Medical Marijuana Approval Slowly Growing in the U.S.

Medical Marijuana Approval Slowly Growing in the U.S.

By Ed Coghlan

We thought it might be worthwhile to review some of the latest from various states around the country regarding the use of medical marijuana.

A year into Minnesota’s medical marijuana program, doctors there are getting a new condition for which they can prescribe the treatment: intractable pain.

Doctors began evaluating potential medical marijuana patients with intractable pain. Their treatments would begin in August.

In New Jersey, the state will accept requests next month to approve more medical conditions for its medical marijuana program.

Doctors registered in the state’s program can now prescribe cannabis for certain debilitating medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, and terminal illness.

Here’s the total list of what New Jersey are approved “conditions” for medical marijuana.

In Ohio, which just approved medical marijuana, it looks like the state may not be ready to start in September. Fortune Magazine reported that the state still has to decide who can grow it, how much they can grow, how to identify which patients qualify and setting up a dispensary system.

In Illinois, the state is adding PTSD and terminal illness to the list of qualifying conditions (There are 39 others)

In Florida, voters will consider whether to approve the use of medical marijuana in the Sunshine State. The initiative, if approved by voters, would broadly legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Fully half the states, plus the District of Columbia have now approved marijuana for medical use. Here’s the list of states and what the limitations are. (click here)

As medical marijuana laws become more common in the U.S., it’s good to understand what, exactly, these state laws allow — and what they don’t. States are trying to strike a balance between access to medical marijuana for patients who might benefit, while also ensuring that these laws don’t become a backdoor to full legalization.

The challenge continues to be how uneven it is. The federal government has not eased its view on marijuana, so the states act for themselves. And different states come to different conclusions. And other states simply don’t approve it.

Because of ethical and logistical difficulties of conducting pain experiments on human volunteers, marijuana’s potential to relieve pain has yet to be conclusively confirmed in the clinic.

Pain doctors we spoke with almost universally agree clinical studies need to be conducted to get some hard data about the efficacy of medical marijuana on chronic pain patients.

Those won’t be conducted if the federal government won’t allow it-and for now it continues to resist efforts to do some clinical trials on it.

There’s no such reluctance in Canada.

A Canadian research team led by Dr. Mark Ware from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in Montréal has completed a national multi-center study looking at the safety of medical cannabis use among patients suffering from chronic pain. They found that patients with chronic pain who used cannabis daily for one year, when carefully monitored, did not have an increase in serious adverse events compared to pain patients who did not use cannabis.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Joy at 4:19 pm

    I live in NY state. Unfortunately how the program has been set up, it is destined to fail.

    The list of qualifying diseases is too restrictive. It leaves out many conditions that can be helped with medical marijuana.

    The patients that are eligible for a marijuana card have to pay for the card. Then you must pay for your recommendations. Some physicians require patients to pay monthly for recommendations. Fortunately, my doctor gives out recommendations that are good for several months.

    With recommendation in hand, you now get to go to a dispensary. We have two different Companies that have multiple locations throughout NY. Does not leave room for competition. Upon arrival they only have two types of products. A tintures or a vape. The only differences is the amounts of THC/CBD. There are no strains to choose from. No flower or edibles. But wait to add insult to injury they are overpriced. $100. For a vape refill, $53. For tinture. Most of us are on disability!!! So you get a 15% discount. Just ridiculous! What could have been a decent medical marijuana program, I feel it was poorly planned and destined to fail. Personally, I have made the decision not to go back and spend money at the dispensary.

  2. Pharmacist Steve at 4:50 pm

    “Because of ethical and logistical difficulties of conducting pain experiments on human volunteers, marijuana’s potential to relieve pain has yet to be conclusively confirmed in the clinic.”
    What a LAME EXCUSE..it is ethical to not treat chronic pain or do clinical trials on chronic pain pts ?
    But then again… “experts” have claimed that since there is no long term studies on the use of opiates… thus opiates do not work for long term use.
    Reality is that most opiates were commercially made/sold before the FDA was formed in 1906 so they were “grandfathered” and were not required to go thru double blind clinical trials in order to be approved for human use. Because no BIG PHARMA could patent and get exclusive marketing rights.. thus no one has stepped up to do the clinical trials to justify how well they work for long term use… the antidotal evidence from pts.. doesn’t meet the standards of double blind clinical studies… thus is totally disregarded. Another example of criteria being fungible by certain bureaucrats

  3. Gale Jenness at 10:54 am

    The state of Washington is making it harder and harder for people with pain to get Mariwana, finding doctors to get the medical cards are nearly impossible in most areas of the state. As an example, people living in Vancouver or Camas now have to go to Tacoma or Olympia in order to see a Mariwana doctor to get a license. Which many people in pain are also disabled and have very small incomes and cannot afford to travel hundreds of miles to get a medical card. Not to mention that the state is now making people go to the Mariwana Doctor twice a year at least and charging $250.00 for the visit on top of the cost to travel so far to see a doctor. So for most people in Washington their making it impossible for people to get their medical marijuana!

  4. cindy deim at 10:16 am

    I live in colorado and would like to try it. There are many many different varieties and people here are really starting to figure it out. The only problem is, I go to a pain clinic. They won’t let you try marijuana, yet they won’t give me enough pain medication. Have to pee in a cup, if marijuana comes up, no more pain medication. Just love this new world.

  5. Mary Marshman at 9:29 am

    What do you mean by “serious adverse events” and did you find any info on Pennsylvania’s new program? We are hearing it will be more than 18 months before we will see it.

  6. Nicky at 8:14 am

    I tried Marijuana for my pain woth rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and I found that it didn’t help with the pain, it actually made me more aware of it . And yes , I tried different strains of the plant . I feel as if I am in a nightmare with my pain now barely controlled . I see every good aspect of my life slipping away . I can no longer work full time, I hurt all the time and I see the pain in my children’s eyes when I cannot play with them or when I cannot go on a family outing . Is there any hope on the horizon of the cDC realizing they have ultimately hurt the real person out there suffering , and that the addicts and drug abusers will simply move on to a different drug to get their high ??

  7. Christine Jacobs at 6:36 am

    When I lived in Washington state, I tried medical marijuana. I found it to be of no help at all with adverse side effects. For me, it was mind numbing. It was no help at all for my pain. Thank you.