Maryland regulators: Is medical marijuana effective for treating opioid addiction? Answer: It’s complicated

As opioid overdose deaths continued to mount in Maryland last year, state lawmakers asked medical marijuana regulators to determine whether cannabis could be effective at treating addiction to heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone.

The answer — not really — was submitted to the General Assembly this week by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

“A comprehensive review of existing medical literature shows that there is no credible scientific evidence backing up the claims that cannabis is beneficial in treating addiction, and that there is some evidence suggesting that it may exacerbate substance use and dependency issues,” the commission’s 20-page report states.

What works best is medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone, the report states.

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