Ottawa doctor pioneers use of cannabis to help opioid addicts

Activists in the cannabis community go further, often referring to marijuana as an “exit drug”
Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mark UjjainwallaThe patients at Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla’s methadone clinic are trying to beat their addiction to heroin, narcotic painkillers and other opioid drugs, but most of them still smoke pot. He estimates that 90 per cent of his patients at the Recovery Ottawa clinic on Montreal Road already use marijuana, and he’s begun writing prescriptions so they can buy it legally. Medical marijuana, used appropriately, can reduce insomnia, anxiety and cravings for opioids, says Ujjainwalla. Marijuana cannot replace methadone or suboxone, the drugs he uses to treat addicts, he says. But in some cases patients on marijuana can reduce their dose of methadone, he says. “They see (marijuana) as positive, and I agree with them.”