This week we talked with Dr. Mark Dukshtein! Dr. Mark is a board certified Internal Medicine physician who is also a medical cannabis advocate. On this episode, we discuss medical cannabis, it’s effect on the medical world, being an internal medicine physician during the pandemic and last but not least his love of food. Listen now by CLICKING HERE.
♡ Why Medicine?
Dr. Mark Dukshtein is an Internal Medicine physician based out of NY/NJ. His journey in medicine didn't really feel like it started until his second year of medical school. As funny as it sounds, he always knew he wanted to do something in science and kind of just went for it. He noted that something kept pulling him towards the field of medicine because he always wanted to help people. It wasn't until his clinical rotations and the relationship he built with his patients where he found his true calling. Now, as anyone in medicine knows it's not just about being in medicine but what you end up specializing in. Internal medicine gave Dr. Mark variety, a wealth of pathology and the chance to meet so many people. The fact that he was able to bring all of these various aspects of medicine is what made him choose to go into IM.
♡ Why Hospitalist?
Hospitalist medicine allows you to interact with lots of other people (i.e.: other consultants, different patients) and is more fast paced. The outpatient setting once upon a time was a lot slower paced where you developed long lasting relationships with your patients but these days you can't really hear a patient out because you are so busy keeping up with the patient load. So when deciding between the two he was naturally drawn to the hospitalist life. However, this change in outpatient medicine is what got Dr. Mark to be involved in medical cannabis. This way he is able to go through his patients chronic conditions on their own time with the added bonus of being able to have his own schedule.
♡ Medical Cannabis
His company is called Tri State Health & Compassion and is based out of New Jersey.
Fun Fact: THC also stands for Tri State Health & Compassion
He created this company as a means to find something he can do on his own and where he can be his own boss. This was a way to offer people something that is not offered everywhere. Because he trained in an underserved area in New York and now in New Jersey as an attending he witnessed a ton of polypharmacy and opioid abuse that is affecting our communities. Medical cannabis is one outlet that has helped get people off of opioids and can even alleviate the pain with some of the chronic conditions people are suffering from.
♡ NJ Legalizes Weed
Now that marijuana is legal in the state of New Jersey you will be able to have easier access to various marijuana products. Dr. Mark anticipates that a certain percentage of his practice will fall off however, he notes that most of his patients use it as medicine and not recreationally.
His experience with telemedicine has been a great one. It is an incredible tool during the pandemic and has allowed him to have access to patients when he otherwise may not have. Yes, he would rather see his patients in person but with tele health he has the option of helping people with various health conditions who aren't trying to leave their home during the pandemic. The other added benefit is that it allowed for him to have appointments on demand thus, reaching more people.
♡ Hospital Life during COVID
Okay, so putting politics aside the truth is people are dying and COVID is REAL. At the time, of this recording we were barely touching the surface of the second wave and it was definitely looking like it was coming. He noted at that time that for the most part people were coming in due to increasing oxygen requirements. Dr. Mark says he doesn't see people dying as much as he did with the first wave which may be due to the therapeutics we now have uncovered that seem to work and also possible because we know more about the virus.
♡ Future plans
His plans are to revamp his THC website by updating the scheduling and some much needed information. At this time, if you wish to visit Dr. Mark he requires a referral letter from your primary care provider (PCP). The reason being is that this way he can apply a multidisciplinary approach by speaking with their PCP prior to meeting with the patient and working together in reaching the optimal care for the patient.
Dr. Mark is working with a company that is an APP. This APP helps keep a diary of your medical marijuana use, dosage, strength, whether it is through inhalation or topical and it utilizes a symptom tracker. This will hopefully lead to getting medicinal marijuana covered by insurance which may help some people as well as stop them from getting it on the black market.
If anyone knows Dr. Mark they know that he is a FOODIE. What sparked this interest was when he was in the Caribbean for medical school he noted that his island didn't have too many food options. Then when he went to Atlanta, Georgia for his clinical rotations he had a great variety of Southern food. This led him to taking pictures of food and luckily, instagram was getting popular at that time.
This food interest has grown further as he started making many home cooked meals and more recently (over the last year and a half) he decided to start making pizza! He received a portable pizza oven as a birthday gift and started making his own pizza from scratch. Even making his own dough! It was so good that it prompted him to start selling it on the side. He went head first by making an instagram account, going to his local shop for the ingredients and he was ready to go. Dr. Mark recalls that on, "the first day there was NOTHING". He was ready to give up but by the next morning he was getting DMs and texts regarding his pies. Dr. Mark says that he, "sold out of 24 pizzas". He notes that it's a hobby and something he can continue to improve on as well as, provide people. He will definitely be delving into the pizza realm once the weather gets better.
♡ Secret Tips
Salt your water really well when you make pasta
Hint: (it should taste like the sea)
Save your pasta water
When adding the pasta to the sauce pasta water is like a glue and will help with creating the most delicious/restaurant style pasta
Less is more
A medicated dose of cannabis is literally, equal to the size of your pinky nail
♡ Where can you find Dr. Mark?
DM him @njthcdoc
Want to talk food? @thefoodiedoc
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Disclaimer: The Content on our podcast/website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.