Medical marijuana seen to have dramatic effect on symptom relief

Source: Philly.com
Before buying cannabis at South Jersey’s only medical-marijuana dispensary, patients must circle one of six animated faces that stare out from a clipboard. The row of smiling, wincing, frowning, and sobbing cartoon faces is being used to rank the degree of pain that patients experience due to cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and several other conditions the state deems treatable by cannabis…
“I was addicted to Vicodin,” said Gary Carnevale Sr., a multiple sclerosis patient from Bayville, Ocean County, shortly after he picked up an ounce of “Red Cherry Berry” marijuana from an employee behind a glass window at the dispensary. Carnevale, 57, a former licensed practical nurse, said increasing amounts of prescribed Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and other narcotics did not relieve the throbbing pain shooting up his back and legs, and he then had to be hospitalized for two weeks early last year.

“I took three or four hits. I laid in bed, and I could not believe the pain slipping away,” Carnevale said, recalling the first day he smoked it using a vaporizer. “My pain was like ten. . . But when I smoke marijuana, I swear it’s zero,” he said.

While he previously spent most of his days in bed, he said he now is able to function and even took a recent vacation with his family…
Jacqueline Angotti, a nurse-practitioner from Robbinsville, began sobbing when asked the effect the marijuana had on her 9-year-old son, Miles, who had suffered multiple, daily seizures since he was 2. “He’s been seizure-free; he’s had none for the past 31 days and has had no side effects,” she said. “And he’s better cognitively.”
In the past, Miles was forced to wear a mask to protect his face and teeth from frequent falls caused by the violent seizures, she said. And, for the same reason, he had to eat meals from a tray while sitting on the floor.
Angotti turned the marijuana buds into a tincture, which she gives to Miles in tiny doses three times a day, and he no longer needs his mask, she said. “He eats dinner at the table now,” she added…
Those afflicted with seizures, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and glaucoma are reporting the greatest benefit,┬áBill Thomas, CEO of Compassionate Care Foundation, in Egg Harbor Township, N.J said. One patient who had Crohn’s disease experienced a “total reversal” and was able to return to work, he said…
New Jersey is one of 22 states that have legalized medical marijuana…Marijuana’s status as a federally prohibited Schedule I drug, ranking it more dangerous than opium, has blocked studies on its medicinal value…Though the federal government still considers marijuana illegal, the Obama administration recently announced it will not enforce the ban in states that have legalized it for medical and for recreational use except in egregious trafficking cases and when it is being marketed to minors…

Only patients who have a doctor’s approval may buy the drug…Its strictly regulated program calls for doctors to write “recommendations” – not prescriptions – authorizing patients to obtain cannabis. But they are not required to provide dosing information, leaving patients to use marijuana on a trial-and-error basis…

Back in the dispensary waiting room, a 60-year-old Brigantine woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis was busy gathering up her one-quarter ounce of marijuana and her umbrella as she prepared to head home. “I had pain every day in my feet and occasionally in my face,” she said…”It’s debilitating, and when it’s in my face it’s like lightning.” After baking marijuana brownies with the cannabis, she said, her pain improved 80 percent.
“It’s a valid medicine,” she said. “And it is time it’s seen that way.”

Click here for New Jersey Medical Marijuana Information
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