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Concern over the use of medical marijuana to treat opioid addiction?

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 09:23:06-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Have you ever considered using medical marijuana to treat a pain, seizures or perhaps to wean yourself opioid use? One figure in Buffalo's medical community took to Twitter this Sunday to advocate against the use of medical cannabis to treat opioid addiction.

"Now we’re saying that marijuana can be used to treat pain and addiction and I have not seen the research for that, there is no medical research for that," CEO of Horizon Health Services Anne Constantino says. “They’re mood altering they’re mind altering, you have affects of work and raising families and community health so I think we do need to be concerned about this.”

Furthermore, Constantino thinks that opioids can have adverse affect on treating opioid addiction sometimes too.

“So it’s not a simple, (i.e.) medical marijuana is the panacea and cures everything, it doesn’t," Dr. Laszlo Metchler says, Director of the Cannabis Clinic at Dent Neurologic Institute in Amherst. “We just know that patients on medical marijuana, smoke less, drink less and use illicit drugs less.”

Metchler prescribes medical mariijuana to more than 7,000 patients who suffer from chronic pain and/or opioid use and is a strong supporter of the medical aid it provides based on the results his patients have seen. Of the patients he's prescribed, 81 percent have come off opioid's altogether or decreased their dosage.

“The bottom line is in today's world you need every tool you can have to treat this very ill population who have the potential on a day to day basis," Metchler said. “You have the right to ask me the question, ‘What percent of your patients get high?’ And I would say less than two percent... I’m not looking at people that want to get high, I'm looking at people that want to get better.”