Even though medical marijuana is currently legal in 33 states and recreational in 10, the advancement of the recreational market isn’t always a good thing for medical cannabis patients.
Once states move to full legalization, millions of dollars are brought in to move focus away from patients and towards consumers, due to increased profit.
Not only do businesses shift their attention away from patients, but stricter regulations tend to place limits on THC, which means patients aren’t able to get enough of their medicine or are faced to pay hundreds of dollars more for the amount they need.
“It is imperative that cannabis businesses continue to cater to medical cannabis patients because often times it is a patient’s last line of defense and hope against a disease. For these patients, cannabis is truly a medicine and should be treated as such”, says Sara Gluck with the America Israel Cannabis Association.
Sara also points out that “patients require different amounts, different strains, and different dispensing mechanisms than regular cannabis consumers.“ Education surrounding medical patients’ specific needs is one of the biggest obstacles for patients to overcome.
Greg Rovner, CEO of Heally, notes that “There is clearly a lack of trustworthy information around the cannabis products that are flooding the market. Without FDA approval and guidelines, consumers are often using trial and error to figure out which products work best for them.”
Heally is a platform that connects people with medical marijuana doctors and helps patients find the right products tailored specifically for their health and wellness needs.
Rovner mentions that they “have more than 150 doctors available at any time to help patients answer critical questions like how cannabis, or other wellness products, will interact with their prescriptions, what strain may be best for their needs, how much to take, what form is best, etc. By helping customers throughout the wellness journey, from medical consultation to purchase, we hope they will use cannabis more responsibly and improve their health as a result.”
Thom King, CEO of Icon Foods, points out that part of caring for patients past legalization is “making sure that the edible cannabis they are taking isn’t counterproductive to their healing process, and part of this is clean label sugar reduction in these edibles.”
King also mentions that it’s very important for us to treat patients with compassion.
Given that the recreational market is going to continue expanding, we need to make sure we don’t leave medical patients behind and they continue to get the care they so desperately need.
Author Bio: Zane Bader currently works at NisonCo as an account manager. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), where he is on the executive committee and is the secretary for the Board. During his undergraduate studying Mathematics at the University of Georgia, he founded the Psychedelic Club at UGA, as well as helped lead his University’s SSDP chapter and local marijuana reform organization. He was previously employed at UGA’s Center for Research on Behavioral Health, where they conducted the largest and longest comprehensive study on drug abuse treatment within the United States.