Last week Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed legislation that will allow doctors in the state to recommend medical cannabis for any ailment or condition they would prescribe opioids for.
With evidence mounting that marijuana is helping people get away from opioids and the problems that come with addiction to them, this is great news for patients in Colorado and a good precedent for other states around the country to look to. There is no reason that patients everywhere shouldn’t have the choice of cannabis for their pain.
The legislation itself passed through the Colorado House and Senate quite easily, being approved by a vote of 33-2 in the Senate – showing just how far advanced the state is on these issues. But, of course, not everyone is pleased with the progress in Colorado.
“Our real concern is that a patient would go to a physician with a condition that has a medical treatment with evidence behind it, and then instead of that treatment, they would be recommended marijuana instead,” said Stephanie Stewart, a physician in Aurora, CO who cares for addicted patients.
“This will substitute marijuana for an FDA-approved medication – something that’s unregulated for something that’s highly regulated,” she added.
So, to recap, her concerns are two-fold. She’s worried about giving doctors too much leeway to treat their patients – which is literally their job – and she’s worried that some patients may choose something unregulated that can’t kill you over something that is regulated and kills tens of thousands of people in this country every year. As far as worries go, those seem pretty mild to me.
As someone who has seen firsthand the power cannabis has when it comes to getting someone away from the destructive effects of opioids, I have no problem saying every doctor and patient should have the choice.
And if Dr. Stephanie Stewart is so worried about addicted patients, why is she fighting to keep people on opioids and bar them from a safer choice. When some of those people die from those opioids, will their families get an apology? Where is the concern?
Even if there were zero evidence that marijuana helps those who use opioids, doctors and patients should still have the option. But with evidence growing with each passing month that it does, how can those who justify denying that option sleep at night?