BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Louisiana Board of Pharmacy committee voted Wednesday to change the state’s medical marijuana rules so that the final medicinal product could be stronger and cheaper.
Under current rules, producers cannot put more than 100 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in each bottle of medical marijuana product. In Feb., the full board of pharmacy is expected to adopt the committee’s changes that will completely eliminate that cap.
THC is an active medicinal ingredient in the cannabis plant. It is also the chemical responsible for the high most users feel when they ingest the plant.
The cap was instituted before the legislature expanded the list of illnesses patients could treat with marijuana. New research indicates that the newly-accepted illnesses, as well as some of the old ones, sometimes require more potent marijuana for effective treatment.
The rule change allows doctors to recommend higher dosages that can be compacted into a single bottle, rather than recommending their patients take several low-doses of medicine to achieve the same relief. This is comparable to taking a single, extra-strength, 800-mg ibuprofen for a headache instead of four 200-mg ibuprofen.
Marijuana is technically federally illegal, so insurance doesn’t cover it. Patients will have to pay out of their own pockets.
“It’s easy to take a bunch of pills until you’ve got a child who has special needs,” Jacob Irving, a lawyer for one of the state’s medical marijuana growers, said. “It’s more of an ordeal to take their medication because you might not get ten different (chances) to take ten different pills.”
Doctors are responsible for determining how much medical marijuana their patients should take and how often they should do it. There is no set price for the medicine.
GB Sciences will sell the first batch of marijuana wholesale to the nine licensed pharmacies across the state, which will set the price for the final product.