Maine could be first state to prescribe medical marijuana for opiate addiction

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Medical marijuana is used to treat a variety of health problems. Now the State of Maine could be the first to use it to help drug addicts.

The heroin epidemic is one that hits close to home here in Western New York and it’s also a problem in the state of Maine. Advocates there say medical marijuana can ease symptoms of a heroin withdrawal.

Supporters say it has been prescribed for opiate addiction in other states like Massachusetts. But according to the Maine Medical Association, Maine would be the first state to specifically add opiate addiction as a qualifying condition.

While some doctors say there is no scientific evidence that claims marijuana effectively treats addiction, it could help some people with other symptoms.

“In some states anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and the like are diagnoses that they can be used for and certainly when you look at individuals with drug abuse there’s a lot of individuals with this psychiatric diagnoses. So in theory the use of marijuana or other substances like that could reduce those symptoms and help treat and reduce the use of drug use in those individuals,” said Michael Cummings, ECMC Associate Medical Director.

Medical marijuana is currently prescribed in 25 different states for a variety of different medical conditions. Doctor Cumming’s said he thinks it’s unlikely that medical marijuana would be used to treat withdrawal symptoms in New York state in the near future.

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