Heroin and other opioids – highly effective painkillers that include oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl – have been consuming the small, high desert communities in the Southwest. The state of New Mexico has introduced harm-reduction efforts – like syringe exchange services, overdose training and the distribution of naloxone, an injection that can reverse the effects of an overdose – but New Mexicans are searching for ways to cut ties with opioid abuse altogether. On March 17th, two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions told law enforcement that marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than heroin, the New Mexico State Senate passed HB 527, a GOP-sponsored House bill aimed at modernizing the state’s strategies to combat multi-generational opioid abuse. “We’re hoping to make things easier on the patients enrolled in the program,” says state House Minority Leader Rep. Nate Gentry. “Medical cannabis has great potential as an opioid replacement drug and we want to move people away from being prescribed highly addictive opiates.
TRI’s position on the use of marijuana to treat Opioid Use Disorders is discussed in this article and noted below.
The Treatment Research Institute is committed to relying on scientifically-derived evidence and sound medical research to help guide effective treatment for substance use disorders. Until there is research that deems safe and successful outcomes for the use of FDA-approved, marijuana-derivative medications to treat a substance use disorder, it does not align with the currently available FDA-approved Medication Assisted Treatments for Opioid Use Disorders. While it is possible that marijuana could be useful, it has been very difficult to research the positive therapeutic effects. Without the supported research, we cannot endorse its use as an effective form of treatment. TRI supports the efforts of researchers, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that are exploring possible uses of THC and CBD for medical treatment that may help to reduce things like pain, inflammation, controlling seizures, etc. This research needs to be done in a robust fashion, in randomized controlled trials.