The New York State Department of Health today announced that chronic pain will be added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program.”

The Department will develop a proposed regulatory amendment, which will include language specifying the chronic pain conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana. The proposed regulatory amendment will be published for public comment shortly.

The other ten qualifying conditions are 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, and Huntington’s disease.

Regulatory amendments filed by the Department to authorize nurse practitioners to certify patients for medical marijuana took effect on Wednesday, when the notice of adoption was published in the New York State Register. In order to register with the Department, nurse practitioners must take the Department-approved Medical Use of Marijuana course online and submit their certificate of course completions to the Department using the instructions provided on the Department’s Medical Marijuana Program Practitioner Information page: www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/practitioner/.

In addition, a proposed rulemaking was published Wednesday that would enable physician assistants to register with the Department to certify patients for medical marijuana, as long as their supervising physician is also registered to certify patients. This proposed rulemaking will be subject to a 45-day public comment period and would not take effect until it is filed for adoption after the public comment period.

The Department continues to implement other recommendations from the two-year report on the Medical Marijuana Program. For more information on the two-year report for the Medical Use of Marijuana under the Compassionate Care Act, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/.