One Possible Use of Medical Marijuana in Ohio: Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Advocates of Ohio’s coming medical-marijuana program say they hope to enlist the drug not just to help individuals avoid opioids for pain treatment but to break the addiction epidemic’s hold on the Buckeye State. Ohio’s medical-marijuana program is scheduled to begin Sept. 8, but growing and processing are behind schedule, so the product will not be available until later this year. Ohioans with at least one of 21 qualifying conditions can obtain a doctor’s recommendation to purchase marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries.

This summer, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania became the first of the 31 states with medical marijuana programs to allow doctors to treat opioid use with medical marijuana. The Ohio Patient Network, an advocacy organization, intends to ask the state to add it when the list is reviewed in November. people who are not crazy about the idea point out there is little clinical research directly measuring medical marijuana’s impact on opioid use.

Yet the body of research on medical marijuana and opioid addiction is growing, with promising trends. A 2014 study from the University of Pennsylvania found a 25 percent lower rate of opioid overdoses in states with medical marijuana than in those that didn’t. The drop in overdoses “generally strengthened over time,” the study said. A 2016 University of Michigan study of 185 medical-marijuana patients found a 64 percent reduction in their opioid use. The patients also reported fewer opioid side effects and a major improvement in quality of life. Medical marijuana can fight the opioid epidemic by being the first choice for pain treatment, before opioids. Medical marijuana could also complement opioids, making both drugs more effective on pain. Patients also could use marijuana like methadone, as a way to wean away from opioids.

Frank T. Luciano is a highly successful and experienced drug crime attorney operating in multiple areas throughout Northern New Jersey, including Hackensack, Jersey City, Elmwood Park and Fort Lee. In nearly 40 years as a criminal defense attorney, there is almost no legal situation that Mr. Luciano has not seen and successfully navigated his clients through.

Give yourself the best chance at a positive legal outcome by contacting Frank T. Luciano’s New Jersey law office immediately at 973-471-0004.

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