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    Medical Marijuana and Treatment

    Will my loved one be able to use it?

    Your loved one may be prescribed medical marijuana and wish to continue to use it while in treatment for another substance. For example, a person struggling with opioids (e.g., heroin, fentanyl and prescription pain pills) may want residential treatment (rehab), but want to use medical marijuana to help with anxiety and sleep.  Will treatment programs allow it?  The answer is “It depends”.

    Federal and state laws conflict

    Marijuana is illegal at the federal level. As a result, medical marijuana is not protected by any federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Most states with medical marijuana laws have protections for people who use medical marijuana. These laws address jobs, housing, schools and more, but many states don’t specifically mention addiction treatment programs. Other states say that medical marijuana use cannot be a reason to deny medical care. They view medical marijuana as any other prescription rather than an illegal substance.

    For example, New York’s OASAS and Michigan’s methadone programs have stated that addiction treatment programs must provide treatment to patients who use medical marijuana. Patients may be asked to provide information about the physician who approved it and documentation to use medical marijuana.

    Finding treatment that allows medical marijuana use

    Calls to admissions at several residential programs across the country revealed that they do not permit medical marijuana use in their facilities.  Some, but not all outpatient programs, were more willing to do so. Private therapists may also be able to work with a loved one in individual counseling who wishes to use medical marijuana.

    SafeLocator is a search tool families can use to find treatment programs and support. While many factors are considered like age, mental health problems, payment, etc., the use of medical marijuana is not one of the criteria. As a result, it’s best to call each program that is a match for your loved one’s needs and ask them what their policy is on medical marijuana.