How Legalization will Affect Access to Medical Marijuana

. December 31, 2018.
Medical marijuana

On December 6th, Michigan’s cannabis legalization law went into effect. It is now legal to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis as well as to grow 12 plants per household. Until recreational marijuana licenses are issued by the State of Michigan, people still need medical marijuana cards to legally purchase cannabis products from a dispensary licensed to sell medical cannabis. Without medical marijuana cards, the only way to legally obtain cannabis is to grow it yourself or receive it as a gift from a grower. The new law is an opportunity for those of us physicians who understand the medicinal uses for cannabis and want to freely recommend it to our patients for indications other than the 11 that the State of Michigan has approved. Indications such as insomnia (THC improves the quality of deep sleep) and anxiety (both THC and CBD play a role) are not on the list of 11 indications, but many cannabis users have found success by treatment with cannabis use in these areas.

Cannabis can provide medicine that is not mind-altering

People looking to begin growing their own cannabis will not only save money, they will be able to take advantage of one of my favorite ways to deliver cannabis: fresh juice. Most of my clients are not interested in the mind altering components of cannabis—that is what drives many of them away from the herb. The THC in fresh juice is not mind altering. This allows for the consumption of the high doses of THC needed to treat certain conditions (like cancer) without the negative mind altering effects of THC.

The juice can be made from the leaves of the plant, so maintaining plants in a vegetative/non-flowering state and pruning them will provide a long term harvest. Simply run the leaves through a juicer or a high speed blender and you have your medicine. This new law allows anyone to do this without interference from the state or the need to meet state requirements. Cannabis juice is a wonderful way to treat chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis as well as any peripheral pain syndromes (like neuropathies).

Hopefully, the Michigan legislature will move forward quickly to allow the legal purchase of cannabis products at dispensaries for those who don’t have medical cannabis cards and don’t want to grow at home. We have a huge opportunity here to do this the right way so that it benefits both the individual users as well as the State as a whole. Now we need the legislation to make it all run smoothly.

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