Jack Jones, a 71-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War is fighting a new battle, and this time, pain is the enemy. After having a number of surgeries to treat his lymphoma, Jones was in a considerable amount of pain – but he didn’t want to accept a prescription for opioids, so he asked his doctor for medical cannabis oil instead.
As a retired journalist, Jones has been keeping up with the news, and since he knew that medical cannabis could now be prescribed in New York, he decided to try it as a safer option to conventional painkillers. He has now become one of 5,000 patients who may legally use cannabis for medical reasons in the state. Only 14 patients from Ontario County are among these. Most come from the Finger Lakes area, according to the state’s health department.
It’s not easy to get a cannabis oil for pain prescription in New York
Becoming a registered medical cannabis oil user in New York State is far from easy. Firstly, it may only be prescribed for certain life-threatening or debilitating diseases including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy. Secondly, a physician who has received training and certification in order to prescribe medical cannabis oil for pain or other conditions has to be consulted. The state has 90,000 doctors, but only 600 of them are allowed to prescribe cannabis.
Concerns about medical marijuana laws leading to an explosion in the use of illegal cannabis have been aired, but Dr. Robert Ostrander of the New York State Academy of Family Physicians says that although he still is worried about the lack of conclusive scientific research into medical cannabis, the marijuana abuse threat has already been staved off by only allowing cannabis oil to be prescribed, rather than raw cannabis.
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So how is Jack Jones doing?
Jones has been disappointed with his medical cannabis experience. He says that given the difficult process he had to undergo to get his medical cannabis card and the distance he has to travel to obtain his cannabis extract which must be collected in person, as well as the high price of the tincture he has been given to use, the whole medical cannabis experience has been “over-rated”.
He’s also not happy with the quality control of the product he’s been given to use. On one occasion, he received only the syringe he needed to dose himself, and no tincture. He still hopes to solve his pain issues without opioids, but says he may not be using his freedom to obtain medical marijuana tincture again.
Meanwhile, veteran NFL players are pushing for access to pain relief that differs from Jones’ medicine in one respect: it doesn’t contain THC, but contains another cannabinoid, CBD, instead. Despite the fact that CBD can’t get anyone high, it has the same Schedule 1 status as medical cannabis in its other forms. Could CBD cannabis oil for pain be the answer Jones is looking for? Perhaps, but getting access is the greatest obstacle.