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Medical Marijuana Therapy

Marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant, or Cannabis sativa. Marijuana contains chemical components called cannabinoids that bind to receptors in the brain as well as other parts of the body. The two most recognizable types of cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects on the brain. Certain strains of marijuana may have a higher potency of THC, which will alter the psychoactive effect. Some use marijuana for recreational purposes, but in the medical field, marijuana can be prescribed for chronic pain relief and chronic pain treatment. Medical marijuana can be smoked, vaporized, used as a cream, or taken orally in the form of a pill, liquid extract, or tea. The method of intake affects its impact.

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is not entirely harmful (but can be extremely useful in the management of chronic conditions. In fact, researchers consider medications with purified chemicals or based in the cannabis plant as therapeutically effective. Multiple states have legalized dispensing marijuana and its extracts to people with a range of medical conditions.
Medications containing THC, such as dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet), have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These medications are prescribed in pill form to alleviate nausea for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, as well as to stimulate appetite for AIDS patients with wasting syndrome. The FDA has also approved a CBD liquid medication called Epidiolex, that treats two forms of severe childhood epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Other marijuana-based medications have been approved or are going under clinical trials. One such trial is to see if the cannabinoids in marijuana can treat spasticity and neuropathic pain that can result from multiple sclerosis.

Medical marijuana treats many different conditions. As previously stated, medicines containing cannabinoids have been used to treat epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In addition, medical marijuana will often be prescribed for:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Autism.
  • Cancer, including remission therapy.
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies.
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Glaucoma.
  • HIV / AIDS.
  • Huntington’s disease.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Intractable seizures.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Neuropathies.
  • Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain.
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • Terminal illness.
  • Tourette’s syndrome.

Substantial evidence that supports the safety and use of medical marijuana attests to its benefits for managing chronic pain. Clinical trials have shown that cannabis has reduced the discomfort of chronic illnesses, such as spinal cord injury, muscle and joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis and more. The cannabinoid compounds, including THC and CBD, interact with receptors in nerve cells to slow pain impulses and thus ease chronic pain

Similar to other forms of treatment, medical marijuana is not for everyone. Doctors advise against medical marijuana use for:

  • Those under 18
  • Those with severe cardio-pulmonary disease or other cardiovascular diseases
  • Those with respiratory diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Those with with severe liver or renal disease, including chronic hepatitis C
  • Those with mood disorders, psychiatric disorders, or schizophrenia
  • Those with a history or addiction and/or substance abuse
  • Those who take sedatives or other psychoactive drugs
  • Those who are planning to become pregnant, are pregnant, or breastfeeding.

As always, Dr. Sadek will provide a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment strategy to reduce chronic pain as much as possible. Dr. Sadek will conduct a thorough consultation and examination before prescribing medical marijuana to see if this treatment is the best option.
Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Pennsylvania and can receive medical marijuana through the state’s medical program by registering through the Medical Marijuana Registry. The next step is to get a physician’s certification, confirming you have one of the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment. You can find the full list of conditions on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania website. Once you are approved for a medical marijuana prescription, you will need to obtain a medical marijuana ID card, which you can pay and apply for through the Medical Marijuana Registry. After obtaining your medical marijuana ID card, you can purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary. Dr. Sadek can only certify you for medical marijuana; he can neither give a prescription nor supply the actual drug.

For more information, set up a consultation with Dr. Sadek today!

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