Pennsylvania Makes Headway with Medical Marijuana

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In April of 2016, the state of Pennsylvania authorized a medical marijuana program. Since then, much has been done to bring this service to people In Pennsylvania communities, including the formation of the Physicians Workgroup which was created to outline the guidelines and operation of the medical marijuana program.

Recently, the Secretary of Health, Dr. Karen Murphy, announced that the department is now accepting applications for growers and processors of marijuana so that they can receive permits for producing and distributing the drug. With this pivotal step being taken, those who require medical marijuana as part of their treatment for certain medical conditions will soon be able to get the care they need. Among the ailments that are authorized to be treated with medical marijuana, the following are those that people will be able to receive a prescription for after they have registered with the Department of Health:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Conditions with nerve tissue damage in the spinal cord
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Neuropathies
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe intractable pain
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Terminal illness in which one has less than 1 year to live if the illness continues

Provided patients are at least 18 years of age or older, have a doctor’s recommendation, and complete the required registration, medical marijuana will be accessible to individuals who need this form of care.

It is important to note that patients must adhere to the strict guidelines in place so as to remain compliant with the law allowing this type of treatment. This service will also only allow medical marijuana physicians to write prescriptions for marijuana, of which will only be administered in the form of a pill, oil, a cream, an ointment, or in a vapor form that can be used with a nebulizer. The law prohibits marijuana from being dispensed in its natural state as a plant to prevent patients from smoking the drug.

Even though dispensaries with permits are not administering marijuana that can be smoked, another issue this innovative program is bringing to the forefront of public attention is the potential for the abuse of marijuana. Given this fact, it is important for community members to be mindful of the warning signs of marijuana abuse so that proper effective care can be received. Those who regularly abuse marijuana, are unable to stop despite efforts to do so, and those who abuse this drug in potentially harmful situations are individuals who can benefit most from treatment.

Luckily, Pennsylvania has many substance abuse treatment centers that are equipped to assess and care for individuals who are grappling with a marijuana abuse problem. Therefore, if you or someone close to you is struggling with this sort of issue, it is a good idea to seek out and engage in a program before the detrimental effects of abusing marijuana begin to take hold.

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