Everything You Need to Know About Current Cannabis Laws and Challenges

Regulatory and legislative disparities with cannabis present challenges to P&T committees and health care providers

In summary

An article has recently been published that gives a summary of current federal and state cannabis laws and highlights the arising regulatory and legislative challenges. Cannabis is still considered a Schedule I drug at the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act but the FDA approval of Edioplex, a cannabidiol (CBD)-based epilepsy medication, has caused CBD to be ruled as a Schedule V drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency. The piece explains the implications of CBD approval, including the Farm Bill passed in 2018 and discusses the intricacies of maneuvering between federal and state drug regulations. Current laws, even at the federal level, show a shift towards the approval of cannabis products but there is still a long way to go. 

The article also highlights and attempts to explain the difficulties that physicians, budtenders,  and pharmacists in prescribing, licensing, and providing cannabis. Some states, not including Massachusetts, require that pharmacists provide cannabis so that they can properly advise patients about the risks and benefits of cannabis use. Massachusetts (MA), like many other states who have legalized medical cannabis, do not require budtenders at dispensaries to possess any prior medical knowledge, meaning that their advice on which strain or product a patient should try can be extremely under-informed and subjective. Patients in states like MA should take care to speak with their licensing physician or nurse practitioner about which cannabinoids or products would likely be best for them.

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