In older medical cannabis states, virtually every form of cannabis is legal. Patients are able to pick and choose which cannabis products they buy, from cannabis flower all the way to cannabis-infused syrup that you can use on your pancakes (although sugar makes a lot of health conditions worse).
But in states that have just recently instituted a legal medical cannabis industry, the options for patients are much more limited.
One form of cannabis that has been banned in states like Minnesota and New York is cannabis flower that can be smoked or vaped.
Only smokeless forms of cannabis are allowed in those two states, and elected officials are trying to institute a similar policy in Florida where voters approved a medical cannabis initiative in 2016.
The attempt to institute a smoking ban in Florida has led to a legal challenge, with Florida medical cannabis financier John Morgan having sued to the State of Florida to prevent a cannabis smoking ban from becoming law.
No one is saying that all patients should have to smoke cannabis. But patients should have the option to use cannabis flower if it helps treat their condition(s).
With the pharmaceutical industry having designs on a medical cannabis system that is based on its products which won’t include cannabis flower, it is important now than ever before to keep the pressure on elected officials to allow safe access to cannabis flower.
Below are some reasons why patients should have access to cannabis flower and not just smokeless forms of cannabis.
Flower is more affordable
Cannabis, like most other medicines, is not cheap. This is especially true when we are talking about cannabis-infused products that involve costly production processes.
Whereas a patient may not be able to afford a transdermal pain patch every day, they may be able to afford to consume cannabis flower on a daily basis, which helps make their wellness regimen more affordable.
Vaping or smoking cannabis flower has different pharamacological effects
Cannabis is a versatile medicine and different delivery methods (including vaping or smoking flower) have different impacts on our physiology, espcially if you want to take advantage of cannabis terpenes.
Smoking cannabis doesn’t require as much gear
When it comes to allowing vaporized cannabis, some parts of some states allow flower sales with the assumption that the flower will be vaporized, not burned.
But other parts of other states seem to only allow cannabis that comes in a vaporizer cartridge for a vaporizer pen. Obviously not everyone has a pen.
It may not sound like huge burden to get a pen or vaporizer, but for many patients it can be yet another expense on an already stretched-to-the-max budget. With cannabis flower, all they need is a rolling paper.
Plus many of these vape pens contain harmful thinning agents, such as propylene glycol.
Easier to regulate dosage for some patients
Regulating dosage when consuming cannabis can be a tricky thing for many patients, especially when it comes to edibles.
A fine line exists between eating too much and having an undesirable experience and eating too little and not obtaining the necessary amount of wellness benefits from the edible.
Edibles take a long time to take effect, leaving the patient wondering where their experience is going to land on the scale of not enough to too much.
Consuming cannabis one inhalation at a time is easier for many patients, who then can take a moment of reprieve between inhalations to gauge if they have had enough, or need more.
Eliminates problems with food allergies
Some patients in limited states have complained that the options for people with food allergies is almost non-existent.
Newer medical cannabis states only allow a limited number of licenses to companies that only have a limited amount of products.
By allowing access to cannabis flower, patients can bypass the food allergy problem altogether.
When jurisdictions prohibit access to cannabis flower, they are hurting patients, especially those that are on a limited budget.
Allowing patients to have to cannabis flower, and allowing them to smoke it if they want to, calculates for those that need that particular form of medicine.
If regulators are concerned about smoking, a much more effective strategy compared to prohibition would be to allow smoking, and couple it with a harm reduction campaign to educate users (which most, if not all, states do anyways).