A New Kind of Medicine

November 8, 2018

A New Kind of Medicine

By: Alisia D

Currently, under federal law, marijuana is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Controlled Substances Act of 1970 as a Schedule 1 drug, and is in the same category as heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and GHB or commonly known as “Date Rape Drug.” However, states are now establishing laws that allow for medical and recreational use of marijuana. To date there are nine states that allow for recreational use of marijuana for people over 21 and 30 states that allow the drug to be used for medical purposes.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Medical Marijuana is defined as: “Treating symptoms of illness and other conditions with the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts.” However, the Food and Drug Administration does not recognize the marijuana plant in basic form as a medicine. Nevertheless, marijuana is still being used to alleviate patient’s conditions and symptoms.

Following in the footsteps of countless other states, Governor Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act on April 17, 2016, therefore effectively allowing patients access to medical marijuana. As of February 15, 2018, medical marijuana became available to all Pennsylvanians through 150 dispensaries located across the state. The PA Medical Marijuana Act authorized prescribing medical marijuana to patients who suffer from the following conditions:

·         Autism ·         Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
·         Cancer, including remission therapy ·         Crohn’s Disease
·         Damage to nervous tissue of central nervous system ·         Dyskinesia and Spastic Movement Disorders
·         Epilepsy ·         Glaucoma
·         HIV/AIDS ·         Huntington’s Disease
·         Inflammatory Bowel Disease ·         Intractable seizures
·         Multiple Sclerosis ·         Neurodegenerative Diseases
·         Neuropathies ·         Opioid addiction therapy
·         Parkinson’s Disease ·         Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
·         Severe chronic neuropathic pain ·         Sickle cell anemia
·         Terminal illness


As of May 2018, 37,000 patients have registered to receive medical marijuana and nearly 1,000 physicians have registered to begin training to prescribe it. With the 150 dispensaries across the state, patients are able to receive medical cannabis products such as oil, tincture, and cannabis flower to vaporize, but smoking cannabis flower is prohibited. Dispensaries are also prohibited from selling edibles, but many cannabis products can be mixed into food or drinks in order to receive benefits.

Medical Marijuana has many advantages in treating a wide range of debilitating medical conditions, and when properly prescribed, addiction is less likely to occur. According to the 2016 report from the Analysis of Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania, 4,642 deaths were reported as drug-related overdose- and 85 percent of those were related to opioid use. In contrast, the National Institute on Drug Addiction state only 9 percent of marijuana users become addicted and 17 percent will develop dependence if they begin using as a teen.

The PA Medical Marijuana web page states, revenue will provide support for an advisory committee that reviews research findings and makes recommendations to the legislature for future changes to the current law. Also provide support for the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to assist with drug abuse prevention, counseling, and treatment services.With more research, it is likely that we will see a state wide move from dependence on prescription medications and a dramatic decrease in opiate overdose in the Lehigh Valley area and Pennsylvania as a whole.

According to Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana web page, there are four simple steps to follow if you believe you qualify to receive medical marijuana. They are:

  1. Register for the program through the state Medical Marijuana Registry
  2. Meet with a certified physician to validate that you suffer from one of the medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.
  3. Pay for a medical marijuana ID card.
  4. Get medical marijuana from an approved dispensary in Pennsylvania













Alisia D is a fairly recent graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where she received a degree in Mass Communications- Public Relations and Anthropology. Alisia joined the AWC team in September 2017 as a Patient Educator. She believes every person no matter gender, sex, ethnicity, or socioeconomic standing, deserves quality healthcare, reliable reproductive services, and accurate information to make informed healthcare decisions. 

“Be the change you wish to see in the word.” – Ghandi

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