Medical Cannabis Offers Alternatives

May 06, 2006

Harriet Steinberg, OpEd, Canyon News (CA)

For anyone who is facing chemotherapy, or is suffering from severe pain and other symptoms, you may be interested to learn more about Medical Marijuana.

After nearly a decade of training and work in the ER, Dr. Craig S. Cohen was ready for something new. “I have followed the Medical Cannabis movement from the sidelines,” he says. “I now joined those physicians who make it a practice to discuss Medical Cannabis with their patients.”

Many people are not aware that although Medical Marijuana or Medical Cannabis is not legal in many states, it is fully legal in [...] California, despite the efforts of the federal government trying to stop it. Medical Marijuana became legal in California in 1996 when a Bill known as The Compassionate Use Act was passed. It is also known as Proposition 215.

Dr. Cohen says that many people with Cancer have trouble eating because of the medication that they are taking. “Drugs taken for Cancer or AIDS,” he says, “can cause nausea or anorexia, and some drugs can make a patient constipated.” Some people with AIDS lose their appetite and lose a tremendous amount of weight.

Because of the negative after effects from drugs or chemotherapy, Dr. Cohen feels very strongly about the use of Medical Marijuana. He tells his patients that there are many ways that they can use marijuana besides smoking it. He suggests to them to add it to their butter or put it into their tea. They can even mix it in a batter when making cookies. “It’s a delicious combination,” Dr. Cohen said. He then continued,    “Patients with serious medical problems come to see me, including HIV, AIDS, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, and Glaucoma.” Although he does not recommend the use of cannabis for recreational use, he does not form any personal judgment if individuals do use it for such a reason.

Dr. Cohen related that he strictly adheres to the guidelines set forth by the Medical Board of California. Each of his patients can expect a thorough medical history and a physical exam before making a recommendation. “I discuss the gargantuan health risk smoking presents to everyone, and recommend use of tinctures, teas, edibles and vaporization,” he stated.

Victoria Pellikka, a retired school teacher, after having breast cancer, went for her first chemotherapy treatment. She became so sick after this treatment. “My oncologist ordered a very expensive pill,” she said, “and it didn’t help.” Her friend, who tried to help her, made a recipe with marijuana mixed with butter, and cooked it in a tub. She spread it on her toast and it made her feel better. Pellikka went for her chemotherapy once a week for a month. “I took one piece of toast with the butter after my chemo and it helped,” she said.

A patient of Dr. Cohen said that the recipe made with marijuana works well for him. “It has more of an impact than smoking it,” he remarked. At the dispensary, he pays approximately $50 - $100 a month for this product. He said that California State gives each county the right to decide whether they want the drug to be legal or not.

Dr. Cohen said he gets great satisfaction helping his patients feel better. To learn more about Dr. Cohen and Medical Marijuana, go to Dr. Cohen’s website at http://craigscohend.com/



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