The bill on the use of medical marijuana in its raw or crude form was filed on April 1, 2021. It was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards on June 21, 2021, and it became Act No. 424.
Medical marijuana was authorized with a recommendation of its use in raw or crude form and with limits to the dispensing of the product.
The limit in medical marijuana prescriptions stated in the updated law is 2.5 ounces or 71 grams of raw marijuana per patient every two weeks.
The Bill’s effective date begins on January 1, 2022. This means that the plant-based medical marijuana medication is set to make its way onto the markets on the said date.
It is part of expanding the medical marijuana program for Louisiana and allows physicians to prescribe a raw, smokeable form of medical marijuana to their patients.
The crude cannabis ban from state law was removed, which had limited medical forms to tinctures, gummies, oils, and inhalers.
Medical Cannabis Smoking
When medical marijuana is used in its smokable form, the process involves the inhalation of smoke or vapors released by heating the flowers, leaves, or extracts of cannabis. It is one process by which medical marijuana can be used by patients.
When inhalation occurs, the main psychoactive chemical of cannabis called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is released and absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs.
Smoking cannabis began 2,500 years ago. There is archaeological evidence that indicates that cannabis with high levels of THC was smoked as far back as this time.
Feedback From Shreveport Pharmacists
Shreveport medical marijuana pharmacists are grateful for the successful passing of the bill allowing medical marijuana patients to smoke cannabis. They attest to the effectiveness of medical marijuana in alleviating many symptoms of several medical conditions.
Douglas Boudreaux, who works at Hope Pharmacy, has commented that medical marijuana is a miracle. He said that he’s never seen a drug do what medical marijuana can do.
He further added that part of why medical marijuana can be so effective as a medication is because of its chemical structure.
While other pharmaceutics has only one chemical structure, cannabis has 109 different cannabinoids with maybe four or five hundred different chemicals.
Other important feedback from Boudreaux, as an experienced Shreveport medical marijuana pharmacist, are:
- Using the cannabis plant in its raw form will reduce the production costs, making the treatment more affordable for patients. He said that typically, a patient will usually start to spend $50 on medical marijuana medication, but the cost can go all the way up to $400.
- It provides another tool in a pharmacist’s toolbox to take care of patients in addition to tinctures, vapes, and creams.
- The majority of patients being treated with medical marijuana are pain patients. Other patients have PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), radiculopathy, and specific types of pain. Hence, any expansion of the marijuana program, like the use of medical cannabis in its smokeable form, is always a plus.
Other Implications of Smokable Cannabis
The new rules regarding the use of smokable medical marijuana include dos and don’ts that physicians must follow when certifying patients to smoke medical marijuana.
Physicians and patients should be fully aware of these implications, including:
- Adopted practice standards or new physician practice guidelines may spell out what doctors must do to certify patients. It may include:
- Conducting in-person assessments of patients that include family and social history “with an emphasis on substance abuse disorder and mental health”
- Full documentation of information in patients’ medical records which may include:
– Whether the patient is pregnant,
– the results of any diagnostic, therapeutic, or lab work are performed by the qualifying physicians or received by the qualifying physicians from other practitioners,
- Information that needs to be included in patients’ medical records.
- A standardized consent form.
- The Consent form for patients may include:
- A warning not to smoke medical marijuana or any other combustible products near oxygen tanks because it can cause a fire or explosion.
- Advice to check their marijuana supplies is because buds can get infected with mold or mildew that poses health risks.
Why Patients Smoke Medical Marijuana
There are a few key factors why patients choose to consume medical cannabis through smoking.
The three popular reasons according to Patriot Care are:
- Cannabis is found to be fast-acting when inhaled. This is mostly true because smoking provides an efficient path to the relief of severe symptoms.
- Smoking medical cannabis allows patients to carefully control their dose by taking multiple small inhalations until the desired level of symptom relief is achieved.
- Smoking is a simple way of sampling a variety of medical cannabis strains in order to discover their unique effects.
A Landmark for Marijuana Proposals in Shreveport
The addition of the raw cannabis measure in the 2021 session has left a landmark for medical marijuana measures in the state.
This is a move towards the possibility of further softening laws that revolve around decriminalizing medical cannabis.
A Shreveport medical marijuana pharmacist would be able to help patients understand the new rules and their implications for patients.
TeleLeaf is a premier access platform to medical marijuana that connects patients in need with qualified doctors. We’re focused on the patient experience.
Our licensed doctors share the conviction in the use of cannabis to assist their patients to ensure happier, healthier, and more productive lives. Contact us for more information.