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Recognizing the vast majority of people who seek opioid painkillers and subsequently get hooked are those suffering from conditions that cause chronic pain, the New York Department of Health announced that “any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed (could be) a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.”

“Effective immediately, registered practitioners may certify patients to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids, provided that the precise underlying condition for which an opioid would otherwise be prescribed is stated on the patient’s certification,” according to the Department of Health.

Dr. Jahan Chaudhry, MD, founder of the Long Island Compassionate Medical Center in Holbrook, said he believes this announcement will pave the way for many more people who are in pain to find safe, all-natural relief with medical cannabis.

“Before this announcement, people with severe pain may not have met the definition of any of the accepted qualifying conditions that would allow them to receive a prescription for medical marijuana,” Dr. Chaudhry said. “Now, people who have been taking opioids to manage pain can turn to a far safer, more natural treatment.”

Additionally, “opioid use” has been added to the list of qualifying condition in New York, further paving the way for people who are enrolled in rehab or other certified treatment program (including Medication Assisted Treatment) to use cannabis instead of opioid painkillers to manage pain.

In addition, the regulation adds opioid use disorder as an associated condition. This allows patients with opioid use disorder who are enrolled in a certified treatment program to use medical marijuana as an opioid replacement.

Opioid replacement joins the following 12 qualifying conditions under the state’s Medical Marijuana Program: cancer; HIV infection or AIDS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis; spinal cord injury with spasticity; epilepsy; inflammatory bowel disease; neuropathy; Huntington’s disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; and chronic pain.

In adding opioid replacement to the list of qualifying conditions for cannabis, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said: “Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain that may also reduce the chance of opioid dependence.

“Adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combating the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state,” Dr. Zucker said.

Don’t live in pain for even one more day! Contact the Long Island Compassionate Medical Center for an appointment with Dr. Jahan Chaudhry. He will assess your condition and, if appropriate, help you get registered so you can begin taking safe, all-natural medical marijuana to manage your pain.

Call 631-588-4888 for an appointment.