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Earl Blumenauer – “As we’re slowly acknowledging the depths of the opioid crisis, which is good, we seldom acknowledge one of the simplest, most effective solutions: medical marijuana.”

Oregon’s Congressman Earl Blumenauer dropped this mic in testimony before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Health hearing on proposals for ending the opioid crisis. The testimonial was in support of a bill Blumenaur is sponsoring, the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2017. He also distributed a pamphlet to the members of the subcommittee: “Physician Guide to Cannabis-Assisted Opioid Reduction,” which was prepared by Adrianne Wilson-Poe, Ph.D., of Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine. The pamphlet cites 16 published studies that examine the ways cannabis can reduce opioid consumption, how it effects opioid tolerance, and it’s effect on overdose mortality.

The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2017 intends to amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow qualified marijuana researchers access to cannabis for the purposes of medical research. The goal is to allow for more “robust” research on the substance to answer lingering questions around the therapeutic uses of the plant. The friction between the lack of qualified research and states that have legalized medical cannabis is increasing. This is especially pertinent after planned research that was supported by the DEA is being logjammed by the Department of Justice. The bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Blumenaur along with Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California.

Many proponents of medical marijuana have cited research as well as anecdotal evidence that suggests it’s potential as a replacement for some prescription opioids (opioid prescriptions are the leading cause of addiction and eventual black-market opioid use), reduction in opioid use, and therapy for people who experience opioid dependence. A lack of “robust” evidence is cited as the reason why the federal government won’t consider medical cannabis in a concerted effort to reduce the epidemic of opioid-related deaths.