Now that medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, more than 30,000 residents have been approved to receive the drug, and more than 10,000 have already taken it.
Quite a few physicians in our region are now able to certify patients to receive medical marijuana.
One of them is Dr. Fred Khalouf at the University of Orthopedics in Altoona.
Most of Dr. Khalouf’s patients suffer from severe chronic pain from cancer or spinal conditions, and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.
He says so far, he’s prescribed, medical marijuana for several dozen people.
“The results have been great, controlling spasticity, controlling pain, going above and beyond anything we’ve used so far.” Dr. Khalouf said.
Dr. Khalouf says patients can take medical marijuana by vaping, or by using oils, tinctures, lotions, or patches.
They travel to Chambersburg or Enola for the drug since the Altoona dispensary isn’t open yet.
He calls the response to the treatment huge and expects a quick growth in the number of patients taking part.
“It’s a huge deal. We’ve just scratched the surface with what we’re going to see with the cannabinoid use playing a role in many of the diseases that affect humans if not all of the diseases,” Dr. Khalouf said.
He says medical marijuana gives better pain relief with fewer side effects than opioids.
Dr. Khalouf believes one of the biggest uses for medical marijuana will to weaning patients off opioids and keep them off the drugs.