July 2017: The Compassionate Care Act in the state of New York has made Medical Marijuana accessible to many deserving patients and I have seen first and foremost patients who had tried various other modalities without relief e.g from chronic pain get some relief with use of medical Marijuana. It is not a cure-all, no medication is but it is an added modality we can use.
I was thinking today of this patient I saw one time- this gentleman came with his wife of 50 years, a wonderful couple salt of the earth kind of people, the kind that finishes each others sentence- heck they seem to finish each other’s thoughts! He was diabetic with severe hand pain from neuropathy on a significant dose of opioids with no relief, I mean a very very big dose. Has never been tried on the other meds I use in pain management such as ‘nerve pain’ medications e.g. cymbalta. So I go ahead and start him on cymbalta and tell him to continue on his opioids at least while the cymbalta kicks in- well he comes back two weeks later – I like to see my patients back in two weeks if I start any new medication because everyone is so unique and you never know the reactions they will have to any medication. Anyway he comes back and is looking so much better, he is joking, and the cymbalta is helping. And guess what? By himself , without any prodding from me he reduced his opioid intake by 2/3rds. Amazing! I love this job. (Now I have to say here that opioids are great medications when used correctly and I do use them in my practice but it's also nice to see other drugs be used when opiods have failed).