Compare medical cannabis programs across America, and you’ll find an obvious trend. The newer programs tend to be stricter in their policies.
This can come in many forms. The most obvious one is that some state medical cannabis programs have dispensaries, and some do not.
Another big difference between newer medical cannabis states and older ones is the list of qualifying conditions. Newer states have far fewer conditions on their lists, which decide who can enter the medical cannabis program, and who cannot.
Each strict provision results in fewer and fewer patients having safe access to the medical cannabis that they desperately need.
One provision that is troublesome even to patients that qualify for newer medical cannabis programs is the prohibition on raw flower cannabis.
The reasoning behind banning raw cannabis flower is that it can be smoked, and in states like New York, Florida, and Minnesota, smoking medical cannabis is prohibited.
One company in Florida that had been selling cannabis flower for vaporizing was recently ordered to cease and desist sales of products that contain raw cannabis flower that could hypothetically be smoked.
Policies like this result in patients being cut off from raw cannabis flower products, which is bad on many levels. Below are five reasons why patients need flower in medical cannabis programs.
#1) It’s cheaper for patients
Anyone who has purchased oils, edibles, topicals, or concentrates at a dispensary knows that they are not cheap. To get a dose from processed products costs more than a dose from raw flower.
For a lot of patients, purchasing raw flower and making their own products is a much cheaper alternative than buying finished processed products from dispensaries.
One dispensary in my area is selling cannabis flower for as cheap as $3.50. At that price cannabis consumers can afford to buy enough to make their own butter, tinctures, oils, or whatever else they desire, at an affordable cost.
#2) Allows patients more flexibility in how it is used
Patients who buy finished processed products can usually only use the product in one way. If it’s a topical, it can be rubbed on the skin. If it’s a tincture it can only be taken orally.
Different conditions and ailments call for different delivery methods. Sometimes vaporizing cannabis is the most effective way to treat a condition. Sometimes eating an edible is the best way.
By allowing patients to purchase raw cannabis flower, it affords them the opportunity to do multiple things with it, which is a big deal for patients, especially those who are suffering from different ailments.
Some dispensaries in newer states only have a limited selection of products due to not having the equipment to make things on a large scale, which are often things that patients can make at home on a limited scale.
#3) Raw cannabis can provide quicker relief
For some patients, especially those who suffer from severe pain, consuming raw flower in vapor or smoked form is the best way to treat their condition as fast as possible.
Some patients need relief immediately, and waiting an hour or more for a tincture or topical to ‘kick in’ is not a desirable option.
In many instances processed cannabis products work fine, but in other instances only raw flower will do. By allowing raw flower cannabis to be sold in dispensaries, patients have the option of getting quicker relief if they need it.
#4) Newbie patients are sometimes more familiar and comfortable with raw flower
Most patients are familiar with a joint, or have seen raw cannabis being consumed via some type of device or apparatus.
As such, patients can be much more comfortable consuming cannabis in a manner that they have seen before. Having an edible or other product presented to them can seem foreign and possibly result in the patient being reluctant to try the product(s).
No one should be peer pressured into using cannabis, but in some cases how the cannabis is presented can be the biggest determining factor if someone will try it.
After a patient has had an experience with cannabis, they will likely be more open to trying other delivery methods and products.
But there’s a good chance that will never happen in states that do not allow raw cannabis flower, at least for some patients, because they will be turned off by products and delivery methods that they can’t relate to.
#5) Raw cannabis flower provides more medicinal variety
Many processed cannabis products do not list a strain name, or terpene profile, or other information that helps a customer differentiate one version of the product from another.
‘How do I know if this product is good?’ is a question that I am often asked. I very rarely hear that question when it comes to raw cannabis flower because it’s easier to tell if the cannabis is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based off of how it looks, smells, and what data is provided via testing.
Raw cannabis flower can be dynamic in its taste (flavonoids) and smell (terpenes). That is lost when a lot of cannabis products are made. The finished products allow one of just handful of options.
Cannabis flower on the other hand comes in literally hundreds of different varieties, all of which possess their own traits, characteristics, and wellness benefits.
These compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, work in synergy with cannabinoids for a greater medicinal impact. Cut raw flower out of the equation, and how much medicine are we losing?