Late last week, the New York State Department of Health announced the implementation of an emergency rule allowing for cannabis to be used as a substitute for treating conditions that an opioid medication may otherwise be prescribed for.
The rule, which is effective immediately, also enables patients with severe pain that doesn’t meet the chronic pain definition to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids. Additionally, it adds opioid use disorder as an associated condition.
“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 combatting the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state.”
While the new rule has been implemented on a temporary basis, the Department has commenced a process of permanently adopting the regulations.
In other New York medical cannabis news, within the next few days certified patients and designated caregivers will be able to print temporary registry ID cards, allowing them to buy medical marijuana products more rapidly under the state’s program.
The Department noted that there were 62,256 certified patients and 1,735 registered practitioners participating in state’s program as at July 10.
With the numbers of patients and cannabusinesses in New York State growing rapidly, its government has also turned its attention to banking challenges, with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently directing the state’s Department of Financial Services to guide the local finance sector on supporting banking services for medical cannabis and industrial hemp businesses.
In other related news, a report published last month in the Journal of Substance Abuse states mobile cannabis delivery patients are seeking cannabis to be delivered to them as an alternative to receiving conventional medical treatments – including as a substitute for opioids in treatment for chronic pain.
Last week, we also mentioned a study found medical cannabis legalization was associated with a 29.6% reduction in number of prescriptions of Schedule III opioid prescriptions under MedicAid – but strangely, no impact on Schedule II opioid medicine prescriptions.