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/

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Robert Duprey MD

Robert P. Duprey Jr studied medicine as a 2nd career medical student who went to medical school in his 40’s after honorable discharge and ‘retirement’ from 25 years in the US Military (USCG & US Army). He was a registered nurse (RN) with specialty training as a psychiatric RN in the US Army for 15 years. During this time he also became a Master’s level psychotherapist in 2002. While on US Army active duty he also became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner while working full time in 2011. He served as a Psych NP on active duty, to include a combat tour in Iraq, until his ‘retirement’ in 2014 and moved to Philippines with his 3 children. At this time he started medical school overseas at Oceania University of Medicine based out of Samoa accredited by Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). He continued to work as a Psych NP throughout medical school to support his children and to not have to take out loans for medical school tuition. Originally from Rhode Island, he completed medical school clerkship rotations throughout the USA with a graduation in May 2019 earning the esteemed credential of MD. He has successfully completed USMLE Steps 1, 2CS, and 2CK. He will take Step 3 this September as he applies for Psychiatry Residency. Having been and RN, NP and now MD, he is a believer of Physician led multidisciplinary healthcare teams 

  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.

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