Dispensaries in Iowa Want PTSD Patients to Have Access to Medical Cannabis

Will Iowa expand its medical cannabis program?
Dispensaries in Iowa Want PTSD Patients to Have Access to Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis dispensaries and patient advocates in Iowa plan to ask Iowa health officials on Friday to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and several other ailments as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabidiol program. At a meeting of the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board scheduled for Friday morning in Ankeny, Iowa, officials will hear petitions to include PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, opioid abuse disorder, and severe and chronic pain to the list of conditions that qualify a patient to use medical cannabis.

Currently in Iowa, only patients with one or more of several qualifying medical conditions and a recommendation from a physician may use medical cannabis. Only CBD oil products with no more than 3% THC including capsules, tinctures, topicals, and, as of this week vape pens, are permitted under the regulations of the state’s program.

This spring, lawmakers in Iowa passed a bipartisan bill to expand the state’s medical cannabis program, but the measure was vetoed by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who said she could not support a provision of the bill that would have increased the THC limit for permitted CBD products. A bid to override the veto by the legislature failed to gain enough support to succeed.

Stigma Against Pot Continues

Amber Points, the manager of the Have a Heart CBD Shop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, told local media that many of her customers are satisfied with the products available to them.

“There’s still a huge stigma around THC,” said Points. “They don’t want to be stoned or high. What they’re really seeing is pain relief. We see it every day. We hear their stories. They’re tired of taking pills. They’re tired of taking opioids and are looking for a more natural way to live.”

She added that she expects that patients who are looking for fast-acting relief will appreciate the new availability of CBD vape pens, which went on sale in Iowa dispensaries on Friday.

“The tincture, which is our oil, can take 15-30 minutes versus your capsule. The vape is within seconds. It’s instant pain relief,” said Points.

But not everyone is happy with the new option for medical cannabis patients. Lorelle Mueting of Heartland Family Services believes the vape pens are too much like tobacco vaporizer products.

“They look like a vaping device that someone would use to vape nicotine,” Meuting said. “As we have seen all over the news and in our own communities – vaping is at epidemic proportions in our youth…This doesn’t mean we are against people finding relief from their symptoms – we are against the products coming in packaging that looks “normal” and appeals to youth.”

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