New York Department of Health to Allow Medical Cannabis as an Opioid Replacement

Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Health announced new emergency regulations to allow patients prescribed opioids to be given a license to obtain medicinal cannabis as an alternative.

Opioids are synthetic based medicines that product effects similar to morphine. They are primarily used for pain management and are prescribed often by practitioners. Unfortunately the use of them has caused a wide spread epidemic. 91 Americans die everyday from opioid overdoses, more than car accidents and guns.

Medicinal cannabis has recently been found to be an all natural alternative to using opioids for the management of pain. Cannabis can also reduce the chance for dependence and as opposed to opioids, patients cannot overdose when consuming the plant. Most patients have reported that it is just as affection as using opioids.

Patients that qualify for this program will be given temporary registry ID cards that will allow them to purchase their medical cannabis.

“Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain that may also reduce the chance of opioid dependence,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combatting the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state.”

Opioid replacement joins the following 12 qualifying conditions under the state’s Medical Marijuana Program: cancer; HIV infection or AIDS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis; spinal cord injury with spasticity; epilepsy; inflammatory bowel disease; neuropathy; Huntington’s disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; and chronic pain.