NJ Health Commissioner sees positive results in treating opioid addiction with marijuana

Medical marijuana.
Photo credit Denise Hasse/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Early this year, New Jersey approved the use of medical marijuana to help treat opioid addiction, and the state health commissioner is encouraged by the results. 

“Medical marijuana is a useful adjunct that helps them bridge faster into recovery," said Dr. Shereef Elnahal.

Elnahal says about 250 people in New Jersey are using cannabis alongside prescriptions that ease opioid withdrawal symptoms.

“Right now, the vast majority of folks on the therapy are patients themselves who learned about it or had friends who benefited from it and come into their doctor and request that. We want to change that and have physicians recommend it as a therapy proactively," he added. 

The hope is to use it not just to tackle opioid abuse, but for all the health conditions for which medical marijuana has been approved. Commissioner Elnahal told the crowd at White and Williams’ MEDx conference in University City that his department is working to get more doctors involved. 

There are 933 registered now.