Medical marijuana is increasingly being prescribed for patients with weakening medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy and other diseases.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently became licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. He believes it is safer in some aspects than the other drugs and can provide a great amount of relief to patients.
Dr. Gottlieb answers some of the most commonly asked questions about this subject.
What are the common side effects of medical marijuana?
Dr. Gottlieb: The side effects can include: impaired mental functioning, decreased inhibitions, fatigue, dry mouth, hunger, memory problems, increased anxiety/ paranoia, respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness, numbness, panic reactions, hallucinations, flashbacks, depression, and sexual problems.
Is medical marijuana covered under insurance or is it out of pocket?
Dr. Gottlieb: As far as I am aware, medical marijuana is not covered by any insurance plans.
How long are patients eligible to receive medical marijuana for?
Dr. Gottlieb: A patient must get a registration card that is valid for two years from New Jersey before I can write them a letter to receive the medical marijuana from a dispensary in New Jersey.
What happens if a patient needs more than two ounces of medical marijuana in a 30-day period?
Dr. Gottlieb: If a patient needs more than two ounces in a 30-day period, I will have to come up with a treatment plan to help alleviate the pain in other ways. I will not give more than the allotted amount because we have strict protocols in our office for patients on narcotics and as a result we apply those same protocols to medical marijuana.
Why are you licensed to prescribe medical marijuana only in New Jersey? Can patients who live in New York fill prescriptions in New Jersey?
Dr. Gottlieb: Since medical marijuana is not legal in New York, only our patients who live in New Jersey can come to our New York office to receive a letter, not an actual prescription; that allows the patient to be given the medical marijuana from a dispensary in New Jersey. New York residents are not eligible to participate in this program.
When will you start prescribing medical marijuana?
Dr. Gottlieb: According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Patient Registry is anticipated to begin in July.