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Cindy Shebley

On Monday, Connecticut’s state medical marijuana board voted against a proposal to add opioid use disorder and opiate withdrawal as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis, the Hartford Courant reports. The proposal would have been one of the first in the country to clearly identify medical marijuana as a treatment for opioid addiction.

The nine-member board, consisting of the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection and eight medical doctors, claimed they could not separate cannabis’ effects on withdrawal symptoms from its pain-relieving effects. Without discussing treatment of chronic pain with cannabis instead of opioids, the board decided not to approve the proposal. Several board members claimed the research had not been done.

“In terms of curtailing cravings, we just don’t have the evidence. It’s just too open; it’s just too unknown.” — Jonathan Kost, Director of the Pain Treatment Center at Hartford Hospital, via the Courant.

The Connecticut State Medical Society was also against the proposal. The Society said trying to beat an opiate addiction with cannabis instead of buprenorphine, a drug that satisfies opiate cravings without producing a high, could be disastrous.

Advocates in the state expect to place chronic pain on the list of qualifying conditions in the future, hopefully then allowing opiate addicts a chance at switching to cannabis.

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