In the state of New York, medical marijuana is available for patients with any of the 10 qualifying conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis epilepsy, and this week the state Health Department announced that they're developing regulations to include patients with chronic pain. Around 11,000 patients have been certified by their doctor to receive medical marijuana, but adding chronic pain to the list could help ease the pain of many more Americans. Chronic pain is currently defined as having pain for more than 15 days a month, which the DENT Neurologic Institute says includes 100-million Americans.
“Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York state, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program," state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement.
Mechtler says medical marijuana will help get many patients off of prescription opiates.
"I'd rather have individuals on medical marijuana than I do with opiates. There has not been one certified death from overdose of medical marijuana," says Mechtler. "I think this is an exciting time for medical marijuana to step in to decrease the addiction rate, to decrease the overdose, and help our patients and our athletes and our students who have chronic pain."