Rhode Island rejects medical pot use for opioid addiction

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Rhode Island Department of Health has rejected a request to make opioid dependency a qualifying condition for the state’s medical marijuana program.

The Providence Journal reports the state’s health director wrote in a decision last week that any debilitating disease, medical condition or treatment that causes chronic pain already qualifies under the program, so it is unnecessary to add opioid use disorder, or OUD.

The decision also cites a lack of research demonstrating that marijuana effectively treats OUD and says there’s no evidence including the condition would save lives.

It points to other medications like methadone and buprenorphine that effectively treat opioid dependency.

The department will revisit the decision in a year or two to see if there’s new research available.

State lawmakers approved medical marijuana use in 2007.