HALFMOON — Saratoga County’s first marijuana dispensary opened on Feb. 1 in Halfmoon. F.P. Wellness, located at 1675 U.S. 9, is a medical marijuana dispensary, which means that, in order purchase products the customer has to have a certification issued by the New York State Medical Marijuana Program. According to the New York State Department of Health there are 2,201 registered practitioners that can prescribe medical marijuana and 90,954 certified patients in the state of New York.
Customers need to have one of the qualifying conditions by New York State as well as a prescription from a practitioner that has taken approved courses and is registered by the New York State Medical Marijuana Program.
“This opportunity was presented to me late fall. I had already been intrigued by it and I like the idea of alternative medicine. It was becoming quite cumbersome as a retail pharmacist with the opioid issue so that was really what my main motivation was,” said Katie Ogden, Pharm.D. and F.P. Wellness dispensary manager.
Ogden had a career in pharmaceuticals working as the pharmacist in charge at CVS in Wilton. Ogden also worked several years in a compounding pharmacy, incorporating her knowledge of compounding techniques and nutritional supplements.
“One of the qualifying conditions of medical marijuana uses opioid replacement therapy so it’s a really unique alternative to using pain medications,” she added.
Under the New York State Department of Health, qualifying conditions for the use of medical marijuana include cancer, positive status for HIV or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, chronic pain as defined, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Huntington’s disease, any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed or substance use disorder.
A typical appointment at FP Wellness would begin with a consultation with the pharmacist. A newly certified customer would have to fill out a patient in-take form. In the consultation, the pharmacist will determine the dosage, product ratio and what type of Cannabidiol (CBD) that would be best for the customer.
“I would run an interaction check with any medications they are currently taking with marijuana to make sure there are not going to be any interaction. We would discuss the condition they’re looking to treat... and discuss whether they’ve used recreationally,” Ogden said. The level of THC would be adjusted based on the customer’s use of Marijuana.
F.P. Wellness stands for Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, which is a medical company based in New York City. Other dispensaries under Fiorello Pharmaceuticals are in Rochester, Manhattan and Nassau. The next nearest dispensaries closest to Saratoga County are located in Albany or as far as Massachusetts.
Products that F.P. Wellness offers include vape cartridges, capsules, tincture, tablets, powder and oral spray. All medical Marijuana has more than 0.3 percent of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
To find out more about F.P. Wellness, visit fpwellnessny.com.