CLEVELAND — A physician and medical professor in Ohio believes medical cannabis should be used as a treatment for opioid addiction in a state that witnessed a groundbreaking rate of overdose deaths in 2017.
Dr. F. Stuart Leeds has been conducting research studies, which will be presented to the Ohio State Medical Board as it wants to increase the present list of illness which is qualified for medical cannabis. According to Leeds some of the most profound research originates from his patients, many of whom are suffering from opioid addiction.
Leeds also said that patients have been carrying out personal research based on a wide range of street drugs for decades. Leeds is currently a teacher of family medicine at Wright State University on the outskirts of Dayton. Patients clearly understand the positive effects of marijuana on chronic pain and addiction problems than we do.
Leeds is currently among the physicians in Ohio who cannot prescribe medical marijuana. However, he can recommend the drug for 21 qualifying medical conditions, including epilepsy and chronic pain. New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are three other medical marijuana states in which patients are qualified to use medical marijuana as a treatment for opioid addiction.
Currently, the Medical Board of Ohio is welcoming appeals on adding qualifying conditions through the end of the year and will seek advice from professionals before making the final decision in 2019. It’s anticipated that Cannabis infused products will be available in Ohio dispensaries in the upcoming months after a few setbacks in implementing the program.
According to some health experts like Dr. Mark Hurst, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, opioid addiction should not be treated with marijuana. Hurst never gave information to The Associated Press, but three months ago, he told the Cincinnati Enquirer that there is no scientific proof which states that marijuana can be effectively used to treat opioid addiction.
A clinical psychologist called Brad Lander who works in the department of addiction medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, thinks medical marijuana should not be used to treat opioid addiction because it impairs judgment, motor control, and memory, and is connected to a motivational syndrome, which leads to a lack of interest in activities.
Lander told the AP that patients who consume cannabis lack the inspiration to do therapy to stabilize long-term recovery or improve wellbeing.
Lander acknowledged Leeds statement which says that there could be a potential short-term use for medical marijuana which includes relieving the severe withdrawal symptoms from tapering off buprenorphine, an opioid-infused drug used by people in recovery to prevent heroin addiction and prescription painkillers.
Lander said he could be a potential user of CBD oil, which consist of little or no psychoactive compounds in the cannabis plant if it’s conclusively proven to treat opioid addiction.
In 2017, Ohio contributed to more than 4,800 unintentional fatal overdoses which were one of the highest per capita overdose deaths rates in the country. Leeds plans on asking the Medical Board to include anxiety as a qualifying condition, and he further stated that in contrast to opioids, patients couldn’t die from marijuana overdose.
In suburban Dayton, John Helpling stated that he used several prescription pain medications when he had a lower back surgery in 2007 which made him suffer from peripheral neuropathy and burning pain in his foot. According to the 57-year-old, pain pills are not active.
Earlier this year, Helpling started a regimen of CBD oil and marijuana and believed he’s successfully getting back to normal. In April, Helping stopped taking prescription medications, and he consulted with his doctor about accessing legal cannabis products in Ohio when they become available.
Helpling said he’s feeling better and healthier and he feels like he has a purpose in life.
On Sept. 8, cannabis products were supposed to become available, but the date has been canceled due to setbacks in the processes of application and certification process for companies striving to cultivate, test, and distribute cannabis-infused products. Helpling also stated that buying legal medical marijuana from dispensaries is a preferable alternative than the black market because it lacks impurities and toxic pesticides.
According to Leeds, there’s little data on whether cannabis can be used as a treatment for opioid addiction; thus, doctors will have to review ‘‘what the lesser evil might be.’’
Leeds finally stated that this would be a nervous approach. However, the government must acknowledge that marijuana has medicinal value.