Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Hospital in Portland, Oregon has eased restrictions on marijuana use among people looking for organ transplants. The previous policy required six months of negative drug screens, and possibly rehab for an applicant that tested positive for cannabis. The new policy allows cannabis users who meet all other criteria to be allowed in the program. The new policy applies to liver, kidney, pancreas and heart transplant procedures.
“If you had a beer last weekend, no one would say you are an alcoholic,” Dr. Willscott Naugler said according to KPIC. “You might be. But it doesn’t mean you are. We have taken the same approach to marijuana. If you had it last weekend, you may not have an abuse problem.”
There are no federal guidelines or standards for medical cannabis and the organ transplant screening process. In Oregon, 137 people are on the waiting list for a new liver, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
“It’s been more in the conversation than ever before,” said Mike Seely, OHSU’s administrator for transplant services, according to The Oregonian. “It’s been our responsibility to see what’s reasonable.”
Jim Klahr, a 60 year old liver patient from Brookings, Oregon (and a congressional candidate!) feels that the new policy doesn’t go far enough. “It leads to the same place,” he said. “New people and myself cannot use it without the fear of being taken off the program.”