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New Regulation Allows Patients To Switch Opioid For Medical Marijuana

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New York State -

In an effort to reduce opioid abuse in the state, New York is allowing the use of medical marijuana as a replacement for opioid.

Effective immediately, the State Health Department announced the emergency rule Thursday.

The new regulations mean patients who would normally be prescribed opioids for any condition, like severe pain, can use medical marijuana  instead.

Under these new regulations, those suffering from opioid dependency will also qualify to receive medical cannabis, provided they are enrolled in a certified treatment program.

“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 combating the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state.”

Plans to add opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana were first announced in June, under Bill S8987A. The initiative was spearheaded by Senator George Amedore.