Published on November 8, 2018

Tulsa, Okla., November 8, 2018: Zarrow Pointe hosted a free information session on medical marijuana to dispel common myths and facilitate a better understanding of its risks and benefits. Open to residents and the local community, the discussion was led by geriatric specialist Dr. Chandini Sharma, who addressed the controversies surrounding the legalization of medicinal cannabis in Oklahoma and advocated its use for chronic pain.

According to Dr. Sharma, there is credible research to support the use of medical marijuana for pain management. Citing results from the 2017 Report on cannabis and cannabinoids published by the National Academies of Sciences, Dr. Sharma said, “The effects of medical marijuana were examined in thousands of patients during research sponsored by the Washington State Department of Health. Results from these in-depth studies have uncovered conclusive scientific evidence that medical marijuana can reduce symptoms of chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.”

Although there are documented side effects of medicinal cannabis, Dr. Sharma believes the risks are lower compared to prescription opioids, which are overused in clinical settings resulting in widespread abuse. “Only 5% of the global population lives in America, yet 75% of the world’s opioid prescriptions are written by US doctors. According to the CDC, over 40 Americans die from prescription opioid overdose every day. It is time to change the narrative by exploring safer alternatives for pain management.”

Dr. Sharma also encouraged Oklahoma physicians and patients navigating the challenges of medical marijuana implementation to play close attention to state guidelines, which vary nationwide. “It is important to understand that every state has its own distinct requirements. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) is responsible for managing the state’s medical marijuana program including application processing, licensing, and compliance monitoring. Patients must be careful not to apply the laws of one state in another,” she cautioned.

Under the existing guidelines, Oklahoma physicians have the broad authority to recommend medical marijuana to patients for any condition that may necessitate its use. The law also prohibits Oklahoma employers, schools and landlords from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their medical marijuana license.

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