Sale of marijuana ‘flower’ now allowed in PA to treat opioid addiction
The price of medical marijuana could fall dramatically for some patients by mid-summer. And the drug will soon be used to treat opioid withdrawal in Pennsylvania, which will become the second state after New Jersey to allow it for that purpose. At a news conference in Harrisburg, Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said she had approved the sale of cannabis flower, the traditional smokable or vaporizable form of the plant.
Since the launch of the state medical marijuana program in February, dispensaries in Pennsylvania have sold only pricey marijuana oils and extracts. Flower, also known as leaf or bud, needs no processing and is less expensive to produce, writes Sam Wood in the Philadelphia Daily News.
“For some patients, the cost of their medical marijuana could drop by 50 percent with the addition of flower,” said Chris Visco, owner of TerraVida Holistic Centers, a chain of dispensaries with shops in Sellersville and Abington. “It offers the lowest price per milligram of THC, the active ingredient.”
Nearly all of the 29 states that have legalized marijuana in some form allow for the distribution of plant material. Minnesota and West Virginia are among the last weed-legal states with laws banning its sale.
Levine accepted more than a dozen recommendations made last week by the state’s medical marijuana advisory board. With her decision, doctors will still need to register but will be able to opt out of the published registry. Terminal illness, neurodegenerative diseases, and dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders are now qualifying conditions.
Allowing the use of cannabis to help wean people off of opioids may have the greatest impact on the state. New Jersey was the first to approve “addiction substitute therapy for opioid reduction” last month. By adding treatment for opioid withdrawal to the list of approved uses, Levine opened up the possibility for clinical research on the two drugs at state health systems.
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