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July 9, 2015
PITTSBURGH, PA (July 7, 2015) – Campaign4Compassion (C4C) and the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society (PAMCS) are optimistic about a new medical cannabis committee, that has been created by the House of Representatives Leadership, to discuss crafting a successful medical cannabis program in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Using Senate Bill 3 as a foundation to build upon, we hope to impress upon the members of this committee, several key considerations that should be factored into a clearly defined, and well-regulated medical cannabis program. This working group consists of PA House Representatives Cox, Regan, Marsico, Delozier, Topper, Petrarca, Gainey, Daley, Schweyer, and Costa.
First, we highly recommend that the committee uses broad language for the inclusion of qualified medical conditions. Medical cannabis programs that engage in ideal patient capture rates typically have qualified conditions that include but are not limited to Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Epilepsy, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Severe Autoimmune Disorders ( Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Glaucoma, Terminal Illness, Severe neurobehavioral issues, and Chronic and Intractable Pain.
Another important aspect of a successful medical cannabis program is the oversight/board in charge of the regulation development and task force implementation of the program. This medical cannabis board should be operational within 60 days of signing into law. In the future, it will also be important for the board to have unilateral control so that amendments, changes, and appeals can be processed in a timely fashion. Ideally, this board would operate under the Department of Health and would help facilitate research and research grant studies to further the progress and body of knowledge on whole plant cannabis as medicine. It is the responsibility of Pennsylvania legislatures to empower a medical cannabis board capable of establishing comprehensive regulations that address the licensing of operations and issuance of medical cannabis access cards. This would also include regulations that touch on developing chain of custody tracking protocol and the continued inspection of facilities and also local government participation.
Lastly, we want to address the issue of delivery methods. We feel strongly that medical cannabis should be dispensed by either oral ingestion or by the inhalation as determined by a qualified medical professional. Dosing and specific treatment plans should be left up to the individual treating physician to prescribe as they believe is medically indicated.
Oral ingestion of concentrated cannabis oils and/or tinctures – ingesting cannabis oils/tinctures is good when inhalation is not desired. It is also longer acting (10-12 hours) so it is preferable for disorders that need a steady stream of cannabinoid therapy such as epilepsy, autoimmune disorders and targeted cancer therapy.
Inhalation of cannabis through vaporization – inhalation of cannabis allows the patient to get immediate relief from certain conditions. Because inhaled cannabinoids go directly into the bloodstream, this method works best for those who need immediate relief from conditions such as nausea, acute pain, and painful spasms. This method produces effects within a couple of minutes, and it is the easiest method to titrate. Patient’s will know within seconds after each inhale if they have the right dose. The effects of inhaled cannabis produce less psychoactivity than ingested cannabis.
We strongly urge members of this medical cannabis working group to take these factors into consideration as we move closer to becoming the 25th state to legalize medical cannabis and the first state to have a comprehensive, clearly defined and well-regulated medical cannabis program.
ABOUT CAMPAIGN 4 COMPASSION
Campaign4Compassion (C4C), is a Pennsylvania based community resource with the mission to educate the public, as well as our General Assembly, concerning the positive effects of the often misunderstood realm of cannabis treatment. Ultimately, our goal is to work towards comprehensive medical cannabis legislation in the state of Pennsylvania.