Gordon Schmidt, Junella Chin, Amir Herman, Christina Finn, and John Comeau

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The Use of Cannabis in Health Care

April 18, 2019

Pictured from left: Gordon Schmidt, Junella Chin, Amir Herman, Christina Finn, and John Comeau.

On April 11, four members of the medical profession discussed “The Use of Cannabis in Health Care” during NYIT School of Health Professions’ Dean’s Speaker Series.

The panel, moderated by Gordon Schmidt, Ph.D., dean of the School of Health Professions, featured Amir Herman (D.O. ’01), who introduced medical marijuana evaluations into the scope of his primary care practice at Natural Pain Solutions; John Comeau, D.P.T., physical therapist and supervisor of rehabilitation in NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine Academic Health Center; Christina Finn, Ed.D., OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy; and Junella Chin, D.O., an advocate for promoting a better understanding of the science and medicine of cannabis.

Robert Gallagher, M.B.A., D.C., clinical associate professor of occupational therapy and chairperson of the dean’s speaker series, introduced the panel. The discussion focused on many issues, including the benefits of medical marijuana, its effects on a patient’s performance, the importance of educating patients and health care professionals, and how to determine when to prescribe cannabis.

Watch the full conversation and read more below.

“Patients come to us as rehab professionals to get some type of rehab intervention to help with management of their symptoms,” said Finn. “Whatever traditional rehab intervention that we’re trying is perhaps not working, what are the other avenues that perhaps could work for these patients?”

Finn and Comeau, who cannot prescribe medication, both stressed the importance of knowing how a drug is affecting their patient’s performance. “We get to see what their performance looks like; we get to see potentially how side effects might manifest,” said Finn.

All of the panelists agreed that education is key when it comes to prescribing cannabis as well as understanding how patients respond to it. Currently, there is little research on its effects. “I think we’re witnessing a phenomenon with how medical marijuana is entering the medical community,” said Comeau. “Usually you’ll see a drug go through rigorous trials before it’s released. … It’s important for the medical professionals right now to establish the expertise.”