According to the Denver Post report, Colorado has been trying to bring down the ongoing opioid crisis by passing a bill that will allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for certain conditions associated with severe pain.
On Thursday, the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, signed Senate Bill 13. The new law will go into effect on August 2 after passing through Colorado’s General Assembly.
Dr. Stephanie Stewart, a physician in Colorado, said, “This will substitute marijuana for an FDA-approved medication – something that’s unregulated for something that’s highly regulated.”
According to the Colorado law, doctors are allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to patients who struggle with cancer, HIV and AIDS, PTSD, glaucoma or other chronic medical condition that cause severe pain, nausea, and seizures. The new law includes all medical conditions in which opioids could be recommended.
Although the bipartisan legislation is a win for medical marijuana backers, it has raised concerns among some addiction-centric healthcare professionals.
Dr. Stewart said, “Our real concern is that a patient would go to a physician with a condition that has a medical treatment with evidence behind it, and then instead of that treatment, they would be recommended marijuana instead.”
People who support the new law said it is a safer form of therapy that would help limit the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States. More than 130 people die due to opioid overdose every day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Ashley Weber, executive director of Colorado NORML, which is a pro-marijuana advocacy group, said, “Adding a condition for which a physician could recommend medical marijuana instead of an opioid is a safer pain management tool that will be useful for both our doctors and patients.” The law applies to Colorado people under and over the age of 18. Those who are under 18, who are prescribed medical marijuana, must take it in an edible form if they are using it on school grounds or transportation.