CDC asks Doctors to stop testing Patients for Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 28, 2016.

In an attempt to discourage the prescription of opiods painkillers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged doctors across the U.S. to stop routine testing of patients for marijuana use. The costly tests have dubious health benefits, high potential legal ramifications for the patient, and could actually increase overdose deaths.

 Last week, the CDC released an updated set of guidelines for prescribing opioids to patients suffering from chronic pain. 

“Clinicians should not test for substances for which results would not affect patient management or for which implications for patient management are unclear,” the CDC said. “For example, experts noted that there might be uncertainty about the clinical implications of a positive urine drug test for tetrahydrocannabinols (THC).”

“Clinicians should not dismiss patients from care based on a urine drug test result because this could constitute patient abandonment and could have adverse consequences for patient safety, potentially including the patient obtaining opioids from alternative sources and the clinician missing opportunities to facilitate treatment for substance use disorder,” the CDC guidelines says.

Notably, medical marijuana has been shown to safely and effectively manage pain in many patients. A research study however points out that states, where medical marijuana has been legalized, have experienced opioid overdose rates decline by nearly 25 percent.

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