results in positive effects regarding pain management. Some even say that medical marijuana should be an option for treating pain before opioids.
Dr. Vincent Carlesi said, “Cannabinoids have been a real breakthrough for us in terms of pain management, and we have to be open-minded about how we use it. It doesn’t work for everyone, bur for those who do, they use much less opioids and some have been able to completely wean themselves off.”
Angela D’Amico, a co-founder of Compassionate Care Center, said, “I had a patient with Crohn’s disease who was on a methadone treatment. We got him off the methadone and now he is off the marijuana.”
D’Amico also said, “On any given day I have parents reaching out to me for help whose children were recently released from rehab, but my hands are tied, there is nothing I can do.”
Opioid-related deaths are still a cause for major concern in Connecticut – especially with the availability of synthetic opioid options like synthetic fentanyl.
- David Bradford, a study author, said, “In this time when we are so concerned – rightly so – about opiate misuse and abuse, and the mortality that’s occurring, we need to be clear-eyed and use evidence to drive our policies.”
Bradford also said, “If you’re interested in giving people options for pain management that don’t bring the particular risks that opiates do, states should contemplate turning on dispensary-based cannabis policies.”
Some physicians remain on the fence about marijuana being a viable and effective option for treating pain and opioid use/abuse.
Dr. J. Craig Allen is calling for more training to ensure that doctors writing medical marijuana prescriptions understand the condition they’re prescribing for, as well as addiction and mental health training.
Dr. Allen said, “We have to be cautious about why we are approving cannabinoids for certain diagnoses. There has to be more research, and unfortunately there is a lot of difficulty with that right now.”
Carlesi said, “we will listen to both sides of and look at the pros and cons of the decision. No drug is perfect but we have to look at the worst of the evils and weigh the risks.”
The meeting between doctors is expected to be scheduled for June or July. A vote will also be taken during that gathering.