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Giving Compass' Take:
• Governing magazine posted a recent report about medical marijuana's approval as a treatment for opioid addiction in Pennsylvania, the second state (after New Jersey) to greenlight such usage.
• As the Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health says in the report, this simply provides another tool for physicians to use, and with opioid addiction on the rise, it may help to have as many options as possible on the table.
• Here are three other ways to face down the opioid crisis.
The price of medical marijuana could fall dramatically for some patients by mid-summer. And the drug will soon be used to treat opioid withdrawal in Pennsylvania, which will become the second state after New Jersey to allow it for that purpose.
At a news conference in Harrisburg, Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said she had approved the sale of cannabis flower, the traditional smokable or vaporizable form of the plant.
"It's another tool," Levine said. "The whole idea of this program is to provide another tool in the toolbox of physicians to treat these conditions."
Allowing the use of cannabis to help wean people off of opioids may have the greatest impact on the state. New Jersey was the first to approve "addiction substitute therapy for opioid reduction" last month. By adding treatment for opioid withdrawal to the list of approved uses, Levine opened up the possibility for clinical research on the two drugs at state health systems.
"This is major news," said physician Sue Sisley, founder of the Scottsdale Research Institute, where she researches medical marijuana's effects on PTSD in veterans. "We have all these opioid task forces in so many states, and almost none of them even mention cannabis as a substitution for opioids as part of the treatment strategy."
Sisley called Levine's decision "courageous" but warned it could be politically "radioactive."
Read the full article about medical marijuana as a treatment for opioid addiction by Sam Wood at Tribune News Service, via Governing magazine.