Thursday, December 27, 2018


By: Dr. Thomas G. O'Brien, II
(click image to enlarge)

When considering Medical Marijuana as a treatment option, one of the most difficult things to do is bypass the stigma associated with marijuana as an illegal substance. A popular concern is the fear of addiction and using a “psychedelic” drug.

Medical Marijuana:
  • is derived from a natural source and
  • acts on cannabinoid receptors that naturally exist in your cell membranes and which even naturally occur in breast milk!
CB1 (exists in the brain) and CB2 (found in your immune system and throughout the rest of your body) are your body’s cannabinoid receptors. So, it can be said that your body is “built for cannabinoids” which can play a healthy role in boosting your immune system; protecting your brain, nervous system and cells against disease; relieving pain and inflammation; and more.

As with any medication, personal responsibility is paramount. The same risks involved with the misuse of any medication apply, except that Medical Marijuana is carefully cultivated from a natural source. Medical Marijuana in New York State is strictly supervised and monitored in its production for the highest quality. It is your privilege to have the control of and the responsibility for the THC to CBD ratio that you determine is right for you. As always, responsible use of a controlled substance allows for us to keep our privileges and for many to benefit.

Your treatment will be a blend of the active ingredients of cannabis to yield the greatest benefits with the least amount of unwanted effects – preferably none. Because Medical Marijuana is derived from a natural, herbal source, like most herbs (and other medications), its properties can affect everyone differently. Some people may benefit from a higher THC concentration and others from a higher CBD ratio (see Understanding Dosage).


After a thorough examination, should the patient choose to pursue a treatment plan including cannabis products, Dr. O’Brien may issue a certificate (similar to a prescription) for the patient to take to one of the certified dispensaries in the NY area to pick up the proper ratio of THC - CBD cannabis oil.  The ratio between CBD and THC varies on the patient’s specific needs. He explains that unlike the consumer level CBD drops sold in stores (anywhere from 150-350mg = 2-3 milligrams per ML), full spectrum CBD recommended by him typically measures at around 5000 Milligrams (50mg/ML) and is more concentrated for best results. And with the inclusion of the clinically regulated therapeutic support of THC in legal proportions, “you’ve got the makings of a clinical-grade solution for patient disorders.”

Dr. Obrien’s success with medical cannabis is widening based on the realities of its legal limits.   In a closing statement, this industry is clearly in its infancy stage where physicians like Dr. Obrien would like to see some sort of standardization for CBD as far as quality and efficacy. “Quality assurance and a governing agency to oversee this industry should be established so that consumer know what their buying.”   

Dr. O'brien’s website indicates that to visit a New York State Certified Dispensary, you will be required to provide your (1) Medical Marijuana Qualifying Certificate from a New York State Medical Marijuana Certifying Physician; (2) Medical Marijuana ID issued by the State of New York; and (3) valid New York State ID. Some dispensaries may have additional requirements which should be listed on their websites. To find a New York State Certified Dispensary, click here.

Issuing a certificate is similar to a pharmaceutical prescription for the drug store – but with the distinct difference that dispensaries distribute only one non-FDA approved product.   A clinical dispensary carries a special license from the State of New York to grow, process, transport, and dispense medical marijuana. Only registered physicians are allowed to work with these dispensaries and must abide by the regulated THC/CBD extract percentages determined by each state. NY dispensaries include Vireo, Columbia Care, Curaleaf, Etain, Med Men and PharmaCannis.  



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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