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.