Evidence shows that for over 5000 years, Cannabis has been used as an anesthetic for chronic pain as well as a means of managing a wide list of disorders like rheumatism, malaria, tumors, jaundice and dysentery.  Today, extracts from medical marijuana (cannabinoids) are gaining significant attention as an herbal health treatment or supplement and is also growing in clinical use for managing a wide variety of disorders including cancers and musculoskeletal issues.

In July 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature enacted the Compassionate Care Act to provide a comprehensive, safe and effective medical marijuana program that meets the needs of New Yorkers.  According to the NYS Dept. of Health, medical marijuana is available in New York for patients with the following severe debilitating or life threatening conditions: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington's disease, chronic pain, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and as a replacement to prescription opioids. (see complete details in ref #1)

Since inception of this law, continued upgrades have been implemented to expand the medical rights of use of registered physicians. According to the office of the NYS Commissioner of Health, patients with "any severe debilitating pain that a practitioner determines degrading health and functional capability… (and) has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options; may qualify for medical marijuana.”  As of early 2019, over 1300 professional practitioners have been certified by the NYSDOH to prescribe medical marijuana and its products.

After the Compassionate Care Act came into effect, Dr. Thomas O’Brien ( ) upgraded his family practice in NYC to include the use of medical marijuana (THC & CBD solutions) for his patients by being one of the first certified physicians in the State of New York allowed to prescribe regulated dosages of THC and CBD as needed. His use of this treatment solution includes patients with a wide range of disorders from chronic pain to cancer and tumors.

For over 25 years, Dr. O’Brien has been recognized as an integrative practitioner with an holistic approach in his family medicine.  He defined his way of examining patients by covering “all the bases” from the physical/biochemical, the emotional/psychological to the spiritual.  His approach to patient exams through all these diagnostic paradigms is what he simply calls “truly listening to the entire patient.”   Credentialed as a clinical nutritionist, getting certified to treat patients with cannabis products has become a logical next-step evolution and a positive addition to Dr. O’Brien’s tool box.  His research with medical cannabis showed extensive clinical success and was also impressed by its nature-based solution to help a widening list of disorders without harmful side effects.

Patients who suffer with chronic pain, neuropathy, or neuropathic pain are given the option by Dr. O’Brien to use one of three ratio mixtures as allowed by State regulations. He detailed one example with patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy carrying signs of tingling, burning sensations, pins and needles sensations, in their feet, which is very common.  “This is called microvascular pathology- that's where the very small arteries just don't work well… they're not providing good nutrition and oxygen to the nerves. And the nerves start to fail in function and you start to get these side effects like burning sensation, tingling sensation, the pins and needles, or even lack of sensation.” 

Dr. O’Brien identifies a significant benefit of this CBD/THC clinical mixture as one that is ‘customizable’ based on the severity of the patient’s case. The ratio between the two compounds defines a conservative or aggressive treatment protocol whereby an aggressive strategy starts them on a one-to-one ratio, where the THC and CBD are equal.

After a four week follow-up, Dr. O’Brien states that his patients were coming back expressing how much better they feel in comparison to taking narcotics.  “Narcotics use may change your brain chemistry without you realizing it… it changes who you are and how you react, as well as how you respond to stimuli- including the effects on your family members.”


About Dr. O'Brien
Thomas G. O'Brien II, MS, DO, PC is a Board Certified Osteopathic Physician in Family and Integrative Medicine and was residency trained in St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY). He is one of the first physicians in NY State to be licensed to certify patients in Medical marijuana as well as the first in New York City to offer compassionate care. Jan 2019, he will begin his fourth year offering this service to our community.  He promotes the treatment of Cancer, Chronic Pain, Neuropathic Pain, Spinal Chord Injury, Epilepsy, Huntingtons Chorea, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Crohn's Dz, Ulcerativa Colitis (IBD), HIV / AIDS and Opioid Addiction.  He runs a non profit organization called Health Education Learning Program, Inc. (HELP) with his wife. Together, they help enrich the community with health education. He is also the host & producer and a four time Beta Award winning Health Education show sponsored by HELP.  He has recently published a text called "Medical Cannabis".  For complete information on Dr. (O'Brien, please visit: 

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