Louisiana just became the first “Deep South” state to dispense medical cannabis from GB Sciences, four years after state lawmakers agreed to give patients access to medicinal cannabis.
The state’s first medical cannabis patient, Alex Domino, 70, who suffers from cancer, checked out at Capitol Wellness Pharmacy in Baton Rouge just before 9:30 a.m. today.
Nine pharmacies are licensed to dispense medical cannabis across Louisiana and most are expected to open this week. Louisiana joins more than 30 other states that allow medical cannabis in some form.
Doctors won’t issue a prescription but a “physician recommendation form,” a legal tatic aimed at keeping doctors from jeopardizing their medical licenses. Federal law prohibits prescribing cannabis.
Eighty eight doctors across the state have been approved for the Louisiana permit required to offer medical cannabis to patients.
Cannabis can be available in oils, pills, liquids, topical applications and an inhaler, but not in a smokeable form.
GB Sciences’ first product will be the liquid tinctures, in three different concentrations. John Davis, GB Sciences Louisiana president, said he expects to have dissolving strips taken by mouth available in a month, followed by topical creams.
Pharmacies can set their own price for the products, and insurance won’t cover the cost. Prices will range from $99 to $200 per product.
Medical conditions that qualify for medical cannabis:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Intractable pain
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorders
- Severe muscle spasms
Certain conditions associated with autism also qualify to be treated with medical cannabis. They include the following:
- Avoidance of others or inability to communicate of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized
- Physically aggressive or destructive behavior
- Repetitive or self-stimulatory behavior of such severity that the physical health of the person with autism is jeopardized
- Self-injuring behavior
How to get a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis in Louisiana?
Only doctors marijuana-certified in Louisiana by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners can provide “recommendations” for patients who are residents in the state.
Patients under the care of a primary care physician who is not marijuana-certified will need to be recommended to a certified doctor.