Hope Pharmacy’s Doug Boudreaux Shreveport Times
Patients across the state were finally able to pick up their first dosages of marijuana based-medications on Tuesday following the delay in getting the product to pharmacy shelves earlier this year.
Some patients in northwest Louisiana have been prepared with their doctor’s recommendation for the therapeutic treatment since around last fall, when medical marijuana clinics opened in Shreveport-Bossier and began evaluations.
This delay in medication resulted in less foot traffic of patients seeking possible recommendations, according to Dr. Tharwat Ghattas. He is a co-founder of The Healing Clinics, which have locations in Shreveport, Monroe, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Houma.
But recently, and since the licensed marijuana pharmacies are open for business, they have seen more volume of patients, he said.
So, who gets medical marijuana and how do they get it?
First, in order for a physician to be able to make a recommendation for medical marijuana, they must be a part of the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners’ Medical Marijuana Program. This status can be checked by searching the board’s license verification feature on its website.
“Our job is to make sure the patient will benefit from the medicine,” Ghattas said of the doctor’s role.
He explained that, at The Healing Clinics, doctors see the patients and examine their medical records. From there, the doctor will decide if medical marijuana is a suitable treatment option for them.
Patients who were previously diagnosed with cancer, have a positive status for HIV, AIDS, Glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s as well as several other select conditions may qualify for medical marijuana treatment.
Medical marijuana is different from recreational or illegal marijuana because the medications’ THC and CBD levels are tailored to treat a patient’s range of symptoms they may be suffering from a specific condition, Ghattas said.
“The concentration is exactly known for each dose we use for the patients,” he told The Times.
Ghattas considers medical marijuana as an alternative to using opioids for pain management; such as if a patient is not responding well to opioid treatment, or as a means to help reduce opioid usage.
“The opioid actually changes the structure of the brain on the long run. So if you can lower the opioid you use, the much better outcome on the long run,” he said.
See where licensed marijuana pharmacies are located in Louisiana:
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