Ohio’s Medical Board is accepting petitions on adding qualifying conditions through the end of the year and will consult with experts before making a decision sometime next year. Cannabis products are expected to become available in Ohio dispensaries in the next few months following delays in rolling out the program.
Some experts don’t think treating opioid addiction with marijuana is a good idea, including Dr. Mark Hurst, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Hurst declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press, but he told the Cincinnati Enquirer in August: ‘‘There is no scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective treatment for opioid addiction.’’
Brad Lander, a clinical psychologist in the department of addiction medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, is also skeptical. He said marijuana impairs judgment, motor control, and memory, and is linked to amotivational syndrome, which causes apathy and a decreased interest in activities.
‘‘Patients smoking marijuana don’t have the real motivation to do therapy to maintain long-term recovery or improve their lives,’’ Lander told the AP.
Lander does agree with Leeds that there could be a possible short-term use for medical marijuana: easing the harsh withdrawal symptoms from tapering off buprenorphine, an opioid-like drug used by people in recovery to stave off cravings for heroin and prescription painkillers.
Lander said he is also open to the possibility of using CBD oil, which contains only tiny amounts of the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes the user high if it’s proven effective in treating addiction.
Ohio has had one of the highest per capita overdose deaths rates in the country with opioids largely contributing to more than 4,800 unintentional fatal overdoses last year. Leeds, who will ask the Medical Board to also add anxiety as a qualifying condition, noted that unlike opioids, it’s virtually impossible to die from a marijuana overdose.
In suburban Dayton, John Helpling said he used a variety of prescription pain medications after lower back surgery in 2007 left him with peripheral neuropathy and a burning pain in his foot. The 57-year-old said pain pills ‘‘pretty much make me feel useless.’’
He began a regimen of CBD oil and marijuana earlier this year and thinks he’s on a path to putting his life back in order. He said he stopped taking prescription medications in April and has spoken with his doctor about obtaining legal cannabis products when they become available in Ohio.
To finish reading this article, click here: