New York State residents that have chronic pain will soon have access to medical cannabis.
“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain,” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program.”
Chronic pain will be included with other qualifying conditions: cancer, HIV and AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, nerve or spinal conditions resulting in intractable spasticity, neuropathies, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, and Huntington’s disease.
As Cannabis Wire previously reported, New York’s medical cannabis program has been slow to grow. Why? The state has a no-smoke provision, meaning that medical cannabis has to be processed into products that can be consumed or applied without smoke, which is more costly for business owners. In addition, a comparatively narrow list of conditions for which patients can be approved has created a smaller pool of customers than in other states. With the addition of chronic pain, the number of registered patients in likely to jump, as it has in other states when the condition was added.
Still, while New York’s selected medical cannabis license holders have had to wait out this period of slow program growth, they could be in a better position as the program expands.
“One license holder in New York where there are only five licensees, under an expansive medical program, would arguably be more valuable than an adult use license in Colorado,” Kris Krane, co-founder and managing partner of 4Front Advisors told Cannabis Wire.
Patients have told Cannabis Wire that they’re concerned about the high cost of medical cannabis in New York State. It’s possible that with more customers, costs to patients could now drop.
New York’s medical cannabis program was amended in other ways, too. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners will soon be able to register with the department of health to recommend medical cannabis to patients. According to the department, these proposed rules are subject to a public comment period of 45 days, and would take effect after it’s filed for adoption afterward.
These changes to New York’s medical cannabis program are the result of recommendations from a Two-Year Report called “Medical Use of Marijuana Under the Compassionate Care Act.” The department of health said in a statement that they will continue to work on other recommendations in the report, which include doubling the number of medical cannabis providers over the next two years, the creation of a public list of doctors that are willing to recommend medical cannabis, allowing medical cannabis access in schools and healthcare facilities, and allowing for home delivery of medical cannabis.