The perception of marijuana is changing around the nation, and particularly in Louisiana where medical marijuana became available to residents this year. New regulations allowed certain pharmacies around the state to dispense medical marijuana to patients who have their doctor’s approval to use it.
The drug has been lauded as another choice for people dealing with a variety of illnesses, from cancer and Parkinson’s to PTSD, inflammation, and glaucoma. It was thrown even further into the media spotlight when former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s family said it extended and enhanced her life in the weeks before her passing in August from a rare form of cancer.
But questions follow these new regulations and recommendations. Are CBD products and marijuana fully legal in the state? What is the difference between the two, and how are they administered? How do patients receive approval for medical marijuana, and what are the next steps to obtain it CityBusiness held a roundtable with six professionals in the science, medical, pharmaceutical, legal and policy sectors of this issue. They discussed various topics, ranging from the medical benefits of medical marijuana to the dangers of marijuana containing THC, which patients qualify and whether they can lose their job for testing positive for it. Some Cannabis critics still have concerns about the drug and worry it could lead to another path of addiction, as in the opioid crisis in Louisiana and the rest of the nation.
The panelists noted that community education efforts such as this will help patients, legislators, and other stakeholders understand the science of marijuana and whether it should be made more available to a wider population.
—Natalie Chandler, Editor, New Orleans CityBusiness