Medical Cannabis: A New York State of Mind

The Patient Experience

If you ask someone in the cannabis business where NYS falls in terms of cannabis sophistication, well, it’ll never be confused with Colorado or California.  But, I get ahead of myself.  Let’s start at the beginning, the patient experience.

It seems easy enough.  You have one of the narrowly defined conditions for which medical cannabis is prescribed, listed here https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/faq.htm.  You locate a doc.  You get a script.  You fill out a form that asks you for your name, address and a copy of your driver’s license.  You take the script and go to a dispensary – and voila!  You have your medical cannabis card and everything is cool, or at least that’s how it should work in theory.

  • Finding a doc. There are literally thousands of doctors in New York State that can prescribe medical cannabis. In order for the doc to be certified, they have to take a two-hour class. That’s it. No other experience is necessary. But docs won’t be prescribing a strain of cannabis, they will be prescribing a dose of one of the following: high THC/low CBD (10 milligrams is maximum allowed by NY State),a 50/50 or a high CBD/low THC formula – and dosing is from the Middle Ages.  Some doctors will write out a script for the year, the average is $200.  Some others will require a monthly visit in order to renew the script.
  • As of this writing, there are 19 open and operating dispensaries in the entire State of NY.  There are another twenty yet to open.  Of these 19, five are operated by Columbia Care.  My dispensary overview is based on the Riverhead Columbia Care facility on Long Island.
  • Columbia Care. First of all, it was clean and clinical in appearance.  The pharmacy staff was helpful and some mentioned the pleasure of an escape from CVS Pharmacy chain.  An average prescription for a week’s worth of medical cannabis in the form of a sublingual tincture or capsule costs $54.  In the oil form for vaping, it costs $110. None of it is covered by insurance (a national problem as cannabis is still illegal federally).  And this cost is in sharp contrast to the average cost of opioids, which are covered by insurance and run an average of $10 per week.  Selection-wise, at Columbia Care, you have the options of THC/CBD as described above. You do not have access to disease-specific strains or information about them.
  • Delivery methods. You can’t legally smoke in NY State, but oils for vaping, capsules and sublinguals are all available.    Vaping goes into the blood stream and its effect is almost immediate.  Capsules and sublinguals go through the digestive system and the delays in effect can be over an hour. What you aren’t told, however, is the absorption rate, which directly impacts the THC/CBD concentration that gets through to you.
  • The price that you pay for medical cannabis varies from dispensary to dispensary.  These prices are submitted to and approved by the state, which in turn levies a seven percent excise tax (point of purchase) on the cannabis.  Everyone complains about the cost.  Without insurance to help you cover the cost of doctor visits and medical cannabis, the use of medical cannabis becomes a playground for the rich with middle class visitors and the poor kept outside of the park.

A marketing and publishing professional and the Director of Publicity at GB Sciences, Liz Bianco monitors media activity and the “State of the States” on cannabis in America.


 

DISCLAIMER REGARDING SITE CONTENT AND RELATED MATERIALS

Please read these terms and con­di­tions fully and care­fully. If you do not agree to be bound to each and every term and con­di­tion set forth herein, please exit the Site and do not access, read or oth­er­wise use infor­ma­tion pro­vided herein.

The blog pro­vides only gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the specific author and do not represent those of people, academic, hospital, practice or other institutions or organizations that the author may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, and do not represent the views or opinions of GB Sciences, Inc., unless explicitly stated.

The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. Noth­ing con­tained in the Site is intended to estab­lish a physician-patient rela­tion­ship, to replace the ser­vices of a trained physi­cian or health care pro­fes­sional, or oth­er­wise to be a sub­sti­tute for pro­fes­sional med­ical advice, diag­no­sis, or treatment. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker. The information is provided by the specific author and the author makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in the blog for any purpose. Any reliance placed on such information is therefore strictly at the reader’s own risk.

This blog may contain statements that could be construed to relate to future results or events. Words such as “expects”, “intends”, “plans”, “may”, “could”, “should”, “anticipates”, “likely”, “believes” and words of similar import may identify forward-looking statements. These statements are not historical facts, but instead represent only the specific author’s belief regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of the specific author’s control. The specific author’s beliefs are not the beliefs of GB Sciences, Inc., and do not represent the views or opinions of GB Sciences, Inc., unless explicitly stated.

It is possible that the actual results and financial condition of GB Sciences, Inc., may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results and financial conditions suggested in these forward-looking statements by the blog author. Information concerning the GB Sciences, Inc., and its business, including factors that potentially could materially affect GB Sciences, Inc., are contained in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, available at www.sec.gov.  Any forward-looking statements included in this blog are made only as of the date of this blog, and neither the specific blog author nor GB Sciences, Inc., undertake any obligation to publicly update or correct any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that subsequently occur or of which they may hereafter become aware.

Through this website and blog you are able to link to other websites that are not under the control of the blog author or GB Sciences, Inc. The blog author and GB Sciences, Inc., have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not imply a recommendation or endorsement of the views and opinions expressed within them.

Con­tent made avail­able at the Site is pro­vided on an “as is” and “as avail­able” basis with­out war­ranties of any kind, either express or implied. Under no cir­cum­stances, as a result of your use of the Site, will the specific author or GB Sciences, Inc., be liable to you or to any other per­son for any direct, indi­rect, inci­den­tal, con­se­quen­tial, spe­cial, exem­plary or other dam­ages under any legal the­ory, includ­ing, with­out lim­i­ta­tion, tort, con­tract, strict lia­bil­ity or oth­er­wise, even if advised of the pos­si­bil­ity of such damages.

By access­ing the Site and/or read­ing its con­tent, you acknowl­edge and agree that you have read and under­stand these terms and con­di­tions, that the pro­vi­sions, dis­clo­sures and dis­claimers set forth herein are fair and rea­son­able, and that your agree­ment to fol­low and be bound by these terms and con­di­tions is vol­un­tary and is not the result of fraud, duress or undue influ­ence exer­cised upon you by any per­son or entity.