Some Hope Cannabis for Medical Use the Answer to Ohio’s Opioid Crisis
Ohio first passed medical cannabis into law in 2016, but it took until January 2019 for the first store to open in that state. The law authorized patient use of cannabis with any of 21 conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis (MS). Patients must register with the state Board of Pharmacy, and must have a doctor’s “recommendation” — doctors can’t legally prescribed since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level in the United States.
Still, people turned out in droves on January 16, 2019 at the new dispensaries. Joan Caleodis was one of the first people in history to buy cannabis legally in Ohio.
“I’m feeling ecstatic,” Caleodis said according to an NBC report (click the link below for the full article). “The patients no longer have to wait for relief. We can get rid of this opioid issue we have in this country.”
Caleodis purchased the medical cannabis for pain relief associated with her MS. Total cost: $150 (US) for about 8.5 grams.
Still, it’s worth the cost to Caledois. She said that originally she was taking opioids – but she could feel the pull of addiction.
“I found myself taking double the amount prescribed and told myself, ‘I’m not going that route’. This is definitely better,” she said.
Can Medical Cannabis Reduce Opioid Addiction and Death?
Opioid-related deaths are a real problem in Ohio – it is in the top five states as ranked by overdose deaths, according to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Board of Pharmacy wouldn’t comment specifically on the advantages of cannabis for reducing opioid deaths, but at least one senator in Ohio thinks it will.
“Senator (Sherrod) Brown supports access to medical marijuana,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “He thinks the FDA and medical professionals should study all options for combating the opioid crisis.”
Other medical and related people interviewed for the article were mixed about the possible impact of cannabis on the opioid crisis. However, now that it is legalized in the state, it will be easier for someone to do the research. Canada could lead the way in research, though in the United States there is already cannabis research in California and Utah, among other places.
For patients like Caleodis who just want pain relief now, the opioid discussion is irrelevant.
“Sometimes I just can’t sleep. But tonight I think I will,” she said, referring to her cannabis for medical use.