Doctor says reports claiming marijuana can curb opioid abuse are ‘not credible’

Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek, a senior attending physician at Rockefeller University in New York City, pushed back against reports suggesting that marijuana use can be effective when it comes to getting people off more dangerous and harmful drugs like opioids.

“I would just speak from my own scientific standpoint and viewpoint having read the papers and having been in the area of addictive disease research for 50 years, I do not think those studies are credible,” Kreek told Hill.TV on Tuesday, though she did not mention any specific reports by name.

Kreek added that “we need more proper studies.”

She went on to say that, even though her team has found a link between marijuana use and opioid addiction, she emphasized that cannabis is not the cause.

“We’re finding that earlier and heavier use of cannabis is a correlate — not a cause — but a correlate of going on to develop opiate addiction or cocaine addiction,” she told Hill.TV.

Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, though a number of states have moved to legalize it, whether for recreational, medical use or both.

Illinois on Tuesday became the 11th state along with Washington, D.C., to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.

The new law is expected to take effect next year.

While some marijuana advocates argue that legalizing cannabis would help address social justice issues and be beneficial in treating certain diseases like multiple sclerosis, critics warn that the drug is more potent than it used to be.

U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, said earlier this month during an interview with Hill.TV that new strains of marijuana are professionally grown with much higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and are more dangerous than they were a decade ago. 

—Tess Bonn