Federal Addiction Treatment Dollars Off-limits For Marijuana

Well how about that, the U.S. government is barring federal dollars meant for opioid addiction treatment to be used on medical marijuana.” This seems to make sense. I mean why would you use marijuana to treat opioid addiction. However, some states allow marijuana for medical uses including opioid addiction. Federal agencies dole out money for addiction treatment to states but the article references individuals that state there is “zero evidence” to support the use of marijuana for opioid addiction. 

“We felt that it was time to make it clear we did not want individuals receiving funds for treatment services to be exposed to marijuana and somehow given the impression that it’s a treatment.”

            This restriction applies to federal grant programs aimed at opioid treatment. This effects billions of dollars from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). While it doesn’t apply other federal agencies for research on medical marijuana, “grant money can’t be used to directly or indirectly buy marijuana or permit treatment with pot. The rule also applies to using marijuana to treat mental health disorders.”

“Addiction treatment programs must document their efforts to urge patients to stop if they are currently using marijuana for mental health disorders or addiction, or the programs risk losing federal money”

            Seems that this will become more of a standoff between federal and state governments on marijuana. While I am a full supporter of states rights in accordance with the 10th Amendment, I do believe the feds are right on this one. Often states approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes based on weak, little, or anecdotal evidence. Some states have approved marijuana on the notion that it is less dangerous than opioids including heroin or fentanyl. The evidence just isn’t there according to the article. Others may say it’s similar to medication assisted therapy such as methadone or suboxone. Ethically, I don’t see the evidence to support the use of marijuana for opioid addiction. 


  1. https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/federal-addiction-treatment-dollars-limits-marijuana?utm_source=modern-healthcare-am&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20191124&utm_content=article6-headline
  2. https://www.samhsa.gov/

Join 3,552 other subscribers

Robert Duprey MD

Robert is a 2nd career physician (MD); a combat Veteran with the US Army; a former psychiatric nurse practitioner; an independent researcher; a medical writer; and now having passed USMLE Steps 1, 2CK, 2CS, and 3, is a residency applicant. 

  1 comment for “Federal Addiction Treatment Dollars Off-limits For Marijuana

  1. Pat
    December 26, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    There should be no role for the federal government in opioid addiction programs, noting that it was those incompetent, meddlesome bastards who help create the problem in the first place. If you accept clinical pronouncement in one area, you only invite these worms into another.

    The Herb is obviously less dangerous than heroin or fentanyl, a common-sense observation attested to by the millions of giggling brownie munchers in ever town who aren’t dying from overdoses. This is no statement of advocacy, merely a recognition of the difference in degree of effects.

Comments are closed.