Friday, July 10, 2009

Pain Clinic Test Patients for Marijuana Use

NORML has received a surge of complaints within the last six months. Many medical marijuana users report that they can’t find a clinic willing to take them on. Others, like Kristin, have been abandoned by clinics that suddenly adopted aggressive drug-screening policies.

Clinics say they are legally compelled to drug-test chronic pain patients so as to avoid liability for overdoses and diversion of prescription drugs, particularly opioids such as oxycontin –which have nothing to do with cannabis.

Chronic pain patients have good reason to object to being denied medical access to cannabis. Chronic pain is the leading indication for medical cannabis use, accounting for 90% of the patients in Oregon’s medical marijuana program. More than 60 studies have shown cannabinoids to be effective in pain relief, according to a compilation by the International Association of Cannabis Medicine which includes four controlled studies of smoked marijuana by California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

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