Blue Flower

The rediscovery of cannabis’s medical use (aka pot or marijuana) is a very interesting recent development with the growing acceptance of the medical use of marijuana. Cannabis utility in treating opioid addiction is being rediscovered and documented by numerous medical journal articles.

Acceptance of a positive drug test for marijuana coupled with traditional patient counselling is more likely to achieve long term positive result versus substituting one addictive opioid drug for another addictive opioid drug. This is compatible with the Center for Disease Control Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain [1] recommendations.

"Clinicians should not test for substances for which results would not affect patient management or for which implications for patient management are unclear. For example, experts noted that there might be uncertainty about the clinical implications of a positive urine drug test for tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC).”

Additionally in the CDC report

“Clinicians should not dismiss patients from care based on a urine drug test result because this could constitute patient abandonment and could have adverse consequences for patient safety, potentially including the patient obtaining opioids from alternative sources and the clinician missing opportunities to facilitate treatment for substance use disorder."

Several years ago this subject came up during a debate between Ohio Patient Network’s Executive Director Rob Ryan and Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine. The Attorney General’s whole argument of marijuana being a Gateway drug was flipped to Marijuana being a Gateway off the hard drugs. More recently Ohio Patient Network was part of panel discussion with the local judicial, health & drug treatment professionals in Portsmouth Ohio. (Note: Portsmouth was the epicenter of the Ohio’s opioid epidemic.) Marijuana, as either a substitute or part of adjunct therapy, was accepted by the members of audience and the panel.

Even the DEA had to recently capitulate to a legal challenge based on the United States Information Quality Act. The DEA was charged with promoting numerous false statement (such as marijuana being a gateway to harder drugs). Their document “The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse” has been recently removed.[2]

Now is the time to bury the false classification of marijuana as a dangerous, addictive drug with no medical use; and use it to mitigate the effects of the truly addictive and dangerous drugs. See OPN’s brochure Addiction and Cannabis for more information.[3]

OPN is currently working on assembling the necessary supporting data and will petition the Ohio Medical Board to add addiction to Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program as a Qualifying condition.

1-Dowell D, Haegerich TM, Chou R. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016. MMWR Recomm Rep 2016;65(No. RR-1):1–49. DOI: