Medical Marijuana

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What is medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana is the therapeutic use of chemical derivatives from the cannabis plant, specifically THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). When administered under the care of a medical professional, medical marijuana can relieve the symptoms associated with a variety of health conditions.

Medical marijuana is legal in New York State, but requires authorization by a physician registered with the Medical Marijuana Program. Only New York State residents are eligible for authorization under the New York State Medical Marijuana Program.

Who may benefit from medical marijuana?

Marijuana acts on the body’s endocannibinoid system, which plays a role in mood, appetite, pain, motility of the digestive tract, response to stress and even immune system function. As this would suggest, marijuana can exert a significant effect on a variety of gastrointestinal diseases and their symptoms– as well as those of other non-digestive conditions as well.

Medical marijuana may provide relief for a broad range of conditions, including chronic pain, nausea (especially nausea related to cancer chemotherapy), and the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis). It can be particularly effective in treating the symptoms of various gastrointestinal disorders when other treatments have failed, including severe abdominal pain and intractable nausea.

The composition of the different forms (i.e. the dose of different cannabinoids in the products) is tailored to the needs of the individual patient. Medical marijuana comes in several different forms, including inhalers, sublingual tinctures, pills/capsules, dissolvable powders, and topical creams or ointments. Please be aware that health insurance does not cover the cost of medical marijuana products themselves.

By: New York Gastroenteroloy

Reviewed by: Eric Goldstein, MD


Last Reviewed: Mar 1st, 2022

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