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Does the State of Louisiana have a Medical Marijuana program?

Yes.  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.

  • Debilitating Medical Condition

You MUST have a current, active diagnosis of a Debilitating Medical Condition.

In general, a Debilitating Medical Condition is a CHRONIC condition whose symptoms cause SIGNIFICANT problems with everyday functioning despite conventional medical treatment.

Debilitating Medical Conditions could include:  Abdominal Pain, Addiction, ADHD, Arthritis, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, ALS, Anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Back Pain, Cachexia, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Pain, Crohn’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Kidney Disease, Cirrhosis, Cystitis, Concussion, Dementia, Depression, Endometriosis, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Headaches, Hepatitis C, HIV, Huntington’s, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Intractable Pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Insomnia, Joint Pain, Lewy Body Dementia, Lupus,  Motor Neuron Disease, Muscle Spasms, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Neck Pain, Neurodegenerative Disease, OCD, Nausea, Neuropathy, Parkinson’s, PTSD, Restless Leg Syndrome, Seizures, Sickle Cell Disease, Spasticity, Spinal Cord Injury, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, Tourette’s, Wasting Syndrome

Other conditions not specifically listed may also be a Debilitating Medical Condition.

Patients who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses or end stage diseases, are unable to work or attend school due to their medical condition, are receiving hospice or palliative care, or receive assistance with daily tasks through home health or facility care, will likely also have an underlying Debilitating Medical Condition.

 

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 debilitating medical condition
  • 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.

 

Where are the dispensaries?

There are 9 dispensaries spread geographically throughout the state.  Patients are allowed to choose which dispensary they want their recommendation sent.  The contact info for the dispensaries is:

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

 

What types of medical marijuana are available?

LSU’s contracted grower, Wellcana, has released the following products:

Along with the listed amounts of THC and/or CBD, the above products are full spectrum and contain other compounds that naturally occur in the Cannabis plant including Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), terpenes, and flavonoids.

Southern University has contracted with Ilera Holistic Healthcare and they have released the following products:

Many of the dispensaries also sell OTC CBD products from Ilera in tincture and topical forms.  Physician recommendations are not required to purchase the OTC CBD from the dispensary.

Future options from both companies may include edibles, gummies, pills, capsules, and inhalers.

 

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.

Can only use marijuana in the legally permitted forms

Doctors can recommend oral, oil, edible, topical, suppository, and certain forms of inhaled dosing, but patients cannot be recommended any raw or smokable forms of marijuana.

 

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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana

MarijuanaClinicLa.com