Medical marijuana legalization means patients can smoke right?
By Sabby Jane
The short answer is no, you can’t smoke weed in PA. The good news is, registered patients may vape medical marijuana. When the State approved Dry Leaf (what many call flower) sales to begin in August it was with the restriction that it only be vaporized. While some may find this restrictive, there are some benefits with vaporizing medical marijuana compared to smoking.
A recent article on Leafly, Which is More Potent, Vaping Cannabis or Smoking a Joint?, presents recent research on the question. The conclusion, yes vaping dry leaf seems to have greater effects than smoking. While the studies on marijuana use are limited and more research is needed to keep the industry growing, Pennsylvania medical marijuana patients benefit from this rule in two major ways.
First, those regulating medical marijuana are listening and responding to the needs of patients. Dry Leaf was not originally an approved form of MMJ when the program first launched in PA. Submissions for approval were carefully considered and in turn dispensaries are now able to provide this traditional form of medical marijuana to patients whose doctors have recommended vaporization/nebulization as a form of administration. As a result, patients and those in the industry have hope that regulations will continue to evolve with the needs and desires of those they impact.
Secondly, vaporizing dry leaf may be more economical than smoking. The article points out that lower doses of dry leaf brought about greater effects than smoking the same amount, which means patients who vaporize as instructed may find relief from using less than if they smoked. Researchers also note that the strain used in the study had 13% THC, which is relatively low. In the current PA medical marijuana market dry leaf is often priced based on potency, therefore patients may be able to save money while still finding symptom relief by buying less expensive, lower THC strains.
As studies like these continue, we can look forward to better dosing guidelines and improvements to devices. In the meantime, utilize the resources of your local dispensary – the medical professionals and patient consultants – to ask questions, discuss your needs, and find products to match your budget. And don’t risk your MMJ Card, please don’t smoke pot!