NJ health commissioner pitches medical marijuana to doctors

NJ health commissioner pitches medical marijuana to doctors

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NJ Health Commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal speaks at Hackensack University Medical Center about medical marijuana. Wednesday, July 11, 2018 NorthJersey (Photo: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com) Medical marijuana use is increasing quickly in New Jersey and recreational use may become legal soon, but many doctors remain skeptical about recommending it to their patients. On Wednesday, hundreds of health professionals heard from the state health commissioner, Shereef Elnahal, as he sought to "demystify" the use of medical marijuana and explain recent policy changes made by the Murphy administration to increase access to it. For North Jersey doctors, two big impediments induce wariness: The federal government puts marijuana in the same category as heroin, a Schedule 1 drug having "no medical value and high potential for abuse," and little clinical research exists on its effects. More: New Jersey’s newest medical marijuana dispensary is now open for business, in Secaucus More: We visited states with legal weed to see what’s in store for NJ if marijuana becomes legal Currently, only 700 of the state’s 28,000 licensed doctors have registered with the state to recommend its use for patients . (Doctors recommend, rather than prescribe, medical marijuana, because it is not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.) "Like most, I am intrigued but not convinced," a primary-care doctor at Hackensack University Medical Center told the commissioner. People listen to NJ Health Commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal (not shown) at Hackensack University Medical Center, as he speaks about medical marijuana. Wednesday, July 11, 2018 (Photo: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com) "Anecdotes are worth nothing," said a neurologist who treats patients with epilepsy. "We have to be somewhat cautious. … The lack of research is really bothersome." "I remain conflicted," said a palliative care specialist. "I don’t think the debate is going to be resolved until we do […]

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