Author: Frank R. Laurri, MD, FACP
A question I’m often asked is:
“Is this new craze over medical marijuana & CBD (medical cannabis) a modern version of snake oil or does it really work?”
Actually, there is clear evidence that cannabis does really help certain symptoms, such as pain and often with less risk than other medications.
Cannabis is marijuana. There are two main drugs that come from using marijuana – CBD and THC. Both of these substances are pain relievers leading to the most common use of medical marijuana – chronic pain. CBD has no psychoactive effects whereas THC can, in higher doses, cause a “high”. These drugs are not FDA approved for any specific medical problem but have been shown to reduce the need for opiates and NSAIDS (like Ibuprofen and Naproxen) in patients with chronic pain. Both of THESE types of medications have clear, known risks.
This is the reason physicians, like myself, have studied this new therapy and have agreed to certify patients for its use. Medical marijuana is legal in New York state under certain conditions and a physician certified in its use can legally authorize its use in a patient. No drug is risk free, so discussing the pros and cons with your certifying physician is essential for optimal effect.