Written by Rita Thompson
A Skeptical Eye
Florida House leaders have viewed medical cannabis with a skeptical eye since the approval of low-THC cannabis treatment in 2014. Currently, smokable cannabis in the state’s medical treatment centers can have THC potency as high as 30%. Now, however, regulators are proposing more limits on THC content.
Veterans, however, are pushing back. Many warn that the limitation is not based on science, and could be harmful to those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
How Cannabis Helps Veterans
For years, veterans have had immense success in using cannabis to treat various forms of PTSD. Orland Weekly reports that the State Board of Medicine found PTSD to account for nearly 26% of last year’s patient certifications.
Michael Handley, a former soldier, explained to ABC News how cannabis has helped him not only with his PTSD, but with his opioid addiction. “Some of the meds I’d take I would take at night time, and I wouldn’t wake up until after lunchtime the next day. I was becoming, in a sense, addicted to these opiates and abusing them.”
House Speaker, Jose Olivia, R-FL, is behind the proposed 10% cap on THC. But, senate leaders are still skeptical of the necessity for such a limit.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-FL, Iraq veteran from St. Petersburg, said that further limiting THC limits could negatively impact veterans who are already struggling. “Limiting THC would reduce the amount of medical effectiveness of cannabis and would cause many veterans to rely on unsafe, untested options, including moving to the illicit market to manage their needs,” Brandes told 12 News.
Kirk O’Connell, a Tampa physician and member of the Veterans Cannabis Project, also spoke against the limit, noting the amazing success that many vets have had in substituting cannabis for other addictive, traditional medications.
“None of my patients that have used any strains of flower with THC percentage above 10 have had any notable adverse reactions, only benefit,” he explained to Miami Herald.
What to Except
While the Legislative session ends on March 13th, no bills have been proposed to the House and Senate. However, we won’t be surprised if the issue is brought to the spotlight in a last minute effort.