Iowa lawmakers approve legislation to expand the state’s medical cannabis program

Although the THC cap has been removed for medical cannabis patients in Iowa, patients are restricted to a specific amount of THC that can be obtained within a 90-day period

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Iowa lawmakers approve legislation to expand the state’s medical cannabis program

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Legislation to expand the potency of medical cannabis in Iowa has been approved by House and Senate lawmakers. The legislation, named House File 732, must now be reviewed by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Iowa’s existing medical cannabis potency law restricted the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that could be sold inside licensed dispensaries to just three percent. This rule applied for THC-containing medications that also contain the non-psychoactive compound CBD (cannabidiol).

For patients who require the psychoactive cannabinoid in high doses for the treatment of insomnia, pain, and seizures, the previous THC limit meant that they could not experience adequate relief from their symptoms.

Iowa’s medical cannabis potency bill also grants physicians, caregivers, and/or registered nurses to recommend medical cannabis when they feel a patient is suitable for cannabis therapy. Suitable candidates include individuals who suffer from “severe or chronic” pain on an ongoing basis.

Although the THC cap has been removed for medical cannabis patients in Iowa, patients are restricted to a specific amount of THC that can be obtained within a 90-day period. During this period of time, medical cannabis patients cannot possess more than 25 grams of weed, but a healthcare practitioner can waiver the restrictions if necessary.

1,000 Iowans have received authorization to obtain low-THC cannabis oils

More research and studies are needed to educate the general public – and the U.S. federal government – on the cannabis plant, which could provide significantly more health benefits than dangers. Misconceptions surrounding the safety of cannabis is making life incredibly difficult for patients who are reliant on the plant after exhausting other treatment options.

The non-intoxicating cannabis compound that can also be found in hemp is commonly abbreviated as “CBD,” but its scientific name is “cannabidiol.” The cannabinoid has been scientifically proven to react with the human body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce a broad spectrum of therapeutic effects that may prove useful in treating individuals who suffer from seizures, epilepsy and neurological disorders.

It’s psychoactive cousin, THC, proves effective when used in small amounts for the treatment of various cancers and Lou Gehrig’s disease, among many other conditions.

Pro-cannabis individuals and organizations are fighting to expand access to medical cannabis as a treatment since the plant does not trigger physical withdrawal symptoms when a user stops consuming it. The same cannot be said for alcoholics and patients who rely on typical over-the-counter (OTC) prescriptions,  including medications belonging to the opioid family, such as morphine and codeine.

“It’s become this sort of wonder drug. We know it’s not true,” said the executive director of Partnership for a Healthy Iowa, Peter Komendowski, adding that the cannabis industry is taking advantage of recreational legislation for financial gain. They’re taking a basic confusion between two elements of the plant, they masquerade the addictive part and this other part that might have limited uses, and not be bad for you,” said Komendowski. “They confuse those two and create this groundswell of support. They’ve done it very effectively.”

Then again, not everybody agrees, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) previously publishing studies that suggest one in 10 cannabis users will develop an addiction to the drug. As a direct effect of quitting, withdrawal symptoms may surface, including irritability and lack of appetite.