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New York regulators are moving to allow patients who would normally be prescribed opioids for any condition to use medical marijuana instead. That means people suffering from severe pain, opioid dependency or other maladies will now qualify to receive medical cannabis, the state Department of Health announced on Thursday. “Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain that may also reduce the chance of opioid dependence,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a press release. “Adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combatting the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state.” Research has consistently demonstrated the ingredients in cannabis can treat various forms of pain, including neuropathic, acute and chronic pain. Adding severe pain and opioid dependency to the list means that 13 health conditions now qualify patients for medical marijuana in New York. Currently, more than 62,000 patients and about 1,700 practitioners are registered under the state’s medical cannabis program, according to the release. New York Enacts Emergency Rules Allowing Medical Marijuana As Opioid Replacement

thumbnail courtesy of marijuanamoment.net

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