To cut down on the over-prescription of heavy painkillers, the Centre for Disease Control, an arm of the federal government, has advised doctor across the US to stop testing their patients for marijuana. 

The CDC has released a set of guidelines for prescribing opioids such as oxycontin to patients who suffer from severe and chronic pain. You could have missed it if you were skimming through, but deep in the language of the new guidelines is a a paragraph telling doctors to stop screening people for THC which would disqualify them from treatment.

They still want to check urine for illicit substances, they’ve just states that they no longer think this rule should apply to THC.

“Clinicians should not test for substances for which results would not affect patient management or for which implications for patient management are unclear” 

“For example, experts noted that there might be uncertainty about the clinical implications of a positive urine drug test for tetrahydrocannabinols (THC).”

Most people prescribed painkillers by their family doctors wouldn’t ever go through the humiliation of having to take a drug test. For those people who doctors don’t seem to be able to treat their pain successfully the first time around, and get sent to a pain management clinic are often made to submit to a test to continue receiving treatment from doctors.

Before these new regulations, people had to be free of all illegal substance, including marijuana, even if they were using marijuana for treating their pain. 

The new CDC guidelines state that this leads to “stigmatization” and “inappropriate termination of care,” which inevitably creates additional hardships for those patients in need of these types of treatment programs.

“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.” 

This is hopefully another step in the many being taken at both state and federally level that seem to be loosening the rules on marijuana.