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  • Kelli Lynn Grey

Can Medical Marijuana End the Opioid Epidemic in West Virginia?

does marijuana affect the opioid epidemic?

In 2017, West Virginia lawmakers officially recognized medical marijuana as a treatment for several medical conditions, and now they’re considering whether it may end the opioid epidemic that has long burdened the state.

At West Virginia Marijuana Card, our team will guide you through every step of registering to receive medical marijuana. Meanwhile, we’re also a top source of local and national cannabis news.

Read on to learn more about how the opioid epidemic has impacted West Virginia and about how cannabis may provide lasting relief.

What is the opioid epidemic?

The CDC defines the opioid epidemic as a national public health crisis that has caused an increasing number of drug overdoses, resulting in death, since 1999.

This epidemic has come in three waves, which correspond to the types of opioids causing the most deaths.

  • The first wave began in 1999 when deaths began happening due to the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids.

  • The second wave began in 2010 after levels of heroin use spiked.

  • The third wave began in 2013 with the introduction of illicitly manufactured opioids like fentanyl.

Over 500 thousand people have died from preventable, opioid overdoses since 1999.

How has the opioid epidemic affected West Virginia?

West Virginia has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic.

In 2014, West Virginia had the highest opioid overdose death rate in the USA. Since then, West Virginia has remained within the top 10 states for prescribing high-dose and extended release opiates, which have an especially strong potential for abuse.

One reason why experts believe opiate use is so high within West Virginia is the continued prominence of the coal mining industry.

Miners are prone to injuries that cause chronic, intractable pain, for which opiates like Oxycontin are the primary line of treatment.

In addition to mining, work in timber and manufacturing is widespread in West Virginia and also puts workers at high risk for sustaining injuries that are usually relieved by opiates, whether prescribed or purchased illegally in the form of heroin or fentanyl.

What is the connection between the opioid epidemic and cannabis?

Studies and patient testimonies show that cannabis can be a powerful alternative to opiods in the treatment of chronic, intractable pain.

Cannabis also comes with less potential for abuse, as well as fewer side effects and virtually no risk of death.

By transitioning to medical marijuana, prescription opioid users can increase the length and quality of their lives.

Likewise, illicit opioid users may be more likely to try cannabis if potent preparations are simple to access and legally available to the general public.

What are West Virginia’s marijuana policies like? West Virginia currently has a medical marijuana program in place, and licensed medical dispensaries are set to open to the public this year. Meanwhile, governor Jim Justice recently expressed his willingness to support recreational cannabis legalization in West Virginia. One of the key reasons West Virginia lawmakers give for legalizing marijuana in the state is its potential to curb the opioid epidemic.

How can I get my West Virginia medical marijuana card?

If you’re seeking an alternative to opiates for treating your pain, it pays to go ahead and register with West Virginia’s medical marijuana program.

The compassionate team of experts at West Virginia Marijuana Card will guide you through each and every step of the process, including:

  • Obtaining medical records

  • Scheduling an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor

  • Filing all necessary paperwork

  • Processing renewals

  • Receiving ongoing medical guidance

Give the team a call at 877-303-8424, or visit our website, to schedule an appointment about qualifying for a West Virginia medical marijuana card today.


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

west virginia marijuana card

If you have any questions, call us at 877-303-8424, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out West Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in West Virginia


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