Medical Marijuana & CBD
Medical marijuana & CBD (aka cannabidiol) are wide accepted alternative treatment options for treating pain. The popularity of medical marijuana & CBD has exploded as study after study continues to support the idea that these “alternative” treatments are effective at managing medical conditions naturally. While opioids are effective for pain, the risk of addiction and overdose have overshadowed their benefits and led to increasing restrictions on their availability – rightfully so. As a result, the medical community has been looking for viable alternatives for treating pain and medical marijuana/CBD may just be the answer…
What is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana comes from the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant and contains THC which may cause a feeling of euphoria when used. It is the most beneficial for managing symptoms stemming from autoimmune disorders.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) can be extracted from hemp or cannabis. It has trace amounts of THC and does not cause a “high.” CBD is best for neutralizing conditions associated with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, weight management and nausea
Medical marijuana is only legal in certain states like New York and requires a license to obtain whereas CBD is legal in all 50 states without any type of license
Medical marijuana and CBD can be used on a wide variety of indications. There are also a variety of ways each product can be used (i.e. drops, edibles, topical creams, salves, vapor pens, or smoked) – all of which depends on the condition and the person making it a truly personalized therapy. In the case of medical marijuana, the patient can decide the ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to CBD as well as the concentrations and even the desired effect. As such, it can by tailored and personalized to the individual and their condition. Medical marijuana and CBD have been shown to be effective for:
Abdominal Pain from Crohn’s Disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Arthritic Joint Pain
Cachexia & Loss of Appetite
Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy
Facial Pain and Headaches
HIV/AIDS – Pain & other associated symptoms
Neuropathy & Neuropathic Pain
Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
What Are the Side Effects?
Potential side effects with medical marijuana include:
- Euphoria or a “high”
- Slower reaction times
- Increased heart rate & anxiety
- Impaired concentration and memory
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Increased appetite
- Potential for addiction & withdrawal
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Adverse drug-to-drug interactions
*These may be more severe/intense with higher concentrations of THC and can be mitigated by requesting lower doses from the dispensary
Potential side effects with CBD include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Interaction with blood thinners
*CBD contains <0.3% THC so it is generally very well tolerated with limited side effects reported
One of the problems with CBD is that it is poorly regulated and many products have far less CBD actually in it than advertised so the results tend to be questionable. The Ainsworth Institute carries prescription strength CBD from a company called Versea – these products are laboratory tested with guaranteed concentrations that are higher than what can be obtained elsewhere. Furthermore, Versea stands behind their products and their efficacy. We carry 2 different types of CBD: tincture drops and salve. Each product comes in different concentrations with levels as high as 3300mg per dose.
If you are interested in medical marijuana and think you are a candidate, you will need to follow a few basic and easy steps:
- Download the MM Referral Form
- Print it out and give to your primary care doctor, family practice doctor or other treating medical professional
- Call our office to make an appointment: this can be done in person or from the comfort and safety of your own home via telemdicine!
- If you are doing a telemedicine visit, please make sure to email the MM Referral From to our office prior to your visit. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you qualify for medical marijuana, you will be asked to fill out a Medical Marijuana Contract that states your responsibilities (i.e. monthly follow ups to track your progress, monthly urine screens, etc)
- You will be provided with a list of instructions on how to start the process of obtaining your Medical Marijuana license with New York State – our office cannot do this part for you. You must complete this part on your own
- At the same time as you are working on step #6, we will start the process of registering you with New York State. We cannot complete this part until you complete step #6
- You will need to provide a urine sample in order to complete the license registration
- This entire process typically takes 30 days from the point of your initial consultation
- Once the registration is complete and you are formally licensed, you will need to find a dispensary to obtain your prescription. If you would prefer, we can provide you with a preferred location that we typically refer our patients to – we have no financial conflict of interest with any dispensaries.
- When you go to the dispensary, you will meet with the pharmacist – at this point you will discuss expectations and what you are looking for insofar as how it will be used (i.e. topical, vapor pen, edible, marijuana cigarettes, etc). Based on your input, the pharmacist will create a treatment plan with a prescription that is tailored to your individual needs by using different ratios of THC:CBD to accentuate certain attributes of the therapy while decreasing others.
- Your license will only be good for 30 days at a time so you will be required to complete a monthly follow up visit with a urine sample in order for your license to be renewed for another 30 days – these visits can be done via telemedicine and the urine tests can be performed at any outside facility if you prefer. For sake of ease, most patients will simply do their follow ups at our office and provide the urine sample at the same time.
- Once you complete 12 months without missing any follow ups or having any issues with your urine samples, you will only be required to come once every 3 months moving forward.
For a complete set of instructions, please contact our office.
Medical marijuana cannot be taken out of the state. This means that if you are a resident of another state like New Jersey or Connecticut, you will not be able to obtain medical marijuana in New York. In situations such as these, we strongly recommend CBD which can be purchased directly through our office.
Unfortunately, no. At the present time, no insurances cover medical marijuana (not even Workers Compensation). It is strictly a cash business with patients covering 100% of the medication out of pocket. The only part of the process that is covered by insurance is the cost of the visit and urine screen
If you think you are a candidate for medical marijuana or CBD, contact the Ainsworth Institute to set up an initial evaluation and discuss your options. Even if medical marijuana or CBD are not ideal for you, we offer a extensive variety of treatments for just about every pain condition you can think of.
The Ainsworth Institute is Here to Help
Our doctors at the Ainsworth Institute of Pain Management are experiences in managing and treating pelvic pain. Dramatic improvements are possible with the right treatment. The sooner treatment is started, the better the chances of success. Call and schedule an appointment now with one of our board-certified pain management experts.