Connecticut doctors deny medical marijuana in opioid addiction fight

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A board of physicians in Connecticut rejected the addition of opioid addiction as a condition treatable by medical marijuana but added degenerative spine disease to the qualifying list. That makes seven total conditions that are pending review by state regulators.

If the seven are added, Connecticut will allow 29 conditions to be treated with medical marijuana. So far, the state’s patient pool has been progressing at a good clip, with more than 26,000 patients added since 2014.

But denying the addition of opioid addiction as a treatable condition is a setback to the marijuana companies in the state. Connecticut doesn’t allow medical cannabis to be recommended for chronic pain, which also is restricting the state’s MMJ businesses.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • According to the Hartford Courant, the nine-person board – it’s comprised of eight doctors along with the Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull – couldn’t differentiate the pain-relieving qualities of cannabis from its effect on withdrawal symptoms as patients try to kick their addiction to painkillers.
  • If the recommendation had gone the other way, Connecticut would have joined Pennsylvania and New Jersey in allowing cannabis to be recommended to treat opioid addiction.
  • This is a separate issue from states such as New York and Illinois, which are poised to allow medical marijuana to be recommended as a substitute for opioids that have been prescribed for pain.