The state Department of Health has announced on December 1st, 2016 that medical marijuana will be available to chronic pain patients. However, it is not clear at the moment what kind of chronic pain is eligible to undergo medical marijuana treatment. Nevertheless, the state Department of Health will soon develop a regulatory amendment specifying exactly what types of chronic pains qualify a patient for this program.
As of now, patients suffering from epilepsy, cancer, or AIDS are automatically fit to undergo medical marijuana treatment for pain relief. Furthermore, the addition follows to allow the physician assistants and nurse practitioners to certify patients for the program.
Dr. Howard Zucker, the state Health Commissioner, believes that there are certain benefits in using medical marijuana as a treatment for pain relief. Moreover, seeing that the program already helps numerous other across the country, Dr. Zucker believes that adding chronic pain to the list will only strengthen the program and help many others.
Moreover, the Health Committee Chairman, Richard Gottfried says that allowing medical staff like nurses and assistants to certify patients for this program only reflects their scope of practice. Furthermore, by adding chronic pain to the program’s list, Mr. Gottfried believes that patients will no longer turn to opioid drugs which come with serious side effects and are considered very dangerous.
The Medical Marijuana Program
As of 2016, roughly 11,000 patients have been allowed to use medical marijuana for their conditions. All of them have been previously certified by no less than 750 physicians. More than just keeping the patients away from dangerous alternatives, the program also helps the companies which provide the medical marijuana supply to further develop and expand.
Currently, there are only five companies in the U.S. responsible for growing marijuana for medical purposes. Considering the small number of patients, the companies had no choice but to exert high prices in order to stay afloat. This also represented one cause that drove many patients that could have been otherwise certified to use medical marijuana away. However, since the program will expand, there will be plenty of demand for their products and, consequently, the prices are expected to drop.
At the same time, the Health Department also thinks about further expanding the medical marijuana industry by adding more registered organizations on the market.
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