Cannabis has been making its way into the medicine cabinets of America since states began legalizing medical use of the plant in 2008, so why are doctors still testing for it when prescribing opioids? Gangapreneur explains why doctors should think twice about testing their patients for cannabis use.
New CDC Guidelines Urge Doctors to Stop Drug Testing Patients for Cannabis
By Graham Abbott
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended via a new set of opioid-prescription guidelines that doctors stop urine testing their patients for THC, the psychoactive compound specific to cannabis.
According to the guidelines:
“Clinicians should not test for substances for which results would not affect patient management or for which implications for patient management are unclear. For example, experts noted that there might be uncertainty about the clinical implications of a positive urine drug test for tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC).”
The guidelines also urge doctors not to drop patients if they test positive for THC, which — according to the Pain News Network — is one reason that many marijuana users have been discharged from their physicians’ care.
“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.”
It’s always nice when federal establishments recognize the banality of marijuana prohibition and all of its unfortunate baggage, but it’s official changes like these that ultimately will umbrella cannabis treatment into mainstream medical practices.
Studies have shown that the rate of overdoses involving prescription drugs is significantly reduced in states with medical marijuana laws. However, with nearly 50,000 overdose victims in 2014, prescription opioids have never posed more of a threat to U.S. citizens than now.