Jeff Fine

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medical marijuanaDo you have questions about medical marijuana that you wish you could get straight, scientific, non-judgemental answers to? Do you have a health condition that you believe cannabis could help with, but hesitate about talking with your doctor? Are you open to using medical marijuanna but unsure how to obtain it legally?

In this episode of The Total Self Considered, Jeff Fine interviews Sang Choi, the pharmacist in charge and director of the downstate region medical marijuana dispensary in New York. Jeff and Sang discuss the long-lasting impact of the predominantly illegal status of marijuana, the resulting stigma created around its use for medical purposes, and why even though political and cultural attitudes have been shifting many people are still uncomfortable talking about medical marijuana with their health providers. Sang explains how CBD and THC work in our bodies and the importance of finding the optimal balance and dosage of each ingredient to meet one’s unique needs. Jeff and Sang also go over the process of finding a certified practitioner, obtaining a medical marijuana card, and what it’s like to visit a medical marijuana dispensary. 

Summary of Episode

  • The reasons behind the slow legalization of marijuana by states and on the federal level 
  • History of cannabis use for medical and pain relief purposes
  • Stigma related to the use of cannabis
  • Regulations and further stigmatization of marijuana, and targeting of minorities
  • Changes in perception of and rules for marijuana use
  • Distinction between medical and recreational use
  • Is there evidence supporting the claims about wide-ranging benefits of cannabis
  • Medicinal effects of THC and CBD 
  • Three different cannabinoids: made by our own bodies, plant-based, and synthetic
  • Process of getting medical marijuana in the state of NY
  • Conditions that qualify patients to get a medical marijuana card
  • How to find qualifying practitioners 
  • What to expect at the marijuana dispensary
  • How a pharmacist like Sang explains cannabis to patients at the dispensary
  • Compassionate Care Act in NY
  • Side effects of cannabis
  • Different forms, concentrations, and doses of cannabis
  • Misconception that marijuana can only be taken in smoke form
  • Pharmacists guide patients in finding the right form and dose of products
  • Similarities with other medicines such as antidepressants /SSRI
  • Concerns about drug interactions
  • Medical marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Potential dangers of vaping marijuana and vaping vs smoking marijuana by burning it
  • What people should know about ingesting cannabis and how it gets metabolized
  • Costs associated with getting a medical marijuana certification and purchasing the products
  • Governor Cuomo’s plans to set up a board 
  • Risks of traveling with medical marijuana products due to varying state and federal laws

Quotables

“To be able to reduce the dose or use medical marijuana instead of an opioid, what an amazing thing that would be…” Jeff Fine

“I think when you break it down to, that cannabis is medicine, it helps patients feel more at ease that it’s not this hokey medicine but an actual substance, a natural substance that helps the pain or nausea…” Sang Choi

“People should know that it’s not illegal to talk to your internist or any other doctor about the possibility of treatment with medical marijuana…and not worry about getting in trouble.” Jeff Fine

“It’s tested for potency, contaminants, fungus, heavy metals, and pesticides, so in the medical program you’re assured that you’re getting a very good product that follows good manufacturing practices.” Sang Choi

Resources/Links

Jeff Fine’s website: https://mytotalself.com

Jeff Fine’s Total Self blog and podcast: https://mytotalself.com/blog/

Sang Choi’s profile on etain: https://etainhealth.com/sang-choi/

Etain: https://etainhealth.com/

NY State Department of Health list of medical marijuana practitioners: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/practitioner/public_list.htm

 

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