Finding the Right Medical Cannabis Treatment for You


Under the Compassionate Care Act, the state of New York believes that “Medical marijuana has the potential to alleviate the pain and suffering of New Yorkers afflicted with serious illnesses.” This means that, as part of the Medical Marijuana Program, patients suffering from serious health conditions like HIV/AIDs, Parkinson’s disease, MS, cancer, epilepsy and chronic pain have the right to use medical cannabis treatments to control and manage their symptoms when recommended by a registered healthcare professional. But with there being such a huge range of products to choose from, knowing which cannabis treatment is right for you can be a challenge. Choosing the right type of treatment, dose and ratio are essential when it comes to ensuring you receive the maximum benefits from your medication. Fortunately, unique to New York regulations, a licensed pharmacist works in every MMJ dispensary to help you and your physician find the right product(s) for you.

Choosing the Right Products

Under the new regulations, patients suffering from one of the qualifying conditions can get access to medical cannabis products in different formats, such as topical lotions and patches, tinctures, vaporization devices, and capsules. The traditional smoking of medical marijuana is still prohibited, as National Institute for Drug Abuse notes: “The smoke of marijuana, like that of tobacco, consists of a toxic mixture of gases and particulates, many of which are known to be harmful to the lungs.”

Alternative treatments like cannabis oil in tinctures, capsules, lozenges, and lotions are all considered to be effective methods of administration. Choosing the most appropriate treatment for each patient comes down to personal preference as well as their medical needs, and each method offers its own benefits. For example, using a vaporizer allows for rapid absorption and effect without the health risks associated with smoking. Alternatively, topical lotions that are applied externally can provide very effective treatment for pain and inflammation.

Choosing the Right Dosage and Ratio

Scientists estimate that there are over eighty unique varieties of cannabinoids – but the most commonly used and best studied are THC and CBD. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are known to be key properties of the cannabis plant for treating illness and can be isolated to be taken alone. However, patients tend to see better results when whole plant extracts are used. This is referred to as the ‘entourage effect’; the unique blend of the natural components of the cannabis flower.

A product with a ratio of 25:1 CBD/THC (high CBD and low THC) has shown to be very effective for treating seizures in certain types of epilepsy.However, a ratio of 10:1 CBD /THC may be needed to effectively treat the symptoms of anxiety or PTSD, which has recently been added to the list of conditions covered by medical marijuana in New York.

To find the right dosage and ratio for you, the first step is to obtain certification form a registered practitioner who will assess your needs and provide a suitable recommendation. Following this, you will need to register and complete a Health Application in the Medical Marijuana Management System. Once this is complete, you can take your ID card and registration to a licensed dispensing facility and purchase your product.

Finding the right dosage and ratio is key when it comes to getting the maximum benefits from your medical cannabis treatment. Different patients respond differently to different ratios and doses, so the best way to make sure you’re using the right treatment is to observe the effects you’re seeing from your current treatment and consult your medical professional who can adjust the ratio or amount accordingly.

Can Medical Cannabis Help Treat Seizures

Parents are often at the forefront in the search for effective and immediate treatments for epilepsy and other similar diseases that affect their child. In most cases, it is the occurrence of the epileptic seizures that are of great concern. These can be horrific scenarios where patients undergo an episode of seizure that is uncontrollable and uncontainable.

In order to further understand the occurrence, we dissect the main symptoms of the epileptic disease. Seizures are involuntary muscle spasms that often occur during stressful situations for the individual. It’s often accompanied by a brain injury, cancer, and/or tumors among other causes. It is the most devastating symptom among epileptic patients. Studies have shown that there are patterns of seizures that patients undergo. There are six types of seizures which include lapses in consciousness, sporadic jerking, repetitive jerking, muscle stiffness, loss of muscle tone, and, lastly, the grand mal. The grand mal is a combination of unconsciousness, convulsions, and muscle rigidity. These seizures can occur as often as ten times a day, even with children facing epileptic diseases.

In several articles and journals of the American Medical Association, including journals of pharmacological therapeutics, one such mention of seizure prevention is the use of medical cannabis. It is said that the patients that have undergone treatments with medical cannabis alongside conventional drugs have yielded progressive results. Patients record reduction of seizures and are able to live improved lives. This extensive research done with medical cannabis and the actual use of cannabidiol (CBD) has given hope to many patients suffering from epileptic diseases. In the research, the CBD is said to act as an anticonvulsant which can lead to medical cannabis enabling fewer seizure attacks for patients. It is important to note that the CBD studied is extracted from the cannabis plant, not the hemp plant or ‘hemp oil’.  

The way it works, according to medical researchers is that the CBD decreases the seizures variably in terms of impact and duration by activating the areas of the nervous system that are related to the memory cortex. Further, the therapeutic effect is noticeably stronger alongside phenobarbital and phenytoin. While in most states, medical cannabis has yet to reach review and legislation and acceptance, many parents with epileptic children take the journey to the progressive states for the cure against seizure attacks. It is the hope that even the slightest reduction in a weekly routine of several seizures can ignite the path to living a regular and seizure-free life. In another study, the liquid form of medical cannabis, which is the CBD, were administered to a group of children with either epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.  The children reported having had a sharp decline of seizure attacks by half. In other words, a normal daily routine of five to ten seizures a day could mean only two to five with the CBD. The benefits of medical cannabis are effective in battling seizure-stricken patients. Most importantly is the value and improved quality of life that each patient may enjoy and experience.

O’Donnell Introduces Bill to Combat Opioid Crisis. Adding Opioid Substance Abuse to Medical Marijuana Law

New York, NY – 1/29/18 – Assembly Member O’Donnell introduced legislation recently to combat the opioid crisis in New York State. The bill A9016, would allow the use of medical marijuana to treat opioid substance abuse, prescribed by medical practitioners registered with the Department of Health.

New York State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell stated, “New York State has waited too long to act on the opioid crisis. As a legislator I often defer to my colleagues that have expertise, experience with, or represent the communities most affected by an issue. I know I’m not the ideal sponsor of this bill, as I don’t have the most experience or expertise on this issue, but I cannot continue to be a bystander of inaction and reluctance to lead while people are dying. The time for pilot programs and ad campaigns is long past. Immediate action is necessary, and anything but action is cowardice in the face of one of the biggest threats to the lives of New Yorkers. I’m glad that Senator Diane Savino, whose home district in Staten Island is battling one of the highest rates of opioid overdoses in the state, will be joining me as the Senate sponsor of this bill. Her expertise as sponsor of the original medical marijuana bill makes the Senator invaluable to the process.”

New York State Senator Diane Savino said, “We have seen over the past few years that Medical Cannabis has improved the quality of life for those suffering from debilitating illness. If we can also improve the lives of those who have fought addiction to opioids, we should not stand in the way of them having a productive life with less pain.”

O’Donnell also wanted to credit Chair of the Health Committee Dick Gottfried, and said “It’s not often a bill is introduced and put on a committee agenda immediately. I sincerely thank Chair of Health Dick Gottfried for acting so quickly and look forward to working with him on future bills I introduce to combat the opioid crisis.”

Assembly Member O’Donnell has also introduced two other pieces of legislation related to the opioid crisis. One requires Naloxone to be on-premises in schools where a nurse is present, and the other requires training with Naloxone for Resident Assistants in college dormitories. Naloxone is an opioid receptor blocker credited with reversing overdoses and giving first responders time to treat patients. The training to administer Naloxone takes minutes and the drug has no effect unless opioids are present in the patient’s system.

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