This article is shared with LebTown by content partner Spotlight PA.

By Spotlight PA Staff

In 2018, the newly established Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board successfully advocated for opioid use disorder to be added as one of the qualifying conditions for recommending cannabis, saying marijuana can offer pain relief, help with withdrawal symptoms, and work as an “exit drug” for heroin and other opiates.

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Some members of the board saw the expansion as another way for the state — which has one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — to fight the opioid epidemic.

But the kind of rigorous research needed to study the treatment can often stretch for many years, and the state’s research program faced some early challenges, including a lawsuit filed by a group of medical marijuana companies.

With the state research program in its early stages and evidence lacking, some experts remain divided on recommending marijuana to treat opioid use disorder.

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