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Ohio Might Consider Adding Opiate Addiction to Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana


As more states consider legalizing medical marijuana, others who have already made this leap are continuously expanding their programs so that more patients have access to a safe alternative medicine. When Ohio legalized medical marijuana, they included a list of 21 qualifying conditions – with roughly 3.5 million residents who qualify – and a stipulation that the State Medical Board of Ohio would be required to review petitions for new conditions each year.

The board began accepting petitions last week and will continue to collect them through the end of the year. Petitions are submitted online through the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program website and the review of the detailed petitions will start on January 1st – with decisions for each required no later than June 30th. Each petition must include an array of information to support the suggestion that medical marijuana would be useful as a treatment for the condition.

Dr. F. Stuart Leeds has been in the process of gathering all the information and research needed to submit a petition to the State Medical Board to add opiate addiction to the list of qualifying conditions. Opioid addiction – or opioid use disorder – is a qualifying condition in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with Ohio and a handful of others considering it as a new addition to their list thanks to recent research suggesting it could help people beat addiction.

“Patients have been conducting their own self-experiments on a variety of street drugs for decades,” said Leeds, who practices and teaches family medicine at Wright State University outside of Dayton. “They know more about what marijuana will do for their chronic pain and addiction problems than we do.”

While Leeds – as well as many other doctors both in Ohio and across the country – are looking at cannabis as a safe alternative to opiates, others are weary of treating addiction with cannabis. However, when you look at the current method of treating patients for opiates – with more opiates, like methadone – why would you be concerned about using a natural substance that has been proven to be significantly safer?

Though the potential of cannabis for the treatment of opiate addiction is not as researched as other conditions, such as chronic pain, there is certainly more than enough evidence to see its potential.