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CDC Recommends Doctors Stop Testing Patients for Marijuana


The change comes weeks after Elizabeth Warren pressed the CDC to explore the “effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids."

A sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in Atlanta. The government shutdown has slowed or halted federal efforts to protect Americans' health and safety, from probes into the cause of transportation and workplace accidents to tracking the flu. The latest example: investigating an outbreak of salmonella in chicken that has sickened people in 18 states. The CDC has recalled some of its furloughed staff to deal with the salmonella outbreak, which has sickened more than 270 people and was announced by the Agriculture Department late Monday. (AP/David Goldman)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines earlier this month for prescribing opioids to patients. According to the modified guidelines, the CDC advises that doctors stop testing patients for tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana.

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

A report by the Pain News Network noted that point-of-care urine drug screens have a history of producing false positive and false negative results for a variety of substances, including marijuana. The pain management news source reported in the past that 21 percent of positive results are false and 21 percent of negative results are positive.

The modified guidelines come weeks after Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren pressed the CDC to explore the “effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal,” Think Progress reported.

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