The easy way to become a medical marijuana patient in New York

Once New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed the the state’s medical marijuana bill, 10-year-old Amanda Houser’s mother thought that there would finally be a solution to her daughter’s suffering. Amanda, a Dravet syndrome patient, had at least 1,000 seizures every month. After trying numerous different treatments and medications, marijuana was their last resort. Little did they know, the licensing of medical marijuana companies would take 18 months.

After the 18-month waiting period, many patients still lacked access to the medicine they needed. The murky legal status of medical marijuana stopped many medical practitioners from recommending the drug. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), among other advocates, raised this issue with New York’s Health Department. But fearing federal prohibition, the agency opted to keep its strict regulations.

The Health Department has tried to address the early problems that medical marijuana patients and their doctors faced. It added qualifying conditions (increasing the number of patients), made registration for practitioners easier, and set up two courses about medical marijuana for doctors. The issues facing patients now are less glaring. In the 55,000-square-mile state, there are only 22 medical marijuana dispensaries for the 65,000 registered patients. While medical marijuana accessibility has (in some ways) improved, patients continue to face barriers to access treatment.

That’s where technology companies like NuggMD, HelloMD, and PrestoDoctor come in. These websites seek to help patients who are eligible for medical marijuana register for the program. Registering online is simple, especially for patients who have mobility issues or live far away from a participating doctor. For more, check out nuggmd.com.

How one doctor’s personal journey with cannabis helped her overcome the fear of stigma

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When Dr. Junella Chin was 17-years-old, she was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an autoinflammatory disease of the spine in which the vertebrae begin to fuse together. Eventually, the spine begins to lose mobility. As she progressed through medical school, her condition worsened, and chronic pain hindered her ability to work in the hospital.

Finally, one of her attendings gave her a cannabis tincture to see if it would help her pain. After years and years of little to no relief with every treatment she tried, Dr. Chin finally found a solution. Though she had to overcome her fear of the stigma surrounding cannabis, Dr. Chin was inspired by her own pain relief and set out to learn as much as she could about medical marijuana. Now, she has integrated medical marijuana into her family practice and helps others find relief through cannabis. Learn more about her journey to cannabis and why we need more research into the field.