Maine might become the first state to put addiction to opioids and illegal drugs such as heroin to its list of conditions that make one subject to using medical cannabis. Almost thirty medical marijuana dispensaries and patients informed state regulators at a public hearing this week that cannabis eases the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and gives a better substitute the prescription painkillers that many are becoming addicted to.

One proponent of medical marijuana is Joseph Legendre, 50, from Mount Vernon. According to him, his back was hurt more than two decades ago at a construction site. However, medical marijuana finally made the pain bearable. Another proponent is Britney Lashier, 23, of Saco. She claims that smoking marijuana helped her end her addiction to heroin that started in Morocco while she was studying in college.

“Marijuana saved my life for sure,” she added.

Activists claim that it has been distributed for opiate addiction in other states that do not have many barriers when it comes to medical cannabis, some of which include California and Massachusetts. However, Maine would be the first to specifically include opiate addiction as one of the conditions that can make someone accessible to marijuana, the Maine Medical Association reports. The Maine Department of Health and Human Serves held a hearing in response to a parent, and now the department has about six months to respond.

Representatives of Maine’s medical establishment decided to speak out against medical marijuana. According to them, there is no scientific proof that supports that cannabis is a good solution to addiction. Psychiatrist and medical director at the Addiction Resource Center at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick Leah Bauer stated that the petition would persuade addicts to use a different and addicting substance.

“In fact, using marijuana may be like pouring gasoline on the fire,” she concluded.

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