Georgia lawmakers approve bill to open 30 medical cannabis oil dispensaries

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Georgia legislators just passed a measure – Senate Bill 195  – that could establish as many as 30 statewide medical cannabis oil dispensaries. However, Republican Governor Brian Kemp must approve the law before it can be effectuated.

SB 195 sailed through Georgia’s Senate with a vote of 43-9, before picking up enough steam to fly through the House by 164-2. Luckily, the votes were cast before lawmakers adjourned at the end of March.

Despite a slow launch, limited medical cannabis was approved in Georgia back in 2019. Under the state’s existing program, just six producers can create cannabis oil with no more than five percent of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

Medical cannabis oil dispensaries in Georgia: About SB 195

In the event that SB 195 is approved by the governor, the legislation would permit six of the state’s existing cannabis oil producers to be awarded the five available dispensing licenses. Once this happens, the total number of medical cannabis oil dispensaries in Georgia would amount to 30.

As many as 70 hopeful applicants are eagerly waiting to find out if they have been selected as a license recipient. By “late spring and early summer,” the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission has announced that it will release fresh updates about the program.

Based on details of the legislation, a limit would be imposed on the number of allowed dispensaries; something that has never been suggested before. 

Furthermore, the bill to expand the number of medical cannabis oil dispensaries in Georgia would make it easier for the state’s 15,000-and-counting registered patients to purchase their medicine in oil form state law has allowed oil consumption since 2015, despite outlawing purchases.

Gov. Brian Kemp must now veto or sign SB 195 into effect.

Dentists in Georgia recently found a new use for medical cannabis 

Another subject that’s cropped up in Georgia’s cannabis industry news as of late spotlights a lab experiment in which CBD is shown to minimize dental plaque and enhance cognition in patients with early onset Alzheimer’s. Promising findings like these are encouraging more residents to use the plant.

Reported by the Dental College of Georgia, the experiment saw study subjects receive a two-week course of potent CBD doses to restore the function of two proteins responsible for minimizing the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque. Beta-amyloid is a type of plaque renowned for its connection with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Additionally, the researchers found out that high doses of CBD can improve overall cognition in a fact-finding model of early onset familial Alzheimer’s – a type of Alzheimer’s that is proven to be genetically carried – experimental report.

The proteins, TREM2 and IL-33, are vital for the brain’s immune cells to eat dead cells. Additionally, beta-amyloid plaque and other types of debris are consumed by these proteins, which tend to proliferate much less in patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

For the first time ever, researchers are claiming that CBD is capable of normalizing protein levels and their overall function. Consequently, CBD demonstrated its ability to amplify cognition in excess of seven-fold by slashing levels of the immune protein IL-6 in rodent models. IL-6 is heavily linked to rates of high inflammation in Alzheimer’s.

These findings were confirmed by the study’s corresponding author, Dr. Babak Baban, who is also an immunologist and associate dean for research in the Dental College of Georgia.