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U.S.: New CDC Guidelines Instruct Pain Doctors Not To Test For THC

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Long-awaited guidelines on prescribing opioid medications for pain, from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, instruct physicians not to test patients for THC and its metabolites.

This is a much-needed development, particularly as many pain patients nationwide, especially veterans, have had their painkiller prescriptions canceled and care terminated because of showing up positive for marijuana.

"Urine drug testing results can be subject to misinterpretation and might sometimes be associated with practices that might harm patients (e.g., stigmatization, inappropriate termination from care)," the guidelines state, reports California NORML.

"Clinicians should not test for substances for which results would not affect patient management or for which implications for patient management are unclear,” the CDC guidelines state. "For example, experts noted that there might be uncertainty about the clinical implications of a positive urine drug test for tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC).”

Massachusetts: Doctors Use Marijuana As Opioid Substitute

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hundreds of opioid addicts in Massachusetts are being treated with medical marijuana, and advocates say the new therapy is a life-changing alternative to the deadly epidemic of painkiller addiction.

"We have a statewide epidemic of opioid deaths," said Dr. Gary Witman of Canna Care Docs, which issues medicinal cannabis authorizations in seven states, and has nine clinics in Massachusetts, reports Chris Villani at the Boston Herald. "As soon as we can get people off opioids to a nonaddicting substance -- and medicinal marijuana is nonaddicting -- I think it would dramatically improve the amount of opioid deaths."

Witman said he's treated about 80 patients who were addicted to opioid painkillers, muscle relaxers or anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals, using cannabis with a one-month tapering program. More than 75 percent of those patients stopped taking the harder drugs, according to Witman.

Cannabis can treat the symptoms patients had been using opioids and other drugs to manage, such as chronic pain or anxiety, and treat them far more safely, Witman said.

Dr. Harold Altvater of Delta 9 Medical Consulting in Malden, Mass., agreed that he's also seen success with medicinal cannabis as a substitution therapy. "You are basically taking something that can be very harmful for an individual, and substituting with another chemical, just like you would with any other drug, that has a wider safety margin," he said.

California: Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested For Heroin, Oxycodone, Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The deputy police chief of Fresno, California, was arrested on Thursday and charged with multiple conspiracies to distribute heroin, oxycodone and marijuana, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Keith Foster, 51, was arrested along with three other Fresno residents, according to a statement from the FBI, reports Eric M. Johnson at Reuters.

Foster had always appeared just behind the police chief at press conferences.

"It is important that we do everything we can to maintain and enhance the trust that our citizens have in us," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said in a "he must be kidding" kind of statement at a news conference after Deputy Chief Foster's arrest. "When things of this nature happen, it does serve to erode that trust," the Chief admitted.

"This is a very sad day for the Fresno Police Department, the citizens of Fresno, and the law enforcement profession," Chief Dyer said, report Rick Montanez, Corin Hoggard and Sontaya Rose at ABC 30.

Dyer claimed he was "just made aware" of the case" after Foster was arrested n Thursday. Federal investigators were authorized to use wiretaps on telephones.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Chairwoman Uses Marijuana For Pain

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The soon-to-retire chairwoman of the Washington State Liquor Control Board -- which is in charge of recreational marijuana in the state, and perhaps soon medicinal cannabis as well -- has admitted she used medical marijuana this week to control pain after a knee replacement surgery.

Sharon Foster said her doctors sent her home with heavy painkillers, reports The News Tribune of Tacoma. "I have enough oxycodone to go on the black market," she said.

But Foster decided opioids weren't for her. She opted instead this week to use marijuana, which she's been in charge of regulating for two years now. She obtained some cannabis-infused brownies for that purpose.

“By the time I went to bed, which was maybe an hour and a half or two hours after I ate this brownie — piece of brownie — I didn’t feel anything,” Foster told the News Tribune’s statehouse reporter. “So all I know is, I was relaxed enough to go to sleep. So if I was high, I don’t know it,” she claimed.

Foster reportedly used the brownies Sunday night, Monday night, and again Tuesday night.

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