On Thursday, New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel approved the addition of six debilitating conditions to the state’s current medical marijuana program.
The conditions include opioid use disorder, autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body Disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Friedreich’s Ataxia. Out of the new additions, the one that is expected to draw the most number of patients is the opioid use disorder. With this move, Nex Mexico has joined a handful of other states who have recently added the said disorder to the list of qualifying debilitating conditions for medical marijuana.
Confirming that the changes are already into effect, Gov. Michelle Grisham added, “Compassion must guide our decision-making. Today marks a significant and long-overdue step forward after a lot of years of the status quo.”
The total number of conditions that now qualify under the state’s MM program is 28. Reportedly, most of the 73,000 patients currently enrolled are taking the drug for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Adding these ailments to the existing medical marijuana program bestows medical providers with new tools for relieving symptoms that may otherwise be difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to relieve via conventional means,” said Secretary Kunkel.
Cannabis serves as an effective alternative to opioid painkillers
The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis and it’s high time that effective alternatives, like cannabis, took over. According to the official statistics from the National Institue on Drug Abuse, the average national rate of opioid-involved overdose deaths was 14.6 per 100,000 people in the year 2017. However, in New Mexico alone, the opioid abuse death rate was as high as 16.7 deaths per 100,000.
Therefore, there is a dire need to make a transition to safe alternatives that also prove to be as effective as opioid medicines, if not better.
The present research has so far shown that besides effectively treating chronic pain — for which doctors often prescribe opioid drugs — cannabis also helps people break the shackles of opioid dependencies.
Furthermore, a few studies have shown that death rates from opioid abuse are lower in states that boast effective medical marijuana programs!