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Federal Government Advises Doctors Against Testing Patients for Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Posted Mar 21 2016

About a month after Senator Warren wrote to the CDC asking that research be done on the effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids, the CDC has made a slight change to their policy for physicians prescribing opiates. While trying to limit the abuse that can follow opiate use, language in the updated policy has physicians disregarding THC in urine tests from substances that could disqualify patients from receiving treatment. Historically, the urine tests themselves are subject to a rather large margin of error (false negatives and false positives make up about 21%) considering it could mean the patient being treated or not. 

“Clinicians should not dismiss patients from care based on a urine drug test result because this could constitute patient abandonment and could have adverse consequences for patient safety, potentially including the patient obtaining opioids from alternative sources and the clinician missing opportunities to facilitate treatment for substance use disorder,” the CDC guidelines reads.

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