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Connecticut Rejects Adding Opioid Withdrawal to Medical Marijuana Program

Cannabis States

On July 2, the Connecticut Board of Physicians rejected the proposal to include opioid withdrawal as a qualifying condition for access to medical marijuana. The board includes nine panel members. One of the reasons for the rejection was that they were unable to discern how marijuana affects withdrawal symptoms other than alleviating pain.

Some of the board members cite a lack of research as a reason the condition wasn’t supported by the board, the Hartford Courant reports. One panel member, Vincent Carlesi, says that some of his patients have reduced their use of opioids with the help of medical marijuana. He did say, however, that he wasn’t sure if marijuana helped with withdrawal symptoms.

Board member Jonathan Kost said, “In terms of curtailing cravings, we just don’t have the evidence. It’s just too open; it’s just too unknown.”

Head of pain and palliative medicine at Connecticut Children’s William Zempsky said, “I’d rather do this as a chronic pain issue than a chronic use issue. The longer I’m involved in medical marijuana, the more I shift towards [adding] chronic pain.”

Several personal statements to the board acknowledge that medical marijuana helped them stop using opioids. But, the research and scientific data is lacking for the board to support the addition of opioid withdrawal to the medical marijuana program’s qualifying conditions list.

Some of the industry’s businesses in the state said that it would have boosted the state’s patient count. It isn’t said whether a study or further scrutiny of the issue will take place in the future.