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Times Union: State to add chronic pain to list of conditions medical marijuana can treat

New Yorkers suffering from certain chronic pain will be able to use medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms, the state Department of Health announced on Thursday.

That addition to the strict list of conditions treatable by medical marijuana products is one of the most significant strides the state has taken to expand the program to date.

It’s not yet clear exactly what kind of chronic pain will be treatable under the program’s rules. The department will develop a regulatory amendment, which will specify the chronic pain conditions that will qualify patients for the program. That amendment is to be published for public comment soon, the department said.

Already on the list of 10 treatable conditions are cancer, HIV infection or AIDS and epilepsy, among others.

The addition follows a lengthy review by the department and comes as it also moves to allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to certify patients for the state-run program, which is among the nation’s most strict.

“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain,” state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program.”

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Read more here to find out what Vireo Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stephen Dahmer, and Vireo Health of New York Chief Executive Officer, Ari Hoffnung, had to say about the recent expansion!

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