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Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is a highly effective pain reliever that may be used to treat numerous conditions ranging from chronic pain and diseases to migraine headaches and inflammatory bowel disease. Arun Kandra, MD, and Vivek Das, MD, at Premier Spine & Pain Management can provide a comprehensive evaluation and write a recommendation for medical marijuana. If you suffer from pain, call one of the offices in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or book an appointment online. The practice has locations in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Somerset, Hillsborough, Succasunna, and Middletown, New Jersey.

Medical Marijuana Q & A

What is the active ingredient in medical marijuana?

The marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, contains about 66 different types of cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are the active ingredients that produce a variety of effects in your body and mind.

Cannabinoids affect your central nervous system by binding to receptors in your brain. The impact produced depends on which receptors are affected. Some cannabinoids primarily influence receptors that produce beneficial physical effects such as pain relief.

How does medical marijuana relieve pain?

Your body has its own cannabinoid system. When you’re injured, some cells naturally produce endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids bind to receptors in your nerves, where they regulate pain and inflammation.

The cannabinoids in medical marijuana diminish pain by working in similar ways as your body’s natural system. As one example, they moderate the release of brain chemicals that send pain signals, so you don’t receive the message to feel pain. Cannabinoids also alleviate your pain by reducing inflammation.

What health conditions qualify for medical marijuana?

In March 2018, the state of New Jersey revised its list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. The following conditions, which had already been approved, are still on the list:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Seizure disorders
  • Terminal cancer
  • Any other terminal illness with a prognosis of fewer than 12 months
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder if traditional medicine fails to improve symptoms
  • Glaucoma if conventional medications fail to control eye pressure
  • Seizure disorders that don’t respond to medication

The conditions added to the list in 2018 include:

  • Anxiety
  • Migraines
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders (includes fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other conditions)
  • Chronic visceral pain (includes conditions such as pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and bowel dysfunction)

If you’re diagnosed with any of the qualifying conditions, the doctors at Premier Spine & Pain Management may recommend medical marijuana.

How do I obtain medical marijuana?

Before you can receive medical marijuana, you must have a diagnosis that meets one of the qualifying conditions. The New Jersey program also requires you to have an established relationship with a physician.

Patients must register with the state of New Jersey, providing proof of residency, then you’ll go to a marijuana evaluation appointment. You’ll need to take a copy of your medical records or documentation from your doctor at Premier Spine & Pain Management that verifies your diagnosis.

Once you’re registered, your doctor at Premier Spine & Pain Management writes a recommendation for medical marijuana, giving you a 30-, 60-, or 90-day supply. Your doctor may also specify a particular strain of cannabis that addresses specific symptoms.

To learn more about medical marijuana, call Premier Spine & Pain Management or book an appointment online.