The Virginia Board of Pharmacy just gave the go-ahead to five cannabis companies to cultivate, manufacture and dispense medical cannabis oil to patients with qualifying conditions. For now, there’s no word on when exactly the five state-approved “pharmaceutical processors” will be up and running, but under the terms of their approval, they must be open by the end of 2019. At some point between now and then, patients across Virginia will be able to access regulated CBD and THC-A oils in licensed dispensaries.
Only CBD and THC-A Oil?
The official language of Virginia’s medical marijuana law, passed in 2015, restricts the type of cannabis products available to patients with qualifying conditions. The law permits just two forms, CBD and THC-Aoil, and it also sets limits on the percentage of cannabinoids in them.
Those limits are less strict than they appear, however. According to NORML, each dispensed dose of oil must contain at least 5 mg of cannabidiol or 5 mg of THC-A. But they can also contain up to 10 mg of THC. Furthermore, nothing limits how many doses a patient can take.
There aren’t any limits on the delivery method or product form in which dispensaries sell CBD and THC-A oils, either Anything a pharmacy can sell, a dispensary can sell: oils, tinctures, creams, gels, capsules, tablets, sprays, lozenges, troches, patches, suppositories and even lollipops. Patients can purchase up to a 90-day supply per visit, based on the dosage recommendation of their doctor.
And thanks to legislation signed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on March 9, 2018, more patients than ever will be able to safely access medical cannabis. Prior to 2018, intractable epilepsy was the sole qualifying condition for enrollment in Virginia’s medical cannabis program. Now, doctors can recommend CBD and THC-A oil for any diagnosed condition.
Why CBD and THC-A Oil?
Both CBD and THC-A are non-psychoactive cannabinoids. But they also share a number of important medicinal and therapeutic properties. Both are anti-inflammatory, making them useful treatments for a broad range of neuropathic and musculoskeletal ailments, from lupus to arthritis. Both work as neuroprotectants, helping to slow and repair damage from neurodegenerative conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
Research into the use of CBD and other cannabinoids to treat illness in humans still has a long way to go. But preliminary results, animal studies, and the stories of countless patients attest to their immense wellness potential. For example, new studies are looking into how non-psychoactive cannabinoid acids, or cannabinoids in their “raw” form like THC-A, may be key in the prevention of chronic diseases.
The benefit of having state-approved dispensaries selling CBD and THC-A products is that, unlike commercial products available in health stores, product labeling will be accurate. Patients can also expect products sold in dispensaries to be free of contaminants regularly found in retail products.
Virginia Awards Licenses to Five out of 51 Applicants
After a private review of 51 applicants, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy settled on five. Each applicant paid a $10,000 application fee. PharmaCann, Dalitso, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical and Columbia Care will each pay an additional $60,000 permit fee and another $10,000 when it’s time to renew the license. Dalitso is the only Virginia-based company to receive a license. The five license recipients will now undergo comprehensive background checks.