Sooner or later, the pain in the stock market is will end, Jim Cramer assured his Mad Money viewers Thursday. Until then, investors might be wondering why they own stocks in the first place.

Cramer said bluntly, "Fed chair Jerome Powell had his chance and he blew it," with yesterday's interest rate hike. He said the Federal Reserve's policy is simply wrong, and had they looked at all of the data, they would have seen our economy beginning to slow in the first week of October. The evidence that the Fed should pause and adopt a wait-and-see approach is "painfully obvious," Cramer continued, and the only good news is that the Fed will eventually realize the error of its ways.

In the meantime, Cramer said he'd use any bounce in the market to sell your weakest performers. He's use that cash to ensure you have a well diversified portfolio, one that includes some risk-free bank CDs and even gold. Cramer recommended Randgold (GOLD) or the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) ETF.

The Fed wil have to change its course eventually, Cramer concluded. Until then, we'll have to continue to endure declines like the 9.4% plunge in Carnival (CCL) and the 4.9% drop in Accenture (ACN) , just to name a few.

Bull Market for GE

Sometimes the bull shows up in the most unlikely of places, Cramer told viewers. This week, amidst the horrendous sell-off, shares of General Electric (GE) managed to rally 12% from last week's lows.

GE has been a hated stock for what seems like ages, after former CEO Jeff Immelt made a series of poor decisions, including several acquisitions made at the peak of the market and severely underfunding the company's long-term care liabilities.

In order for GE to bounce, Cramer said noted analyst and GE bear Steve Tusa, would have to give his green light to buy. Last week, Tusa upgraded the stock from sell to neutral, saying that most of the bad news at GE had already been baked into the stock.

Cramer said while Tusa did upgrade his outlook on GE, he did not raise his price target. That means while GE shares deserved to rally, they're not yet ready to be bought, given the potential secondary offering the company will likely have to issue. For now, things are better, but still wait-and-see at General Electric.

Fireside Chat

In his "Fireside Chat" segment, Cramer sat down to take a little extra time to listen to what was on the minds of Cramericans. The first caller wanted to know about the direction of oil prices. Cramer said the oil market has too much supply at a time when global demand is slowing. He didn't expect oil prices to rebound anytime soon.

The next caller's "mad money" portfolio was down 35% and he wanted to know what to do next. Cramer said it's too late to sell now, so he would wait for a bounce, then lighten up in some of the weaker names to raise cash for buying later.

When a 32-year-old asked whether he should cash out of his index funds, Cramer said he would continue to invest in those funds, putting money to work just as you normally would. At 32, there are plenty of years ahead to make up any losses.

Finally, when asked which stocks are OK to be bought in a volatile environment like this one, Cramer said he'd look for companies with great balance sheets and strong secular trends. He reiterated that it's not quite yet time to buy, but the time to sell has already past.

Executive Decision: Paychex

In his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer checked in with Marty Mucci, president and CEO of Paychex (PAYX) , the nation's second largest payroll processor, for a read on the real strength of our economy.

Mucci said the employment picture in the U.S. is still strong, with businesses continuing to grow and new businesses being formed. There is still strong demand and optimism, he said, which is probably what the Federal Reserve is seeing. Mucci added that he, like Cramer, would like to see the Fed take a data-driven approach and take time to see if the rate increases they've already imposed are having the desired effects.

Turning to the topic of Paychex itself, Mucci said he company continues to evolve into a lot more than just payroll. His company's human resource outsourcing products are coming at a time when businesses need them the most. Changes to the tax code and regulations are coming faster than ever before, he said, and companies cannot afford to be ill-informed about issues like minimum wage, taxes, anti-harassment, family leave and countless others.

Cramer said Paychex continues to deliver on its promises and the company makes more money as interest rates rise.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Hormel Foods (HRL) , The Blackstone Group (BX) , TherapeuticsMD (TXMD) , Palo Alto Networks (PANW) , CyberArk Software (CYBR) , Cisco Systems (CSCO) , Abiomed (ABMD) and Medtronic (MDT) .

Cramer was bearish on Owens Corning (OC) .

Cisco and Palo Alto Networks are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells CSCO or PANW? Learn more now.

Off the Tape: Acreage Holdings

In his "Off The Tape" segment, Cramer sat down with Kevin Murphy, CEO of the Canadian-based cannabis grower, Acreage Holdings, which currently operates in 19 states here in the U.S.

Murphy said that Acreage has the largest footprint in the U.S., but because of current securities laws, is not yet allowed to list its shares in U.S. equity markets. They continue to keep their eyes on the prize however, as the U.S. market, even in just a few states, is already bigger than all of Canada, which legalized cannabis back in October of this year.

Acreage has an excellent executive team and a board of directors that includes former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, Murphy said, and they also have $500 million in cash on their books. These facts should make the company an attractive partner for a multitude of wine and spirits makers looking to expand into the cannabis space, just as Constellation Brands (STZ) has done with their investment in Canopy Growth (CGC) .

Cramer and the AAP team are looking at how end-of-the-year market volatility is affecting their portfolio. Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.

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