Pharmacists Guide To CBD Oil And Medical Marijuana


The use of CBD oil and medical marijuana is fast becoming a popular form of treatment for patients suffering from illnesses that have had no relief from other forms of treatment.

The benefits of marijuana in the form of a medicinal treatment keeps growing. Patients have reported positive results for skin conditions, muscular and joint pain management, and digestive issues. This has resulted in a demand for medical marijuana products to be more readily available to the public.

In various states, the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes have been legalized, however, this comes with the new territory for pharmacists in the way that they prescribe and distribute these products. The increase in the demand for these products’ means that pharmacists will need to ensure they have the knowledge to remain within the jurisdictions of their state, but also ensure that they are able to offer the best advice to their patients.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the 2nd most active ingredient of marijuana, however, CBD is not marijuana itself. CBD is derived from the hemp plant. CBD on its own will not cause the high that one experiences from cannabis (marijuana).

CBD is often used to treat seizures caused by epilepsy as well as anxiety and insomnia. Various strains of CBD oil have been known to assist with chronic pain and that direct application of CBD to the skin can decrease inflammation levels. More and more research about the properties of CBD oil is being conducted as the list of conditions benefiting from it grows.

Legalization Of CBD

The legalization of hemp and the effect it has on the CBD oil industry is a current issue. On 20th December 2018, the Hemp Farming Act contained within the Farm Bill was signed into law. It changed how hemp is categorized in the United States from a controlled substance to an agricultural commodity, legalizing hemp federally.

All 50 states in the US have legalized cannabis in some form, each state has its own restrictions governing the sale and use. Although not every state has fully adopted or implemented the new laws on CBD oil, CBD oil with no THC in it is legal in all states.

In various states such as Colorado, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Texas, Indiana and Missouri, their legislation says that the sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products is explicitly allowed. In states such as Florida, New Jersey, Washington, Virginia, Maine, and Georgia there are no explicit prohibitions against selling hemp-derived products. There are, however, exemptions in the law that argue that these products are in fact legal.

Medicinal Marijuana

Medical marijuana uses cannabis plants or chemicals in cannabis (THC) to treat various conditions. There are many chemicals within the plant, more than 100 different types, that has positive effects on the body. It is in essence not very different from the recreational form of marijuana; however, its intent is for medical purposes.

The legalization of medical marijuana has seen a long battle but has proven beneficial in states where a cannabis program has been set up. Some of these states have regulations pertaining to the age of a patient or the condition that a patient has.

Dispensing Marijuana Products

In almost all the states where the sale of medical marijuana is legalized, they have instituted a patient registry or the use of identification cards. This is to confirm that medical marijuana has been prescribed by a professional. Dispensaries are allowed to provide this medication; however, it applies to specific conditions. These states include Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Illinois to name a few.

There are other bills that have limitations on the amount of THC that can be dispensed. In New York, single doses may not contain more than 10 mg of THC and the product cannot be smoked. In Puerto Rico, the product cannot be smoked. In most cases, patients cannot make their purchases in a different state from where they were approved for this type of treatment. Patients from New Hampshire cannot legally purchase THC based medication in another state without a note home their home state.

The laws covering this part of the conversation remain in limbo and many states have yet to confirm. It is, however, vital for pharmacists to know the system that is legally recognized by their state before dispensing products.

As the pressure continues to grow for medical professionals to explore new avenues for pain management and other conditions and patients are beginning to seek treatment in this form, pharmacists will begin to play a major role in the dispensing of these new treatments.

With the support of the public, lobbying groups, and research bodies, lawmakers are beginning to see the benefits of CBD and THC products. New laws are being introduced state-by-state which will require pharmacists to remain equipped and knowledgeable about how to dispense correctly for their patients.

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