Beginning on Friday, physicians in Colorado will be capable to legally advocate health-related cannabis for sufferers who may well otherwise get prescribed opioids. 

That is thanks to a new law signed in May well by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis that tends to make Colorado the third state in the nation (New York and Illinois are the other two) to permit physicians to do that. 

The law opens the door for sufferers to seek health-related marijuana for all circumstances in which they may well be dealt an opioid prescription, representing a significant expansion for the remedy in the state. Previously below Colorado’s health-related marijuana law, sufferers could get a cannabis prescription for the following qualifying debilitating health-related circumstances: cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, cachexia, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, extreme nausea, and extreme discomfort.

The new law is each a victory for cannabis advocates, and a remedy for a nationwide opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, extra than 130 individuals die in America each and every day from overdosing on opioids. These gut-wrenching statistics have driven activists, lawmakers and physicians to get in touch with for an expansion in health-related cannabis

Democratic state Rep. Eddie Hooton, who co-sponsored the bill that was signed into law by Polis, told NBC News that the legislation “was developed to give physicians a legal, open selection to talk about [medical marijuana use] with sufferers.”

“It normalizes the conversation about the challenge,” Hooton stated. 

Hooton stated the bill, which passed the Colorado legislature with bipartisan help, wasn’t “about treating opioid addiction,” but advocates have touted the expansion of health-related marijuana remedy as a viable option to painkillers that have confirmed lethal.

“Adding a situation for which a doctor could advocate health-related marijuana as an alternative of an opioid is a safer discomfort management tool that will be valuable for each our physicians and sufferers,” Ashley Weber, executive director of Colorado NORML, told the Denver Post in May well.

Not every person is as enthusiastic about the new law, below which each adults and minors are eligible. Stephanie Stewart, a doctor in Aurora, Colorado, told the Post that the law “will substitute marijuana for an FDA-authorized medication — a thing that is unregulated for a thing that is extremely regulated.”

“Our genuine concern is that a patient would go to a doctor with a situation that has a health-related remedy with proof behind it, and then as an alternative of that remedy, they would be advisable marijuana as an alternative,” Stewart stated. 

But as addiction to prescription painkillers continues to spread and claim extra lives, health-related cannabis may perhaps increasingly be observed as a safer option, even in components of society that have historically been hostile to marijuana use. In May well, for instance, the National Football League announced a study into cannabis as a kind of discomfort management, a response to the increasing quantity of existing and former players who have develop into addicted to painkillers.