CT: Opioid Withdrawal Considered For Medical Marijuana

Photo Credit: Mark Mirko

Proposals to allow prescriptions of medical marijuana in Connecticut for five additional diseases and disorders — including opioid withdrawal — will be on the agenda for a state public hearing in Hartford on Monday.

Other proposed medical marijuana conditions on the agenda for the state Board of Physicians hearing include: Albinism, Nystagmus, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and Progressive Degenerative Disc Disease of the Spine.

The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at 450 Columbus Boulevard in Hartford.

Connecticut already lists 22 different medical conditions that can qualify adults for prescriptions for medical pot, and six diseases and disorders that will allow a person under 18 to get a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana. Those diseases range from cancer to cerebral palsy, and all have been recommended by the state Board of Physicians and approved by the state commissioner of consumer protection.

State officials say there are now 23,889 people registered as medical marijuana patients in Connecticut and 834 doctors registered as having state authority to prescribe medical pot.

Here’s a quick look at the new medical conditions up for consideration at today’s hearing:

Opioid Use Disorder and Opiate Withdrawal: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were more than 42,000 opioid-related deaths in the U.S. in 2016 and health officials say the entire nation is suffering from a continuing epidemic of opioid addiction. Some medical experts believe medical marijuana can be used as a safer, less addictive painkiller and alternative to help addicts kick their opioid problems.

Albinism: A group of inherited disorders that result in little or no production of the pigment melanin, which determines the color of a person’s skin, hair and eyes. Melanin also plays a role in development of certain optical nerves, and albinism can cause issues with eye development and function, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Nystagmus: a condition that causes the eyes to make repetitive, uncontrolled movements that often result in reduced vision and depth perception as well as balance and coordination problems.

Osteogenesis Imperfecta: A genetic disorder that can cause bones that break easily for no apparent reason. The Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation cites evidence indicating that between 20,000 and 50,000 people in the U.S. suffer from this condition.

Progressive Degenerative Disc Disease of the Spine: A disease that refers to back or neck pain triggered by a wearing down of a spinal disc. Symptoms can include weakness, numbness and hot, shooting pain in legs or arms, according to Spine-Health.com.