Pennsylvania has now joined the states that legalized medical marijuana after Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3, the Medical Marijuana Act (MMA), into law in April, 2016. With the passage of MMA, it is legal for the patients with ‘serious medical conditions’ to use medical marijuana in order to treat their health problems.
The Act states that severe, chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin is one of the serious medical conditions that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana. The law also allows using medical marijuana to treat severe, chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective.
Moreover, parents or guardians of a minor with a serious medical condition can be allowed to lawfully collect medical marijuana from another state, territory or country to be administered to the minor.
More importantly, it is estimated that the medical marijuana could be used to fight the epidemic of opioid addiction that has resulted in numerous deaths from overdoses in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.
A report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2014 reveals that as many as 46 people die every day in the US due to an overdose of prescription opioid or narcotic painkillers, such as Vicodin (hydrocodone-acetaminophen), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone), and methadone.
In 2012, the CDC also found that health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
The research study however opined that although there is evidence of the link between medical marijuana use and decrease in deaths from opioid overdoses, further study are required before wide adoption of medical marijuana use to counter the risks of opioid use.
So far, 24 states in the USA and Washington D.C. have legalized either medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, or both.