Medical Marijuana Program
In 2010, New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act allowed state residents suffering from certain illnesses to use and possess cannabis, with a doctor’s recommendation. It was updated in 2019 in legislation entitled the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act.
To be eligible for medical marijuana use, you must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a healthcare provider registered with the New Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Program.
At United Medical, we have several providers who are registered with the program.
The current qualifying medical conditions include:
- Chronic pain
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual periods)
- HIV and AIDS
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Opioid use disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
- Terminal illness with <12 months to live
- Tourette syndrome
A Note About Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a qualifying condition under current law in New Jersey only if it results from an illness enumerated in the Act (see the list above). Chronic pain due to an illness not listed in the Act is not eligible for authorization within the program.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
The THC in marijuana has been found to have numerous medical benefits. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved certain synthetic formulations of THC, in pill form, for nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and for the treatment of severe epilepsy in children.
Medical marijuana has been used to:
- Reduce/control pain (when the pain is not severe)
- Relax muscles and improve sleep
- Relieve nausea and stop unintended weight loss
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce inflammation in the body
- Help treat certain neurological and mental disorders
Many people opt for medical marijuana because its side effects are generally better tolerated than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen (Aleve), which can cause stomach ulcers, indigestion, and headaches. Medical marijuana is also less addictive than opioids that are sometimes used for pain management. There are numerous methods of ingesting medical marijuana, including creams, sublingual tinctures, and edibles – so smoking is no longer the only way.
Risks of Medical Marijuana
Marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government.
Medical marijuana can affect your ability to think clearly and may impact your short-term memory. Thus, it is important not to drive or operate machinery when consuming medical marijuana. Also, smoking marijuana may damage lung tissue.
While it becomes increasingly available in many states, there remains a need for more scientific research (clinical trials) about medical marijuana’s effectiveness as a form of treatment for various needs. This is unlikely to occur, however, until the federal government downgrades its Schedule I classification.
Whether medical marijuana is appropriate for you is a discussion you should have with your medical provider.
Want to Know More About Medical Marijuana in NJ?
Specific questions about New Jersey’s medical marijuana laws should be directed to the appropriate state department, such as contacting the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) by calling (609) 292-0424 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you believe you might be eligible for medical marijuana and wish to find out more? Call the United Medical office closest to you: in Lyndhurst at (201) 460-0063, in Bayonne at (201) 339-6111, or in Clifton at (973) 546-6844 to schedule your appointment with one of our qualified physicians. You can also request an appointment now.