Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Patients Should Talk with Their Doctor about Medical Marijuana

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Patients Should Talk with Their Doctor about Medical Marijuana

Article excerpt

In November, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment that will allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients with serious and debilitating illnesses. The initiative was overwhelmingly embraced by Missourians, receiving the most votes of any issue or candidate on the Missouri ballot. And while we are still several months away from Missouri patients being able to officially enroll in the program, now is the time to start discussing this topic with your doctor.

That's because starting on Dec. 6, the day the law went into effect, Missouri doctors and patients have legal protections under the state's constitution to discuss medical marijuana as a treatment option for the first time.

As a board-certified internist in both Missouri and Illinois, I have a unique perspective on the exciting changes that lie ahead for Missouri patients. I've been a participating doctor in the Illinois medical marijuana program since its inception. In that time, more than 46,000 patients in Illinois have been approved to use medical marijuana.

Through my practice, I've certified more than 100 of these patients who meet the qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana patient cards. Their conditions include epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and various forms of cancer. I believe it's been a compassionate and responsible treatment option for patients.

The best thing we can do to ensure that Missouri sees the same success is to focus on the education of the medical community. This is why I am a board member of the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, an association of business owners, health care providers, professionals, patients and residents who are taking the lead to help implement a successful, safe and compliant medical marijuana program in Missouri.

As a member of MoCannTrade's Healthcare Education committee, I look forward to helping inform and educate my peers and fellow practitioners on the anecdotal and evidential success of medical marijuana, especially as an alternative to opioids. …

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