Rhode Island rejects medical marijuana as treatment for opioid addiction

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The Rhode Island Department of Health declined to make opioid dependency a qualifying condition for the state’s medical marijuana program – a setback to MMJ companies that might have enjoyed a boost in sales if it had seen approval.

The state’s health director wrote in a decision that any debilitating disease, medical condition or treatment that causes chronic pain already qualifies under the program, so it is unnecessary to add opioid use disorder (OUD).

The decision also cited a lack of research demonstrating that marijuana effectively treats OUD and said there was no evidence that including the condition would save lives.

It pointed to other medications like methadone and buprenorphine that effectively treat opioid dependency.

The department will revisit the decision in a year or two to see if there’s new research available.

The program has been on the upswing in recent months, with increased patient numbers and doctors writing recommendations for MMJ. State lawmakers approved medical marijuana use in 2007.

Associated Press