Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Investigates Whether Cannabis is Effective Against Opioid Addiction

maryland medical cannabis

We all know our country is struggling to find ways to battle the destructive opioid epidemic. The state of Maryland is facing its own battle with over 49,000 residents suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD). With over 30 states now on-bored with medical or recreational cannabis, some are considering it as a possible treatment for addiction to drugs like oxycodone and heroin. But does it work?

maryland medical cannabis

States that have implemented medical cannabis laws have seen a reduction in opioid prescriptions for patients on Medicaid and Medicare health plans. These states are also seeing a drop in opioid overdose deaths. So why isn’t Maryland including cannabis as a treatment for OUD? Here is an overview of what the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission recently reported.

Can Maryland Medical Cannabis Treat Opioid Use Disorder?

The growing anecdotal evidence is clear – medical cannabis can be a useful tool for treating opioid cravings and easing the uncomfortable symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. Opioid patients also report that cannabis helps them sleep and reduces the intensity of cravings.

maryland medical cannabis doctor with flower and tincture

The fact is, cannabis poses less of a risk than current FDA-approved opioid-based treatments like methadone. Patients see better treatment outcomes when they have access to cannabis, and many health care providers have seen high-dose opiate patients significantly reduce or eliminate opiates with the use of cannabis. So why isn’t Maryland using cannabis is fight OUD?

Why isn’t Opioid Use Disorder a Qualifying Condition in Maryland?

The Maryland State Assembly considered adding OUD to the list of qualifying conditions that can be treated by medical cannabis, but some national groups were against the idea. Their concern was over creating additional drug dependency, and the lack of clinical evidence.

But here’s the catch…

The main reason there is a lack of clinical evidence on the benefits of cannabis for OUD is that it’s classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government. This classification has severely limited most medical cannabis research, forcing the cannabis community to rely on anecdotal evidence (what patients self-report).

Fortunately, the DEA’s view on cannabis and its medical potential is beginning to change. With the growing number of states that now have laws which allow medical or recreational cannabis use, the DEA acknowledges there is a need for serious medical research.

Cannabis for OUD isn’t a new idea, and a number of states in the US are considering adding cannabis as an addiction treatment. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have already approved cannabis for opioid addiction, which could promote the idea on a national level.

The bottom line?

As of now, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission acknowledges that even though there is mounting anecdotal evidence for using cannabis for addiction, the scientific evidence is not there yet. Based on their medical literature review, the commission’s position is that medication-assisted treatments with drugs like methadone and naltrexone are best.

maryland medical cannabis Remedy Columbia Team
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If you’d like to try cannabis for one of the many conditions that do currently qualify in Maryland, we’d love to help. Schedule a visit or just drop by. We can’t wait to see you!

What Patients Should Know About Cannabis for Palliative Care

Cannabis for Palliative Care

The role that cannabis can play in managing or treating a variety of conditions or symptoms is becoming clearer every day. With the rapid progress of legalization in the country, new and more effective products are being developed to alleviate pain and suffering. While more research must be done before cannabis can be definitively linked to curing certain illnesses, many patients who require comfort in the later stages of a terminal condition turn to cannabis for palliative care.

Cannabis for Palliative Care dropper and vial

The Pain-Relieving Properties of Cannabis

Cannabis is increasingly recognized by doctors and scientists alike for its potent analgesic properties. Within cannabis lies several chemical components that contribute to its ability to relieve pain, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly called THC) and cannabidiol (referred to as CBD). Each plays a particular role in cannabis’s effectiveness in reducing pain and other distressing symptoms, such as vomiting and nausea.

THC is famous for its psychoactive properties, but the chemical has proven to be an ideal panacea for pain as well. As THC is responsible for the powerful high that often accompanies cannabis, high THC strains can be especially useful for patients in palliative care. For certain conditions that require extreme potency, large quantities of THC can be an effective tool for providing comfort and relief.

CBD, in comparison, does not instigate a recognizable cannabis high when applied in concentrated forms. Rather, CBD offers patients the anodyne qualities of cannabis without the associated high. For patients who desire the painkilling effects of cannabis without a psychoactive experience, CBD has become a popular option when available.

The Effectiveness of Cannabis for Palliative Care

While every patient will require a treatment suited specifically for them, cannabis can be the right option to alleviate suffering for those afflicted by a debilitating illness. In particular, the powerful properties of THC and CBD in combination with each other have been shown to assuage severe pain and anguish.

Cannabis for Palliative Care bud between oils

As opposed to traditional painkillers, patients seeking out cannabis for palliative care prefer a natural medicine without the negative side-effects that can accompany prescription drugs. Indeed, many patients choose cannabis as an alternative to potentially problematic medications like opioids.

Patients often find that cannabis offers the same or greater efficacy in pain management compared to pharmaceuticals. As more research is done into cannabis as medicine, the potential is clear for strides to be made in unlocking the healing power of its constituent chemicals.

Ideal Cannabis for Palliative Care

When considering the use of marijuana for serious or terminal conditions, patients must always consult a doctor to determine the course of treatment that is appropriate for them. Furthermore, employees at cannabis care providers will often be equipped with the necessary knowledge to connect patients with the products best suited for their individual ailment.

Cannabis for Palliative Care doctor with plant

In general, indica strains are known to be more potent than sativas and possess sleep-inducing effects can be ideal for patients suffering from chronic and debilitating pain. While strains vary drastically in both quality and effects, indicas typically provide an embracing body high capable of melting away physical distress.

Edibles (or “medibles”) are also a potential avenue of exploration for patients seeking cannabis for palliative care. As edibles are usually much stronger than other forms of cannabis, they can act as long-lasting pain relievers. In addition, many patients may have conditions that prevent them from inhaling cannabis smoke, thus making edibles a safer and preferable option.

Want to learn more? Stop by our Columbia, Maryland, Dispensary—our staff is happy to help!