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New Mexico Considers Marijuana For Opioid Overuse

Apr 10, 2018
New Mexico Considers Marijuana For Opioid Overuse
The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended cannabis to treat opioid overuse disorder (OUD). Integrated Pain Consultants experts know the importance of conservative and alternative treatments, offering options to those in pain...

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended cannabis to treat opioid overuse disorder (OUD). Integrated Pain Consultants experts know the importance of conservative and alternative treatments, offering options to those in pain in Arizona—but what about around the country?

Every year, around 500 people in New Mexico die from an opioid overdose, and the Albuquerque Journal estimates that “tens of thousands” in the state suffer from opioid overuse disorder. In the state, getting medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be a struggle. MAT allows opioid abusers to get help in ending their addiction, but there are only 29 places in New Mexico that offers this service—all are in just four major metro areas.


In New Mexico, a movement called Project ECHO has helped increase access to MAT, but it’s still difficult for those in need to find prescribers. The state’s Human Services Department is working on improving limitations for MAT in New Mexico, but the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board says, “These changes will take time. We need action now.”

The Board points out that medical cannabis is already being substituted for other drugs, such as opioids. Research shows that medical marijuana isn’t just a proven pain management tool for those in chronic pain, but is also helpful in easing the pain connected to opioid withdrawal symptoms. Medical marijuana has been effectively used to treat a variety of disorders that can cause pain, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia.

According to the Board, medical marijuana should be an option to help those in MAT stick to their regimen. As of March 2018, over 25 health professionals in New Mexico working with addicts have signed a petition supporting cannabis for OUD. The Board also notes that states, where legal medical cannabis is available, has seen a decrease in opioid-related deaths.

The Board urges OUD to be added to the list of growing qualifying conditions for medical marijuana prescriptions. In 2017, a bill that would have added OUD to the list passed in a bipartisan vote with the New Mexico Legislature, but Governor Martinez vetoed the bill. According to the Board, “The point of our medical cannabis law is to aid those who are sick and dying to access cannabis in a regulated system for beneficial use.”

When compared to opioids, Cannabis is just one of many safer alternative options for pain management. Learn more about the options available at Integrated Pain Consultants by booking your appointment online – (480) 626-2552. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie CosijnsDr. Lisa SparksDr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.