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You don’t have to wait long on late night TV for some comedian to take shots at the idea of people using marijuana for medical purposes. Dr. Lynn Parodneck, whose private practice in Mt. Kisco is now offering marijuana consultations, has no problem joining in lightheartedly. “The jokes are funny,” she freely admits. But she hasn’t taken up the cause to be part of a national punchline. The closure of St Vincent's in Manhattan gave her the impetus to leave behind her gynecological practice and take the opportunity to help people who are suffering.
“Medical marijuana means you can make somebody feel better, and that’s what the Compassionate Care Act is about,” said Parodneck. “You have people who have not had positive solutions so this gives them a better quality of life.”
Many Medicinal Purposes
The CCA covers interventions for cancer, HIV, and neurological disorders such as ALS, MS, epilepsy, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. There’s also a role to play with spinal chord injuries, irritable bowel syndrome, severe nausea from cancer treatment, seizures, and persistent muscle spasms. Down the road, the state will do further study on Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, PTSD, and arthritis.
All serious enough, marijuana certainly won’t help patients with cancer and HIV laugh off their affliction but may play a role in the loss of appetite that often accompanies these afflictions. “Marijuana gives you the munchies and gets patients to eat and relax,” says Dr. Parodneck.
A prescription of this nature will have THC as the main component. “That is the psychoactive component,” says the Katonah resident.
Addiction Less Likely
Of course, the prospect of physical addiction is not part of the equation. However, mental dependence has long been shown. But the fog that seemed to hover over those tuned out as teenagers is less of an issue for her patients. “These are people who have confirmed conditions, and medical marijuana provides relief,” she says.
Parodneck also points out that most of the people who will be seeking help are adults and already have a formed brain. This means they will not be as susceptible to negative use.
Additionally, marijuana can leave patients trying to manage pain far less likely to become dependent. “People who use marijuana, and combine with Oxycodone, means less of the opioid,” says Parodneck.
So when its time to wean off a regimen, the addictive aspect is lessened. Otherwise, medical marijuana can intervene and go beyond just alleviating side effects. “The neurological conditions are inflammatory based and marijuana decreases inflammation,” revealed the New York Medical College grad.
Anti-inflammatory Minus the CBD
The prescribed version is called CBD (Cannabidiol) and does not include the psychoactive component. So if the inflammation is brought down then the symptoms of ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s are likely to follow in kind.
As such, the delivery method is either ingested, comes in pill form or taken as an oil or vapor. The closest dispensaries are in White Plains and Yonkers, and it's up to the physician to decide what the CBD to THC ratio is. “The one in White Plains has five varieties—all THC, all CBD, and three in between,” she says.
Of course, after being diagnosed, the first stop is to a doctor who is accredited to prescribe. “I need a complete medical document and then confirm with the doctor who signed,” says Parodneck.
Once the validity of the condition is established, the doctor and patient discuss options, doses, and advantages and disadvantages. She certainly concedes that there’s always the chance to abuse the system, but the level of scrutiny doctors face no longer ends with the New York State Department of Health. “The DEA is observing as well,” she warns. “They are watching you.”
Much Safer Than the Street
Even so, availability on the street makes self-medication an easy fix. She flatly rejects going that route since the product might be cut with addictive and toxic chemicals such as ketamine. “At dispensaries,” she says, “it’s grown under strict regulations and guidelines, and the strength is known.”
This provides further incentive for her compassionate care. “I’ve been told stories of people who send out their teenage kids for grandpa so he can get his appetite back,” says Parodneck.
At the early stages, she’s treated a few patients so far and has received preliminary interest from Dr. Tingler in oncology at Northern Westchester. Either way, the doctor has set her sights and is moving forward. “This is my little niche and I’m giving it a go,” Parodneck concludes.
Rich Monetti can be reached at [email protected]
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