Andrew M. Lerman, MD
Adult Neurology & Epilepsy Specialist located in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Miami, FL
With the passing of Amendment 2 by Florida voters on November 8th, 2016, medical cannabis is approved to treat people who have very specific or comparable debilitating diseases. Amendment 2, also known as the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, and the expanded qualifying medical conditions, became effective on January 3, 2017.
Medical Cannabis Q & A
What is Medical Cannabis?
Cannabis is a plant that has recently gained a lot of attention, particularly within the medical community, regarding its potential medicinal benefits in treating various medical conditions. The plant is usually processed into an oil, which serves as a vehicle for ingestion, and there are various formulations depending on the condition being treated or medication’s intended effect. These include high CBD-low THC formulations and high THC formulations. It is now legal for qualifying physicians to prescribe in many states, including Florida, for the treatment of certain indicated medical conditions. Multiple studies have concluded that medical cannabis is an effective treatment for certain medical conditions. For example:
- A 2007 study appearing in the journal Neurology found that marijuana is highly effective for reducing neuropathic pain resulting from damaged nerves among patients with HIV (pain that traditional opiates, like morphine can’t manage).
- Led by Orrin Devinsky, MD, director of the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, a multi-site (11 epilepsy centers), found more than a 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency in some patients using cannabidiol (CBD), a medical marijuana derivative. The study is published in the Lancet Neurology.
- Another study, conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University, determined that ingredients in marijuana can be crucial in helping to control spontaneous seizures among epileptic patients.
These are just three examples of many studies on the benefits of medical cannabis in treating certain conditions and pain.
What Conditions are Currently Eligible for Treatment in Florida?
Patients in Florida must have specific medical conditions and be certified by a state licensed cannabis doctor in order to be eligible for medical cannabis treatment. Among the conditions approved for eligibility for treatment with medical cannabis are:
- Epilepsy. Medical cannabis helps to reduce the occurrences of seizures and minimize the symptoms of epilepsy.
- Cancer. The cannabinoids in medical marijuana are effective for counteracting the side effects, such as nausea, of some cancer treatments.
- Muscle Spasms. Medical cannabis is used to control muscle spasms and their associated pain. This includes helping people who have muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions who are often plagued with muscle spasms as a result of their condition.
As well as,
- Amyotrophic Laterals Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Malignant Pain
- Other Debilitating Condition of Like, Kind, Or Class
- Other terminal illnesses previously diagnosed by another physicia
How is Medical Cannabis Administered?
In Florida, it is possible to administer medical cannabis in the form of tincture droplets, pills, drops, and in vaporized forms. It is not recommended or permissible to smoke cannabis for medical treatment in Florida.
Are You Eligible to Seek Medical Cannabis Treatment?
You must be recommended by a physician licensed to treat you with medical cannabis in order to receive this treatment. Then, only after you have been diagnosed with one of the conditions as set forth by the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization, Amendment 2, Bill 8A are you eligible to move forward in the process to receive medical cannabis treatment.
If you are under 18 years old, you must receive the consent of two physicians.
Once all criteria is met, and deemed an appropriate candidate, your physician registers you on the Medical Marjiuana Use Registry, and you or your representative / caregiver are required to apply for a Medical Marijuana Registry Card.
Ongoing, your prescribing physician may only write a certification for a 70 - day supply with two refills until the patient is required to see the physician again in person. Telemedicine consultations are not permitted. Physicians may request to follow up with patients at their discretion.
Seek Help from a Specialist Experienced in Using Medical Cannabis to Treat Serious Conditions
It is essential to work with a licensed medical marijuana physician in the state of Florida who is an experienced specialist, not only, in using medical cannabis for approved neurological disorders and but in treating the underlying condition, understanding potential side effects and drug-drug interactions. Dr. Andrew M. Lerman, MD, a board-certified neurologist, has both clinical and research experience with using medical cannabis as a treatment for certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy and various other neurological and neurophysiological disorders. He has completed the required training for low-THC and medical cannabis treatment and has many patients who are taking advantage of the therapeutic benefits. He has also worked with patients participating in cannabidiol programs at New York University’s Langone Medical Center and with Dr. Orrin Devinsky, MD, who was the principal investigator of the “Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial”, which found that medical marijuana extracts can decrease the frequency of seizures in some young children and adults with severe forms of epilepsy.
Dr. Lerman is excited to offer a methodical and experienced approach in using this cutting edge treatment for his patients.
To learn more about the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of your neurological condition, and to see if you may be a candidate, please contact the office of Dr. Andrew M. Lerman, MD via phone at 786-655-8010, ext. 2 or email at email@example.com
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