Ex-BC Health Minister Urges for More Research on Marijuana and Opioid Addictions

The former health minister for British Columbia, Terry Lake, is calling for more researching on how marijuana can help people suffering opioid addictions, CTV News reported on Thursday.

“I’m not saying it’s the answer to the opioid crisis. I’m saying it’s one of the options we should explore,” said Lake, who chose not to run in last spring’s provincial election, said.

“It’s very promising and deserving of further research and there’s no better place to do that than in British Columbia.”

Lake was hired last August by Quebec-based Hydropothecary to be a vice-president at the medical cannabis company.

The former minister will join a researcher, an activist and others for a discussion of pot as an opioid substitute at the Lift Cannabis Expo in Vancouver on Sunday.

Lake chose not to run in last spring’s provincial elections in British Columbia. He said preliminary evidence so far shows marijuana can help people with addictions reduce their use of hard drugs and ease the painful symptoms of withdrawal.

A 2014 study in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine showed U.S. states that have legalized marijuana had an opioid death rate that was 25 percent lower than states that considered the drug as illegal.

This summer, Canada will become the first developed nation worldwide to legalize marijuana.