According to NY Daily News, the State Heath Department announced that they were adding medical marijuana to the list of treatments for chronic pain.
A Medical Game Changer
The announcement has been seen as a medical game changer. With this treatment allowed for chronic pain sufferers, it is likely to change the patient count for medical marijuana from 10,730 to more than 200,000 says WIVB 4. There are currently ten chronic conditions that qualify people in New York for medical marijuana prescriptions, but chronic pain is now the eleventh to be added.
The original medical conditions approved for marijuana use included HIV infection or AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s, and other degenerative disorders.
How Does Medical Marijuana Help with Chronic Pain?
According to WKTV, medical marijuana may help those with chronic pain, because it provides them with the relief they need to remain active and have a full life. Also, the side effects are less severe than prescription pain medications, and they do not have to worry about skin sores and breakdowns of their joints if they are more active.
Those that have chronic pain treated with opioids often suffer from addiction, which is a growing concern in the United States. Therefore, this addition to medical marijuana usage could reduce the number of overdoses in the state.
The state had conducted a thorough investigation into the scientific backing of using marijuana to treat pain. They decided that it was evident the benefits would help those patients that were currently taking prescription painkillers.
Medical marijuana is already used for patients across the state, and it helps them with a variety of chronic conditions.
Some Felt New York’s Current Policy was too Restrictive
Some residents were excited about the announcement because they have felt that the policy for medical marijuana use in New York was too narrow; and plenty of patients were unable to receive it even when it could benefit them.
With the latest announcement, however, those suffering from chronic pain and other conditions have something to look forward to other than a lifetime of pain medications.
The regulation will not go into effect until early in 2017, but the announcement was made so that those prescribing knew about the changes to come.
Also, the Health Department is making plans to allow nurses as well as physician’s assistants to certify patients for medical marijuana to help relieve the burden placed on physicians.
Doctors are excited about the announcement as well because some have shared their concerns with the Health Department about the prescription painkillers and the number of overdoses each year because of them.
While the announcement brings celebration, it is important to note that this new addition will be heavily regulated. Physicians and clinics that treat chronic pain patients will need to report to the state when they add new patients to the registry.