Low-THC Facts and Must Knows
Patients receiving their medicine under Florida's Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act are restricted to "low THC" cannabis unless they have been diagnosed as having no more than a year to live. So what is "low THC" cannabis, and how does it differ from the regular stuff?
To put it as simply as possible, THC is the main compound in cannabis responsible for the feeling of being "high." It is the primary and strongest psychoactive compound in cannabis, and the reason why taking very large doses can produce mental effects that are similar to psychedelic drugs (like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD).
The state put the THC restriction in place specifically to discourage the use of medical marijuana in a recreational way. However, we believe this move was very misguided. THC doesn't just get you high. It's also responsible for some of the medical benefits, and taking it out greatly limits the useful applications of medical marijuana.
Why THC Is Important
THC is a cannabinoid. Cannabis is actually made up of over 100 different cannabinoids, the effects of which science still doesn't fully understand.
Even though medical study of all the different cannabinoids is far from complete, we do know that each cannabinoid can be good for certain conditions and bad for others. For example, THC is thought to be beneficial for pain relief, insomnia, appetite, reducing nausea, soothing conditions that cause tics and muscle spasms, and may provide a boost when paired with standard cancer treatments. Though strains high in THC are generally not recommended for psychiatric symptoms, there have been a lot of very promising anecdotal reports from those suffering from PTSD.
Since medical science is so restricted in access and the ability to properly study medical cannabis, the approach by physicians is usually to prescribe based on existing studies and significant anecdotal evidence and see how the patient does with it. Since medical marijuana has no known lethal or toxic dose and extremely few contraindications, it is generally thought to be safe to try different strains and see if something sticks. The inability to try out strains with significant amounts of THC really hinders this process, however. Patients are for the most part stuck with high CBD strains, which are beneficial for some conditions but not so much for others.
That isn't to say that low THC medical cannabis is useless. There are conditions that other cannabinoids are better suited to treating, and it's great for those who want the medicinal value without the psychoactive high. The problem is, there are more conditions thought to be treated by THC than not, taking a lot of useful application off the table when it is removed.
I Want THC But Am Under The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act -- Can I Switch To Amendment 2?
Right now, we don't have final details, but we presume that it will be no problem to change your coverage once Amendment 2 fully goes into effect.
The key development we're waiting on is for the state Department of Health to finalize its regulations. They are required to do that within six months. Afterwards, assuming nothing drastic changes, it should be fairly easy for existing Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act patients to get their cards under the Amendment 2 system. This gives you access to cannabis with THC. Amendment 2 covers all the conditions listed in the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act and also adds a number of new ones.