Cheech & Chong. Funyuns. A new Netflix series called, “Disjointed”.
Stigmas and prejudice cloud the medical marijuana industry with exaggerated, stoned caricatures, late night munchie runs for Spam and Cheese Ramen (it’s a real thing, https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/qkqjnw/the-ultimate-munchies-menu-of-stoner-snacks) and hip hop artists writing odes to “smoking broccoli”.
The reality is a 10 year old girl named Antania* suffering with debilitating grand mall seizures, diagnosed with a rare epileptic disorder – Dravet syndrome. After trying 20 FDA approved medicines with no positive response, it came down to medical cannabis oil that would allow this little girl to live like a normal little girl.
There are thousands of heartbreaking yet hopeful stories similar to Antania’s. The optimism lies in the medicinal qualities of cannabis.
Medical Marijuana in the Commonwealth…and State College
The Pennsylvania Department of Health signed the state’s Medical Marijuana Program into law on April 17, 2016. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website, the implementation of this program is expected to be operational within 18 to 24 months of the program’s launch.
On June 29, 2017, 27 dispensary permits were awarded throughout the commonwealth. One of these aforementioned permits will take effect locally in State College, PA.
PA Health & Wellness, LLC, our local dispensary agglomerate, are a group seasoned in the medical marijuana industry. Much like any medical or dental office, the dispensary will have the accouterments of a doctor’s facility, with the exception of added security measures.
Pennsylvania residents will be able to participate in the Medical Marijuana Program only by diagnosis of one of the following 17 “serious medical conditions”,
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Intractable Seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
- Sickle Cell Anemia
Once a physician has certified the diagnosis, the patient will apply for a medical marijuana ID card and obtain medical marijuana from an approved dispensary location.
Medical marijuana will be in the form of pill and oil to start in Pennsylvania and the availability to patients will be in 2018.
Advocacy in Centre County
As PA Health & Wellness, LLC commence a remodel and noticeable repainting of their proposed joint on 2105 North Atherton Street, local “Cannavangelist” Sher Simcisko has been actively advocating for the medicinal use of marijuana in Pennsylvania. “I’ve been in favor of legalization for a long time, gone to rallies and such but started advocating intensively early in 2015”. Sher is affiliated with PA Safe Access which Sher states, “…grew out of a need to fight for PA patients and to provide them with the information they will need to navigate the law and the process of becoming a PA medical marijuana patient”.
Misconceptions about Medical Mary Jane
Misinterpretations come twofold with the medicinal use of marijuana. “A big misconception is that it’s only helpful for a few specific problems”, says Simcisko, “One of the conditions we weren’t able to get included (in the serious medical condition list deemed by the PA Department of Health) was addiction and mental health issues…that could have helped so many people”. Simcisko goes on to say that continued use of medical marijuana has been correlated to prevent certain diseases and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and cancers.
The other obvious debasement is the believe that marijuana is a “gateway” drug affiliated with lung cancer, DUI deaths and violent crime, to which Simcisko retorts, “In fact, DUI deaths and violent crimes have decreased, most likely due to the fact that the use of alcohol decreased”.
For Sher, it’s about keeping the community apprised of the miraculous stories and statistical connection of healing for multitudes of people, “The best thing people can do is be informed”.
Indeed, researching the curative characteristics of cannabis have been a challenge for the FDA with red tape and the legal restrictions of the drug. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a report considering current cases, weighing both the therapeutic effect and harmful reactions alike**.
Regardless of where you stand on the thought of curative cannabis, the drug will be regulated and dispensed in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health in State College. A plume of preconceptions, legalities and the definition of a pharmaceutical surround medical marijuana…however, the healing is evident. State College is a place of innovation, research and new ideas – it would seem a perfect location for a holistic approach to medicine.
Stories of Healing
PA Safe Access / Local Information and Advocacy
Pennsylvania Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program
Do you live in a state where medical marijuana isn’t legalized? Do you suffer from one of the 17 serious conditions as specified by the PA Department of Health? Please contact me about relocating to beautiful Centre County Pennsylvania, our wonderful hospital and medical facilities and advocacy programs.