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Medical Marijuana

Integrated Spine And Pain Care

Interventional Pain Management Physician located in Farmingdale, NY & Deer Park, NY

Medical Marijuana Q&A

What is medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. The marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC also produces the "high" people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it.

What conditions qualify a person to purchase cannabis?

Each state that has legalized marijuana for medicinal use has different rules about what conditions qualify for treatment. 

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Cancer
  • Chronic or debilitating pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe nausea
  • Wasting syndrome


THC versus CBD 

The active ingredients in cannabis are called cannabinoids. Each works by binding to receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. It’s as if this system was designed to respond effectively to cannabis. These are what provide the pain relief, stop the muscle spasms, calm the anxiety, etc.

  • THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive compound in a cannabis plant. This is the compound that makes you high, provides euphoria, whatever you call it. THC works as a potent anti-inflammatory agent, and is used to treat cancer, chronic pain, arthritis, convulsions, glaucoma, insomnia, and lots more.
  • CBD is cannabidiol. CBD is one of the many other cannabinoids found in marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. It is found to reduce nausea, suppresses seizures, is anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, and has anti-cancer qualities.


How does a patient get cannabis?

To get medical marijuana, you need a written recommendation from a licensed doctor in states where that is legal. You must have a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana use. Each state has its own list of qualifying conditions. New York requires you to get a medical marijuana ID card. Once you have that card, you can buy medical marijuana at a dispensary.