A state lawmaker who wants to expand Georgia’s medical marijuana law believes it could be answer to Georgia’s opioid drug crisis.
Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) told a House committee by adding eight more conditions that can legally use cannabis oil, doctors would have an option other than prescribing drugs such as oxycodone, which can be highly addictive, for pain.
The recommendation was among those made by a special medical cannabis working committee in the state House.
“There is a proven response with clear data to the opioid epidemic and that’s responsible medical cannabis legislation,” he says.
The eight conditions include intractable pain, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, Tourette syndrome, autism, PTSD, AIDS, and those in hospice care.
Dr. Parin Chheda, a palliative care physician, says he would love to prescribe cannabis oil for his patients who are in hospice care rather than drugs like morphine.
While working in California, a patient whom he sent home to die, returned to visit him only two months later in much better health having used medical marijuana.
“I deal with patients and families at the end of their lives. It’s hard. It doesn’t make much sense to me to limit a potential therapeutic benefit to them,” he told committee members.
But Sue Rusche, president and CEO of National Families in Action, says medical marijuana is not only against federal law, but the evidence of its benefits isn’t proven.
“They are being guinea pigs and they are taking risks they don’t even understand they’re taking--and that the doctors not (sic) necessarily understand,” she says.
The committee could make changes to the bill before voting on it next week. The state Senate passed its own bill last week that only adds the condition of autism but reduces the amount of THC currently allowed under state law from 5 percent to 3 percent.