1. What conditions make me eligible to obtain medical marijuana?
You are potentially eligible for medical marijuana if you have been diagnosed with one or more of the following severe debilitating or life threatening conditions: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, Huntington’s disease or chronic pain (as defined by 10 NYCRR §1004.2(a)(8)(xi)). The severe debilitating or life threatening condition must also be accompanied by one or more of the following associated or complicating conditions: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.
2. What is the first step to obtaining medical marijuana?
The first step is speaking with your treating practitioner about whether the medical use of marijuana is appropriate for your condition. If your practitioner determines it is an appropriate treatment for you and he or she is registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program, he or she may issue you a certification for medical marijuana.
3. How can I find a registered practitioner?
Patients seeking access to medical marijuana should first go to their treating practitioner. If a patient’s treating practitioner is not already registered with the Department to certify patients for medical marijuana, information regarding practitioner registration can be found on the Department’s website: Practitioner Education for the Medical Marijuana Program.
Patients may access a list of registered practitioners by clicking here. A patient’s treating practitioner can also make a referral to a registered practitioner using the Medical Marijuana Data Management System located within the Department’s Health Commerce System (HCS).
4. May additional medical conditions be added to the list of conditions eligible for medical marijuana?
Yes, the Commissioner of Health may add other conditions to the list. In fact, the Commissioner recently made a determination to add chronic pain as a serious condition. Effective March 22, 2017, patients with “any severe debilitating pain that a practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability; where the patient has contraindications, has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options;” may qualify for medical marijuana, so long as “there is documented medical evidence of such pain having lasted three months or more beyond onset, or the practitioner reasonably anticipates such pain to last three months or more beyond onset.”
In addition, scientists and physicians at the Department of Health have analyzed more than 2 dozen scientific studies on Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rheumatoid arthritis. They also sought input from medical professionals and associations. Despite these comprehensive reviews, there is not enough scientific evidence at this time to support the inclusion of these additional conditions to the Medical Marijuana Program. However, the Commissioner has not stopped his review, and will evaluate new scientific evidence as soon as it becomes available. If sufficient scientific evidence becomes available to support the determination that medical marijuana will provide relief to patients suffering from any additional conditions, including these five, the Commissioner will act quickly to add them to the list of covered conditions.
5. What forms and dosage amounts of medical marijuana are allowed?
The Commissioner must approve any form of medical marijuana. Approved forms include liquids and oil for vaporization or administration via inhaler as well as capsules to take orally. Under the law, smoking is not permitted and the regulations prohibit edibles.
The patient’s certifying practitioner must include the following information on the patient’s certification: the authorized brand and form of the approved medical marijuana, the administration method, and any limitations on the use of approved medical marijuana product. If a practitioner has a recommendation regarding dosage, it should also be included on the certification, although a recommendation on dosage is not required. Moreover, the total amount of product that may be dispensed may not exceed a thirty-day supply.