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Does the State of Louisiana have a Medical Marijuana program?

The Alison Neustrom Act established a legalized medical marijuana program in Louisiana.

 

How do I know if the clinician is qualified to recommend medical marijuana?

Ask the doctor:

  1. What medical marijuana professional organizations are you a member of?
  2. How much experience do you have in the area of medical marijuana?
  3. How many medical marijuana patients do you currently take care of?
  4. How much time do you spend during each consultation?
  5. How often do you followup on changes to the medical marijuana program?

 

What factors should the clinician consider when planning my treatment?

Make sure your treatment plan:

  1. Takes into account your daily schedule, such as working a job, needing to drive, or taking care of kids, and if your schedule changes from day to day
  2. Is individualized to your specific goals, diagnosis, and symptoms and addresses whether your symptoms are chronic or episodic in nature and the time course of the symptoms throughout the day
  3. Utilizes the best route of administration for your specific needs, taking into account factors like onset of action, duration of action, and ease of adjustment
  4. Factors in current marijuana usage, including use of CBD oil, to determine the best treatment plan with minimal trial and error
  5. Includes detailed information about marijuana strain and active components and how to adjust for maximum positive effects and to minimize negative side effects
  6. Considers the overall cost of your treatment plan and produces the best treatment plan at the lowest possible product cost.

 

Who qualifies for Medical Marijuana?

  • Resident of Louisiana

The patient must be a resident of Louisiana.  There are no age restrictions on who can receive treatment.

  • Qualifying Medical Condition

You MUST have a current, active diagnosis from the following list to qualify for medical marijuana.  This list is codified in state law and there is absolutely no way to recommend medical marijuana for anything else.

There are many additional qualifications that have to be met during the consultation to receive a medical marijuana recommendation.  Just because you have a qualifying medical condition does not guarantee you will receive a medical marijuana recommendation.

 

Is receiving a recommendation guaranteed?

Receiving a recommendation for medical marijuana is not guaranteed.  There are many reasons why a patient may not qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation, including:

  • patient is not a Louisiana resident
  • patient does not have a qualifying medical condition
  • patient does not meet additional criteria that have been set for some qualifying medical conditions
  • patient does not provide informed consent for medical marijuana treatment
  • patient exhibits evidence of abuse, diversion, or doctor shopping of controlled substances
  • patient has significant mental health or substance abuse history
  • patient had complications from previous marijuana treatment
  • patient has a medical history of major liver problems, heart attack, stroke, significant blood pressure issues, pregnancy, or breastfeeding
  • patient is at the extremes of age or takes multiple medications
  • patient has not considered, attempted, undertaken, or declined conventional therapy
  • patient has not attempted FDA step therapy with FDA approved medications
  • patient could encounter possible interference with conventional treatment, worsening of the condition, or masking of an acute or treatable condition.

 

What do we know about the dispensaries?

Currently no dispensaries or medical marijuana is available in Louisiana.  While current estimates put a limited product release around May 2019, medical marijuana may not be fully available until fall, or perhaps even later.

There will be 9 dispensaries spread geographically throughout the state.  The contact info for the dispensaries is:

  • New Orleans – Ruston Henry with H&W Drug Store (504-244-3784).  Address: 4718 Paris Ave in the Oak Park Shopping Center.
  • Baton Rouge – TJ Woodard (225-615-8730) and Randy Mire (985-536-3957) with Capitol Wellness Solutions.  Address: 7941 Picardy Ave.
  • Houma – Omar Pecante with Green Leaf Dispensary (337-380-8639) Address: 6048 West Park Ave.
  • Madisonville – Darren Martin and Vincent Campo with Willow Dispensary (985-792-2391) Address: 1519 Hwy 22 West Email: info@willowpharmacy.net
  • Shreveport – Doug Boudreaux, Jennifer Boudreaux, Chris Whittington with Hope Pharmacy (318-631-2005).  Address: 1410 Kings Highway. Suite A.
  • Lafayette – Kevin Legrange and Eric Vidrine with The Apothecary Shoppe (888-237-4737).  Address: 620 Guilbeau Rd.
  • Alexandria – Michelle Williams with the Medicine Cabinet (318-448-2445).  Address: 403 Bolton Ave.
  • Monroe – Greg Morrison with Delta Medmar (111 McMillan Rd)
  • Lake Charles – Medicis (1727 Imperial Blvd. Building 4).  Pharmacist in Charge James Thibodeaux.

The process for submitting a recommendation and obtaining medical marijuana should be fairly straightforward, similar to how you currently receive a prescription from your doctor that you take to your pharmacy.

Patients are allowed to choose which dispensary they want their recommendation sent.

 

What types of medical marijuana will be available?

LSU’s contracted grower, GB Sciences, has released some information regarding the products that will be available.  They plan on initially releasing full spectrum products with a few different cannabinoid profiles.

The products will come as sublingual tinctures in a 30cc bottle.

The contact info for GB Sciences is:

Southern University has contracted with Ilera Holistic Healthcare and it is anticipated they will have products available in late 2019.

The contact info for Ilera Holistic Healthcare is:

 

What other important information do I need to know?

There are unresolved medical and legal questions regarding medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana is classified by the state of Louisiana as an unconventional and experimental treatment with unproven medical benefits.  There are also risks with medical marijuana treatment.  Marijuana is not FDA approved and there are very few safety or efficacy studies available.

The federal government and many other states consider use and possession of marijuana, even for medical use, to be illegal.  Companies have wide latitude to discipline or terminate employees who use marijuana, even with a doctor’s recommendation.

Traveling with medical marijuana outside Louisiana can be problematic due to differing laws.  However, patients participating legally in a state medical marijuana program are not generally at risk of losing government benefits like retirement, pension, VA, health, disability, or Social Security.

You do not receive a marijuana card.

Unlike other states, you do not have to register with the state and you do not receive any type of card.  You simply receive a recommendation that you will fill at the dispensary.

Recommendations can only be written for 30 days with no refills

You will need to contact your doctor every time you run out of medication. Recommendations cannot be refilled early.

Cannot smoke, inhale, vape, or use raw marijuana

Doctors can recommend oral, oil, edible, topical, and suppository dosing, but nothing inhaled or using raw marijuana.

 

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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana

MarijuanaClinicLa.com