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Medical cannabis failing Delaware patients

August 31, 2020

I am fortunate to live in a state that recognizes, to a degree, the medical benefits of cannabis (marijuana).  It effectively eases my  symptoms, unlike any of the various side-effect-laden, addictive drugs prescribed for my conditions.

The program, however, is falling short of its potential.

The two Compassionate Care Centers in Sussex have severe supply problems that limit their effectiveness for patients.  They too often have none of the product that a patient relies on, be it dried cannabis flower, concentrates, or edibles.  One of the two centers rarely has THC-containing product other than on their weekly delivery day; the other is more reliable but runs out at times during the day.  The product availability within categories is inconsistent. 

Cannabis varieties are known as strains; strains differ in their cannabinoid and terpene components (it’s not all about THC) and have very different effects and efficacy.  Patients learn which strains help them - it’s a wonderful discovery! 

The problem is that the availability of the strains at the CCCs is hit or miss; we often have to experiment or settle for a suboptimal medicine.  There are also differences in product offerings across CCCs.  Patients often must visit multiple centers to obtain the products they need.  Imagine having to visit one pharmacy for antibiotics and a different one for cough medicine.

Clearly, more suppliers (growers) and expanded capacity per supplier are needed for the CCCs to maintain adequate and consistent stock. 

The state should also eliminate its requirement of vertical integration: growers and CCCs are linked and cannot do business outside this chain.  Breaking this dependency would make supply more flexible and could lower prices.

There are other needed improvements. The requirement of yearly renewal is expensive and onerous - my condition is incurable, yet I must renew yearly. The requirement of qualifying conditions is too restrictive and should be eliminated; as with other medicines, cannabis prescription should be decided by medical professionals, not the state.

Medical cannabis helps many patients relieve their conditions safely without resorting to drugs with many side effects, sometimes dependency, and less efficacy. 

Let’s make this program more effective for patients.

Mark Jacobs
Lewes
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