Marijuana is definitely one of the most controversial issues on the market today. There are reports that the plant should no longer be considered a drug (because quite frankly its not.)
Even though marijuana has it’s psychoactive ‘high’ properties, the plant actually possesses a good amount of healing processes to one’s body, especially when someone is suffering from a chronically painful illness.
The Hot Zone USA had the opportunity to learn more and speak to an alternative health care professional, Dr. Tommy O’Brien, a dedicated medical specialist devoting his practices to the New York State Medical Marijuana Program .
Q: What do you think are the healing properties are in cannabis?
A: Oh boy. There are plenty. It ranges from, calming a patient down for those who have anxiety, helping to reduce muscle spasms and relaxing the colon for patients who have irritable bowel syndrome. Cannabis helps fight cancer by reducing and shutting at the site of uncontrollable cellular division, as well as it will stop angiogensis, which is basically because cannabis has the ability to stop it’s own blood flow.
Q: THC is typically a psychoactive constituent of cannabis, which is typically found in higher dosages in street marijuana. While, medical marijuana is known for it’s higher CBD levels. Can you contrast those and describe the difference between those two constituents?
A: Well, when you’re smoking a street marijuana cigarette, you’ll see more sedation. You’ll see what we call the munchies. THC stimulates your appetite because it has receptors in the brain, but you’re going to see the effects of the drug in the brain. Whereas, CBD receptors are not found in the central nervous system, they’re found outside, like the GI tract, nervous system, and immune system, so you don’t get those side effects.
Q: How is medical marijuana typically prescribed?
A: In New York state, we’re only allowed vapor, drops (tincture) , syrup and pills. The young generation likes the vapor. The middle generation, from ages between 40-60 prefer the drops or the tincture and people 70 and above prefer the pill.
Q: Do you think there’s enough research being done about cannabis and medical cannabis?
A: We definitely need more research because most of the research is out of the country, Canada and Israel.
Q: Do you think people suffering from other painful chronic illnesses, that aren’t listed in the permitted New York state guidelines could benefit off of marijuana?
A: Yeah. Absolutely. Right now, I could name off the top of my head several diseases. Any immune disease, that is matched with a good CBD ratio, could help reduce inflammation in the body and reduce the pain. Patients who have PTSD, panic disorders and anxiety would benefit off of a high CBD level because it helps relax and calm the patient down, and it keeps you more alert, since it doesn’t stimulate the brain. Not a high, but more of a calming effect. People who have viral myalgia as well.
Q: What’s the reason behind the listed illnesses that are included in the New York state guidelines marijuana laws?
A: It may be due to the studies, and what the studies have shown. This is a good start. Medicine in New York is extremely conservative, especially New York City.
Q: How do you think New Yorkers are going to taking the permitted prescription of medicinal marijuana? Do you think it could erase the negative stigma?
A: The hardest part of my job is the education. First and foremost, my goal as a physician is to make my patients comfortable and functional. Not to have patients walking around the street high. In New York, it’s extremely controlled. They have to look at you and assess you. It is up to the physician to set standards on what they practice. For me, I bring the patient in and I do a physical and a baseline urine analysis.
Q: How did you get your fascination and passion for cannabis?
A: I believe in the mind, body, soul, and spirit. Our entire body is connected to the bloodstream and the blood travels. The mind and the spirit, when you’re feeling good about yourself, you’ll have a little extra pep in your step. Back to your question, I looked at this and thought, I could add this. This is another tool that you can pull out of your black bag to help take care of your patients. It’s not a drug anymore, when you think drug you’re thinking you’re smoking a joint. It’s not a drug anymore, let’s talk medicine. I saw the benefits after doing a lot of research.