New York City to Allow Medical Marijuana Treatment for IBD Patients

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has successfully made the exclusive list of conditions New York State deems appropriate to be treated with medical marijuana.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has successfully made the exclusive list of conditions New York State deems appropriate to be treated with medical marijuana.

 

The State Health Department’s recently released regulations, minimally altered from December’s proposal, underscores New York’s medical marijuana program slated to be implemented come January 2016.

 

While several effects of predominant IBD conditions of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) include stress, disturbed sleep, anxiety, and loss of appetite, medical marijuana would be used to help with symptoms of pain and cramps as well.

 

The state is expected to sanction the use of non-smokeable types of marijuana – ingested or vaporized forms of the drug – for treating IBD, cancer, HIV/AIS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord damage, epilepsy, neuropathies, and Huntington’s disease. Additionally, New York State will provide licenses to 5 organizations to grow and distribute marijuana to state-regulated dispensaries.

 

According to recent documents published on the department website, “New York State recognizes that possession and use of marijuana is illegal in the US. However, the State also recognizes the benefit in making available medical marijuana to qualified individuals with debilitating and life threatening illnesses and conditions. To that end, the Compassionate Care Act is a balanced legislation that ensures appropriate access through comprehensive regulations and safeguards.”

 

Several advocate groups had expected the regulations to cover a series of additional diseases and conditions. These same groups had voiced concerns surrounding a potential expansion of the number of dispensaries, so patients wouldn’t be forced to drive for hours to access the treatment.

 

Addressing the advocacy groups’ concerns, the health department has considered potentially implementing charity distribution programs in the future to safely cater to the inaccessibility of the fixed price marijuana for low income patients.

 

Comprehensive education requirements has long been an important concern. As such, according to the Compassionate Care Act, practitioners – licensed physicians and possibly nurse practitioners – will be required to complete a 4-hour course, which will be made available online, before receiving their certification.

 

Furthermore, “Expanding the initial set of regulations would have subjected the State to unnecessary scrutiny and jeopardized the program’s ability to move forward in any meaningful manner. The Compassionate Care Act and the proposed regulations strike the required balance by implementing a strong and effective medical marijuana program in New York State.”