Dr. Glassman makes cannabis house calls

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Rabbi Dr. Yosef Glassman, speaking here at a conference in March, is offering to do house calls to talk about medical cannabis. — Gabrielle Mannino

On Monday, July 2, and Thursday, July 5, Rabbi Dr. Yosef Glassman will return to Martha’s Vineyard for his house-call tour to recommend medical cannabis to elderly people where needed.

Rabbi Dr. Glassman is a full-time geriatrician by trade, with a specialty in prescribing cannabis for the elderly with chronic pain, cancer, and other medical reasons individuals might need a medical marijuana prescription.

Rabbi Dr. Glassman has a solo practice, and has worked with the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital as well as hospitals in New York City and Israel.

“I make house calls for folks where it might be harder to get out of the house,” Dr. Glassman told The Times. “Maybe it’s hard to get to a clinic, or individuals are worried about the stigma of exploring cannabis.”

Dr. Glassman is one of the only two doctors on Martha’s Vineyard prescribing cannabis to patients. The other is obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Terry Kriedman from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

“Many elderly cannot tolerate opioids,” Dr. Glassman said. “Many can’t tolerate regular ibuprofen because their kidneys and hearts — it can affect them adversely.”

According to Dr. Glassman, cannabis is one of the safest drugs out there.

“It’s less toxic than Tylenol or aspirin, and people can’t overdose on it,” Dr. Glassman said.

Dr. Glassman said his cannabis recommendation depends on the individual.

“The best combination for pain is a mixture of CBD and THC,” Dr. Glassman said. “You want to keep THC on the lower side with older folks that can have paranoia.”

Dr. Glassman started prescribing medical cannabis in 2012 when it became legal in the state. Fascinatingly enough, according to Dr. Glassman, who’s also a rabbi, cannabis is part of an old and long standing tradition in Judaism.

“It’s mentioned in much of Jewish law,” Dr. Glassman said. “Not so much in terms of medical use, but in use of wicks and candles for the Sabbath, and in clothing. Wearing cannabis clothing was considered spiritual protection.”

For more information of Rabbi Dr. Glassman’s work, visit hadarta.org. To schedule a meeting with him during his house-call tour, call 617-610-9416 or email drglassman@hadarta.org.