New York Opioid Addiction: How Medical Cannabis Can Help


The prescription opioid epidemic is a serious public health crisis with devastating consequences. From 1999 to 2016, more than 200,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids increased fivefold from in 1999 to 2016 and more than 46 deaths every day result from overdoses. New York, like many states, is suffering from the impact of the opioid epidemic. Overdose deaths involving opioids in the state increased by about 180% from 2010 to 2016 and these deaths alone increased by 30% from 2009 to 2013.  

The New York State Department of Health has prioritized statewide prevention programs to create a broad approach to fight opioid addiction and reduce deaths from overdose. One initiative now includes the Medical Marijuana Program, which allows patients who suffer from serious chronic conditions, or complications from serious, chronic conditions, to be certified by a practitioner to receive medical cannabis products for treatment. In June 2018, the New York State Department of Health announced that it would add opioid use as a qualifying condition under the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. This will allow individuals who use opioids to instead use medical cannabis for pain relief, reducing the potential for opioid dependence.

In addition, the New York state health commissioner recently announced that he would recommend cannabis to be consumed legally based on findings from a study commissioned by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. These policy changes could pave the way for New York to join a list of states that have already legalized the drug.

Medical cannabis has been shown to be a safer and more effective treatment than prescription opioids when used alone or in conjunction with other treatments for pain, offering fewer side effects and greatly reducing the chances of opioid addiction and overdose. Researchers who have conducted studies in states with medical cannabis programs and policies have found a significant link between reductions in opioid deaths and opioid prescribing with the availability of cannabis products.

If you are considering using medical cannabis as an alternative to prescription opioids, consult with a healthcare provider about this treatment option and consider CITIVACITIVA has a line of products ranging in cannabinoid content and delivery method to effectively meet your pain management needs. CITIVA’s mission is to deliver naturally sourced cannabinoid therapies that safely reduce the burden of pain and help treat disease. With over 100 years of professional experience in the study and application of medical cannabis, CITIVA’s team of experts understand the role of medical cannabis in clinical healthcare and effective pain treatment.



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New York State Department of Public Health. New York State Department of Health announces opioid use to be added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. 2018. Available from

McKinley J., Muller M. New York Moves toward Legal Marijuana with Health Dept. Endorsement. 2018.

Boehnke KF, Litinas E, Clauw DJ. Medical Cannabis Use Is Associated With Decreased Opiate Medication Use in a Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey of Patients With Chronic Pain. J Pain. 2016 Jun;17(6):739-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2016.03.002.

Bradford AC, Bradford WD, Abraham A, Bagwell Adams G. Association Between US State Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Prescribing in the Medicare Part D Population. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(5):667–672. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0266

Drug Policy Alliance. Marijuana and Opiates. 2016. Available from

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