The City of New York has just announced that they will add chronic pain to the list of illnesses that qualify for medical cannabis. This is a victory for those suffering from the debilitating pain which cannabis has been proven to treat.
Researchers have found that medical cannabis is effective in treating pain and reducing opioid use. This is welcome news to people suffering from chronic pain.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for longer than six months. However, doctors report that is varies in expression, it can be:
- mild or excruciating
- episodic or continuous
- merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating
Common sources of pain are:
- joint pain
- pain from injury
- pain in the neck
- sinus pain
- pain in the pelvis
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- pain in the shoulders
- generalised muscle or nerve pain
Patients report that this pain lasts for months or even years. As a result, this can take a severe mental and physical toll. Patients can also experience a wrap around effect from the emotional strain. Due to the anxiety, stress, depression, anger or fatigue that they experience their bodies production of natural pain killers can decrease. Furthermore, levels of pain producing chemicals can increase. Even the immune system can become compromised as a result.
Unfortunately, treatment for chronic pain is not always effective. And a new pain relieving treatment could make a massive difference in the lives of patients.
What The Response To NYC’s Decision?
Alyssa Aguilera is the Co-Executive Director of VOCAL-NY. She says:
“Medical marijuana is a scientifically proven intervention for people who are suffering from chronic pain. Therefore, we applaud New York State for adding it as a qualifying condition to access medical marijuana.”
Kate Hintz is a representative of the patient advocacy group Compassionate Care NY. She shares:
“I am so pleased to hear that the Department of Health is moving forward. This will allow patients suffering with pain symptoms to access our medical marijuana program. Especially since cannabis has been studied and proven to be an effective treatment in managing pain, and is a possible alternative to prescription opioid use.”
She continues: “This is a significant step to remove some of the needless barriers for pain sufferers. However, let’s hope the program continues to expand so that more New Yorkers can afford and access this safe alternative.”
The Compassionate Care Patient Advocacy group says:
“We are excited to learn that the Department of Health will add chronic pain as a qualifying condition to the medical marijuana program. There is a national concern about American’s overuse of prescription opioids to manage pain. It is, therefore, important that patients are able to access alternative treatments. We hope that the Department of Health will allow New York’s doctors to ultimately determine which patients suffering with pain qualify for the program. In conclusion, we believe that the addition of chronic pain to our current program could benefit thousands of New Yorkers.”
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