In NY State, Chronic Pain Is A Qualifying Condition

In NY State, Chronic Pain Is A Qualifying Condition

New York state has a medical cannabis program. Last week, chronic pain was added as a condition that qualifies for the program. This came months after public comment, as well as regulatory review.

Many patients were hoping for this change, especially when the program began back in early 2016. The roll-out hasn’t been fast, and initial estimates of potential patients were between 200,000 and 400,000, but only around 14,000 patients are part of the program. A lot of people are hoping that now the chronic pain is a qualifying condition, which more patients will start to register.

How To Qualify
The first step to being eligible for chronic pain is to establish a doctor-patient relationships via a practitioner that is certified by the state of New York. Doctor Ken Wienberg said he had over a hundred patients contacting his office since December of last year, which is right around the time the program launched. New patients to his practice will need to show doctors extensive medical paperwork, but his methods don’t require patients to have a referral from their primary doctor.

As for what qualifies as chronic pain, that would be pain that is severe and when a practitioner determines that the pain degrades the way the patient can function. The state Department of Healthy requires patients to have suffered intolerable side effects or if they have previously tried therapeutic options that have failed before they can qualify for medical cannabis treatment. Also, the pain has to have lasted longer than three months.

In NY State, Chronic Pain Is A Qualifying Condition

Traumatic injuries, arthritis or endometriosis are a few conditions that can qualify for chronic pain, but those are only a few examples. A lot of patients rely on opioids to help them with pain. Rachel Shepard is a pharmacist, and she oversees four dispensaries belonging to PharmaCann. She works with doctors to incorporate cannabis into current treatment programs and to help patients wean off of other drugs they are taking.

Shepard said opiates are over-prescribed and many people who receive them are not under any pain control. She continued to say that they may be taking traditional medication, but they could still be living with chronic pain. She said this is where medical cannabis can help. Patients may get pain relief with medical marijuana, and they may finally be able to get off their medication.

However, many doctors who are medical marijuana-certified in NY don’t advertise their services. This can make finding such doctors difficult. There are a few that do advertise, though.

Some patients end up abusing prescription medicines after they receive them for pain relief. This can lead to addiction, and it adds to the overdose epidemic in the country, but medical cannabis may be able to help. Chemically speaking, it is not addictive, and to date, there has not been a recorded overdose death as a result of it. Many starts have a medical cannabis program, and they have seen opioid overdose deaths decrease by as much as a quarter.

Recovering opioid addicts aren’t the only ones who may be interested in medical cannabis. While the state mandates that patients have to have tried other therapeutic options, those treatments include various things. For example, they include occupational therapy, acupuncture, topical creams and even massage therapy.