New Mexico Expands Medical Marijuana Program with Addition of Six Conditions
New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel’s expansion of medical cannabis access fulfills one of Gov. Grisham’s campaign pledges.
New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is opening its doors to more patients, thanks to a policy change revising the state’s list of qualifying conditions. On Thursday, New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel signed off on the addition of six new qualifying conditions. But the one expected to draw the most new patients into New Mexico’s program is opioid dependency.
With the move, New Mexico joins a number of other states that have updated their medical marijuana programs to address the ongoing opioid epidemic. Health Secretary Kunkel also added a handful of other conditions that fewer states consider qualifying, including autism, Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neurological disorders.
New Mexico Is the Latest State Turning to Cannabis to Curb Opioids
The United States medical community is desperately searching for alternatives to prescription opioids, or at least something that can reduce the number of opioid medications doctors prescribe. Meanwhile, prescription opioid abuse and illicit use have become a national health crisis. In 2017, the average national rate of opioid-involved overdose deaths was 14.6 per 100,000 persons. That same year in New Mexico, the rate was 16.7 deaths per 100,000. According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those numbers have not significantly changed over the last several years.
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