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Ohio Physician Proposes Medical Cannabis as Remedy for Opioid Use Disorder

(Winter 2018) Dr. F. Stuart Leeds, an Ohio doctor and Wright State University medical professor, plans on approaching the State Medical Board of Ohio with a proposal to use medical marijuana as an opioid addiction treatment. At this time, three other states (Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey) list opioid use disorder as a valid condition for medical marijuana use.

Ohio ranks high on the national list of per capita overdose fatalities. Leeds argues that people are dying from opioids, whereas the chance of perishing from a marijuana overdose is practically nonexistent.

However, opponents of this approach say the scientific backing is not there. Others cite that cannabis interferes with judgment, muscle control and memory. Detractors also note that the drug is associated with amotivational syndrome, which leads to a reduced interest in activities, including a decrease in motivation to be involved in recovery therapy.

As a middle ground, though, medical marijuana could be used to tamp down the effects of gradually stopping the use of buprenorphine, a medication-assisted therapy for those wishing to break free from heroin and prescription opioids. Additionally, CBD oil derived from hemp may be a viable option if further research shows proof of aiding the recovery process, as it has only trace amounts of THC, the substance which gives cannabis users a “high.”

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