Pennsylvania: New medical marijuana regulations to go into effect

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Pennsylvania's medical marijuana advisory board has put forth new regulations regarding medical marijuana use and treatment, according to the state Department of Health.

"We have expanded the program," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams, who is a member of the advisory board. "The program is to treat people with very serious medical problems."

The governor's office and the Health Department are expected to release more information on Monday, and it will include the implementation of the flower form of medical marijuana being available in state dispensaries this summer, to be consumed in vapor form.

"We've also expanded the number of diseases that can be treated with medical marijuana," said Adams. "One of those is pain, chronic pain, and also opioid addiction. Frankly, less chance that if they do not have an opioid prescription, that they would turn to something other than heroin."

State health officials said the changes will include a revised definition of chronic pain, where medical marijuana could be used in conjunction with a chronic pain treatment, or if all opioid treatments aren't working, medical marijuana can be used in place of it.

The regulations are expected to go into effect May 17.

"Medical marijuana can potentially serve it's purpose, to treat individuals who have been addicted to opioids. It's going to be a trial and error," Adams said.

Adams said officials will be enlisting the help of state medical colleges to help in that trial and error process.

"There's going to be an expansion of the program to include eight medical colleges within Pennsylvania that will start doing some research," Adams said.

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