Is medical marijuana the right prescription for you?


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Dr. Frank Filiberto spoke at One Senior Place about the medical benefits of cannabis, especially for seniors.

Courtesy of Dr. Frank Filiberto

Marijuana, more accurately known as cannabis, has recently been reevaluated by the medical field as to its possible health benefits.

According to Tengwen Long in an archaeobotanical article titled, “Cannabis in Eurasia(...),” a site near Japan contains cannabis seeds, which would accurately date the usage of cannabis roughly 10,000 years in the past. Throughout this time, cannabis has been used in a variety of ways, including for its healing properties.

On Aug. 19, One Senior Place in Viera offered the local community a seminar led by Dr. Frank Filiberto of Marijuana of Brevard. The event was titled “Medical Marijuana to Treat Chronic Everyday Pains.”

Filiberto spoke about the possible benefits of cannabis, as well as information to dispel popular myths.

"Medical marijuana use for seniors is a very hot topic," said Barbara Fradkin, director of One Senior Place, in a recent press release. "A growing body of scientific research now points to significant benefits of medical marijuana for a number of different health conditions.

“(Cannabis) is also one of the safest medicines Dr. Filiberto has ever (recommended),” Fradkin added during the event.

One local doctor who provides medical cannabis guidance is Dr. John Madlener, whose practice is located at ‚Äč903 Jordan Blass Drive in Suntree. He gave Senior Life insight on how a patient might determine whether they would be a medical marijuana candidate.

“If somebody is trying to determine whether they’d be a candidate for medical marijuana, there’s a number of ways,” Madlener explained. “If you’re somewhat internet savvy, you can go to the Florida Department of Health website. On their website, they have a little section that says the ‘Office of Medical Marijuana Use’, and if you click on that it’ll bring your to a page that has information for patients.

“If you’re not internet savvy, I would say to either talk to your primary physician,”  Madlener continued. “Or, if you have certain medical conditions like cancer, you would talk to your oncologist; if you have GI problems like Crohn’s disease, talk to your gastroenterologist, (etc.).”

“I think the taboo has significantly worn off,” Madlener added. “The majority of my patients that I see at my medical cannabis clinic are of the average age of 50, 55.”

During the seminar, Filiberto outlined a variety of medical uses for cannabis, including for easing the symptoms of chronic pain, for helping patients to tolerate the harmful effects of chemotherapy, and for nausea, pain and vomiting that come with daily, chronic sufferers of various illnesses.

“Most frequently dispensed in smokeless form and available for home delivery, medical marijuana is finding favor with Brevard seniors for relief from a number of maladies, including chronic pain,” One Senior Place officials stated. “Ill Floridians have the right to obtain and use medical marijuana (cannabis) with a recommendation by a physician who has determined that the person's health would benefit from marijuana use in the treatment of cancer, epilepsy, AIDS, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, chronic pain or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief as outlined by the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.”

Filiberto also described the various ways in which cannabis can be prescribed and used. He stressed the importance of both of the chemical compounds THC and CBD in use together, creating what Filiberto described as an “entourage effect.” This entourage effect is the synergy that exists when both THC and CBD are used in conjunction with each other.

During the event, some attendees asked if the CBD that is widely available in stores and gas stations is the same as is offered by licensed dispensaries. This is not the case.

Dispensaries offer CBD and THC products only to those with medical licenses. The widely available CBD does not contain THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Thus, it does not provide the natural synergy of CBD and THC together.

For more information about the medical use of cannabis, go to Filiberto’s website at marijuanaofbrevard.com.