Philadelphia to Treat Opioid Addiction with Medical Marijuana
The Pennsylvania Department of Health approved two major changes to the state’s medical marijuana program on Monday.
First, the health department added opioid addiction to the list of conditions eligible for treatment with medicinal cannabis. With that decision, Pennsylvania joins New Jersey as the only two states that have done so.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine told local media that marijuana won’t be the first treatment for addiction to opioids. Instead, doctors will try more traditional therapies first.
“It’s important to note that medical marijuana is not a substitute for proven treatments for opioid use disorder,” Dr. Levine said. “In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana will be available to patients if all other treatment fails, or if a physician recommends that it be used in conjunction with traditional therapies.”
Opioid addiction has exacted a grim toll in Pennsylvania, particularly in the state’s largest city, Philadelphia. Officials attribute about 1,200 deaths in the city in 2017 to drug overdoses.
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