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New York State Makes Medical Marijuana More Accessible To Doctors, Patients

Even while there could be a year-long delay in the opening of New York's much-anticipated legal pot shops, the state is making marijuana meant for medical purposes much more accessible to the general public now. From last month, doctors can prescribe medicinal marijuana for any condition, they think it will be helpful for and not just for a limited set of diseases.

In the past few months, the New York Office of Cannabis Management has also widened the list of cannabis providers, with allowing dispensaries to sell complete marijuana buds for smoking. The state also laid down rules for patients who wanted to grow marijuana at their homes. The changes, predicted in legislation during the previous spring, are a big change on the state's medical marijuana program, which at one point of time was one of the nation's most restrictive ones.

Looking ahead, New York state is all set to launch what will be one of the biggest legal U.S. markets for recreational weed used by adults. The possession and use of recreational weed was legalized in March and the cannabis office is now working on regulations for legal sales. Commenting on the developments, pharmacist Stacia Woodcock said, "This is a huge development because it means that instead of having to wait for adult-use, a lot of people are maybe going to be able to get access to cannabis now" to deal with such problems as sleeplessness and stress."

Cannabis office Executive Director Chris Alexander called the change "a huge addition and improvement" to the six-year-old medical marijuana program.

New York state opened to medical marijuana six years ago, after more than 20 other states at the time. Unlike many other states, New York has made it compulsory for dispensaries to have on-site pharmacists and physicians to get special training before prescribing the drugs for patients. During the earlier days, dispensaries could offer only marijuana extracts in the form of pills and liquids, not the flower in smokable form, which was then a popular choice and relatively inexpensive to produce. New York state only prescribed medical marijuana for 10 illnesses, leaving out many others.

The rules have been relaxed over the years, allowing more dispensaries, practitioners, products and medical ailments to be covered. As of now in New York state, more than 124,000 patients and 3,400 providers are signed up. But until late January, the rules did not include conditions as anxiety and insomnia. They're approved in some other states and are common reasons that people seek medical marijuana.

Studies have shown strong scientific evidence of marijuana and its ingredients lessening chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Some prescription drugs also make use of cannabis chemicals or synthetic versions to treat certain forms of epilepsy or weight loss and nausea occurring in AIDS or cancer patients, during treatment.

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