A bipartisan group of members of Congress is pushing the Trump administration to consider medical marijuana as a safer alternative to opioids.
“As you know, our country is grappling with an opioid epidemic that is now taking 91 lives every single day,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Acting Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Eric D. Hargan. “Recent studies published by qualified academic researchers suggest that marijuana may prove to be a useful alternative treatment for chronic pain instead of harmful, addictive prescription opioids, and that marijuana may reduce the overall number of opioid overdose deaths.”
After citing a number of studies demonstrating cannabis’s efficacy and that legal marijuana access is associated with reduced opioid issues, the House members lay out a series of questions they want answered:
The evidence that marijuana may have a positive therapeutic warrants additional attention from the federal government. We request that you provide answers to the following questions:
1. Please describe in detail what the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is doing to fill the gap in our knowledge about the use, uptake, and effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal.
a. Please describe in detail any federal efforts to conduct research the impact of state medical and recreational marijuana laws on opioid overdose deaths.
b. Please also describe in detail efforts by other federal agencies under the jurisdiction of HHS.
2. Please describe in detail what HHS and other federal agencies are doing to work with states that have implemented medical marijuana laws to collect data on the impact of these laws on opioid overdose deaths.
3. Is HHS committed to implementing evidence-based policies regarding the use of medical marijuana as an alternative pain treatment in an effort