Medical Marijuana and the VA healthcare system

The official policy of the VA system is that medical marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, so they will not recommend or provide it.

However, the VA has a policy about veterans who are in state regulated medical marijuana programs. This Veterans Administration policy clearly states that the VA cannot deny care to a veteran because they are in a state regulated medical marijuana program.

Here’s the official VA policy on pain clinics prescribing medicines like opioids to patients who are in a state regulated medical marijuana program, from the 2011   VHA  directive 2011-004 :

 While patients participating in State marijuana programs must not be denied VHA services, the decisions to modify treatment plans in those situations need to be made by individual providers in partnership with their patients.

That’s it. That means that the VA is leaving it up to you and your practitioner on how to integrate medical marijuana into your VA based treatment plan.

One reasonable practice pattern for VA practitioners  might simply be to note the patient’s medical marijuana use and continue their care for the patient  which meets the standard of care guidelines for the individual state the practitioner is licensed in.

Regarding medical records, remember that a patient’s medical record belongs to the patient.   New York State law requires doctors and hospitals to provide patients access to their medical records.

Veterans can also sign up for a  MyHealtheVet Premium account and go through the authentication process.  They can then  can download their own medical records using the VA Blue Button method.

Just as an editorial note, we think that our veterans deserve everything we can do to help them live their lives better.  Some of these guys never came back. Let’s do something  sensible and tangible to help the guys who did make it back.

 

PTSD and medical marijuana

New York State is considering adding PTSD as an approved condition  in the NYS Medical Marijuana Program. This is a Very Good Idea.

There is a ton of experience out there indicating that marijuana works for anxiety in lots of different people, especially  veterans who suffer with PTSD . Don’t expect the VA system to wake up any time soon.

Like any other class of medicine, medical marijuana’s effect on the endocannabinoid system may work or not work for any one individual.  There is overwhelming evidence from veteran’s lived experience that it should be available to folks as just another class of medicine to try.  With all these guys have sacrificed for us, it just seems right that we should give them the opportunity to live each day a little better. Contact your state legislator and tell them what you think.

 

How to take liquid THC (which tastes horrible)

Here’s a tip from one of our patients who happens to be  a nurse. Nurses are really smart.

Since liquid THC works great but tastes terrible, this is how you take it:

  • take the dropper and put the medicine UNDER your tongue
  • then grab a glass of water and take a drink

That’s it. The water that you sip from the glass washes the liquid THC past your taste buds and it is not nearly as vile tasting.

Nurses Rule ! ! !

 

 

Can I make my own appointment at MedMarijuana Consultants?

Yes you can.  All you have to do is call us or email us.

We will walk you through how to do this. The steps will include:

  • getting us a note from your healthcare provider
  • paying our fee online or in person
  • setting up a video consult or an in-person consult at our Liverpool NY office

That’s it !

Here’s our new patient info page.

 

Got Pain? Medical Marijuana can now help in NYS

If you live in NYS and you have chronic pain, you can now use Medical Marijuana to relieve this pain. This rule just took effect and it opens up medical marijuana treatment for chronic pain due to:

  • fibromyalgia
  • migraines
  • back and neck pain
  • joint pain
  • arthritis
  • irritable bowel syndrome

We are getting up to 2/3 good results with our system of treating patients with Medical Marijuana. We look forward to helping LOTS of folks live better.

Freeze your capsules !!

So you have THC or CBD in capsule form and one capsule is a little strong for you. What to do? Well , you could go back and buy the liquid and just take fewer ml but that would get expensive.

Here’s a trick: put your capsules in the freezer for an hour or so, then cut the frozen capsules in half (put them back in the freezer). The liquid inside the capsules may just harden enough to let you get away with this.

There is always a way…

Shingles and postherpetic neuralgia

Shingles can really hurt, and it can hurt for a long time. Turns out that around 1/7 folks with shingles will still have pain two years out.  This is called “postherpetic neuralgia” and it can really bother folks.

shingles

(thanks to medlineplus for the image !)

If other therapies don’t control pain as well as folks would like, there is pretty good evidence that a trial of medical marijuana might just work.  The risks are low and the potential benefits are pretty high. Worth a think.

 

Vaping vs oral THC in medical marijuana

TL;DR:

If oral THC is not working, try vaping the THC.

We now have good data on about 150 results and some really interesting stuff is shaking down.

At least five folks get very little results from THC that they take by mouth, but they get GREAT results from THC that they vape. This works out to around 7% of folks who respond to THC at all.

There is an explanation for this.

It turns out that when you inhale THC, you are getting the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol directly into your bloodstream. This is the chemical that your brain/body see when medical marijuana is vaped.

However, when you EAT your THC product, your liver transforms the eaten THC into 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as the predominant chemical that your brain/body see.

And it turns out that about 1/15  folks respond well to vaping delta-9-THC but don’t respond well to  its 11-hydroxy-THC cousin they get from eating THC.

All this stuff is in progress, so Watch This Space.


MORE RESULTS: spasticity does great on medical marijuana

Hot off the presses!

We just crunched more outcome numbers from our surveys and here is the latest: folks with spasticity (from MS or spinal cord injury, say) have over 40% excellent response to medical marijuana.  Not just good, EXCELLENT !  And these are folks who have gone through all the other treatments for their spasticity with not good results. So this stuff works.

This is yet more evidence that the system works. You start with a certain schedule of medical marijuana, then the medicine is personalized depending on your response.  We are beginning to Trust The System.