Questions about Medical Marijuana Treatment? Ask Dr. Mark
“Dr. Mark” is CEO and an owner of Professional Dispensaries of Illinois. He’s also a Doctor of Pharmacy with nearly 30 years of experience and is best known in the Illinois patient and medical community for his involvement in compounding personalized treatments for pain management and chronic health conditions.We asked him a few questions about medical marijuana treatment.
What are some of the first steps you take when you get a new patient?
We talk. I want to get the big picture of the patient’s health, so I ask a lot of questions about a patient’s current condition, medications they are currently taking, medications they’ve taken in the past, what’s worked and what hasn’t.
I ask people about their goals for medication. What symptoms are they having that they need relief from? What would help improve their lives the most?
How do you decide on a medical marijuana treatment plan for a patient?
Medical cannabis affects each patient differently. Research is continuing to unfold about how the genetics of a person can affect their reaction to medication, and we know that some people are affected by certain ingredients in cannabis more than others.
Each person gets an individual treatment plan. I usually start with a “less is more” approach. Patients start on the lowest dosage possible that will bring relief, and we go from there.
Are there different types of products for different conditions?
Definitely. The cannabis plant has many natural chemical compounds in it, but the ones that have the greatest effect on health are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC is the ingredient that most people think of when they think about marijuana – the ingredient that provides a hallucinogenic effect. In medical marijuana products, the levels of THC are much lower than in products people use for non-medical purposes. Patients won’t get a severe “high.”
To me, CBD is the most interesting element of medical cannabis. CBD has been shown to have both anti-inflammatory effects as well as boost the immune system. This can be really helpful to people with a wide range of conditions, from multiple sclerosis to lupus to glaucoma.
What’s better, an inhaled product or an edible?
Again, it depends on the patient as well as the condition. An inhaled medicine will often provide immediate relief. With an edible, patients may not find relief for up to 90 minutes, but the effects can last longer.
What are you hoping for next in medical cannabis?
Many people have severe pain from various conditions which can be helped by medical cannabis. I’m thinking about patients I’ve seen that have shingles or complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS) who haven’t been helped by strong medications such as opioids and psychotropics. I hope that the state of Illinois will add more conditions to the Illinois list of approved conditions.
What would you tell people who are considering medical marijuana treatment?
Like any drug, medical marijuana is another tool to help people lead a better quality of life. We can help people find the right products and dosage so that they can better manage their medical conditions and enjoy life more.