Forms of Cannabis Likely Available at Dispensaries When Medical Marijuana is Legal in South Carolina
What Forms of Medical Marijuana are Likely to be Legal in South Carolina?
One of the questions we hear most often (other than “When will I be able to get a South Carolina Marijuana Card?) is “What kinds of products will be available in dispensaries once we actually have a medical marijuana law here?”
And while there is no way for us to answer that question with certainty, we can make some pretty good guesses based on the content of SB 150, the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act.
While SB 150 failed to pass in 2021, it came closer to passing than any other medical marijuana legislation has in South Carolina, and it isn’t dead yet. It seems likely then that whatever medical marijuana bill does make it into the law books, it will at least bear a resemblance to SB 150.
And that’s good news, because SB 150 specifically lists some popular forms of medical marijuana as acceptable under the law, and is worded in such a way as to allow for the possibility of more forms to be added.
So as you read about the kinds of medical marijuana you’re likely to have access to under South Carolina’s future law, keep in mind that it’s easier to expand a cannabis program than it is to create one. For example, in 2021 both Texas and Minnesota expanded their programs, adding more permissible forms of medical marijuana.
So whatever kind of medical marijuana law ends up being passed in South Carolina, it will probably end up being expanded as patient participation grows and more people in the Magnolia State become familiar with the safe, natural relief of cannabis and less inclined to believe the myths and stigmas surrounding this much maligned medicine.
Thank You for Not Smoking: SB 150 Would Prohibit Smoking Medical Marijuana
Many patients will no doubt be disappointed if SB 150 passes in its current form, because it explicitly bans a method of dosing medical marijuana that has been popular for thousands of years: smoking.
And it isn’t just tradition that would make the ability to smoke medical marijuana appealing to some patients. First, smoking delivers effects more quickly than some other popular methods, such as edibles or pills.
Second, and certainly more important to some patients, is the cost. Medical marijuana in its raw flower form is the cheapest form of the medication, because it hasn’t been processed, so there is no need for producers to recoup extra processing costs. And that lowered cost can be beneficial to an entire medical marijuana market, not just to those patients who prefer smoking.
For example, participation in the medical marijuana market in Minnesota is expected to quadruple thanks to the recent addition of cannabis flower. That’s big news, considering that Minnesota’s medical marijuana market has struggled to grow due largely to high prices. Furthermore, as participation increases, costs in general are likely to decline.
Topical Applications are a Topical Topic: Taking Your Medicine Through Your Skin
SB 150 specifically recognizes “cannabis products for topical administration, including, but not limited to, patches for transdermal administration or lotions, creams, or ointments.” And these methods of dosing offer some real advantages, especially for specific patients.
First, applying your medication topically is easier on your lungs and stomach than some other delivery methods. And for some patients, there is the added benefit of being able to medicate for targeted relief. Cancer patients can apply lotions or ointments to their hands and feet to reduce the tingling caused by radiation treatments, and M.S. patients can similarly directly treat those parts of their body that may often ache as a symptom of their condition.
Open Up and Say “Ah”: Dosing Medical Marijuana Orally
SB 150 would also allow patients to use medical marijuana in oral forms, “including but not limited to, oils, tinctures, capsules, or edible forms.”
These methods (other than tinctures) can be harder on your stomach than some other options, but they also allow for a number of advantages. First, these methods make precise dosing easier, or at least they do after a little practice.
As Dr. Andrew Talbott, a medical advisor to the Utah-based medical marijuana advocacy group TRUCE, explains, orally ingesting cannabis delays its effects. Inexperienced patients may therefore take a dose of medication and believe it isn’t working, when in fact it isn’t working yet. Those patients may then consume additional doses before the first one has taken effect, and become overmedicated as a result.
Another advantage of orally administered medical marijuana is that the effects are relatively quick, meaning patients get relief sooner than they would with other forms of medication. And of course oral medical marijuana is easier on the lungs than either smoking or vaping.
Tinctures: The Other Form of Edible Medical Marijuana
You’re probably familiar with medicating via capsules, and I’m sure you’ve eaten food, so you get the idea of edibles. But tinctures might need a bit of explanation.
Tinctures are “concentrated herbal extracts made by soaking the bark, berries, leaves (dried or fresh), or roots from one or more plants in alcohol or vinegar.” Tinctures can also be formulated with an oil base rather than alcohol or vinegar. Regardless, the base pulls the active ingredients from the plant parts, and concentes them as a liquid.
Tinctures are often (and traditionally were always) alcohol based, and if raw cannabis flower were legal in South Carolina, you could easily make your own. Just soak marijuana in high-proof alcohol, straining out the residual solid plant parts, and voila, homemade medicine.
Tinctures can be taken sublingually, by placing the medicine under your tongue, holding it there for about a minute, then swallowing. Tinctures may also be taken by swallowing them with some food or drink. The active ingredients in the tincture will absorb directly into your bloodstream, taking effect within about 20 minutes or less.
Tinctures are often a favorite form of medical marijuana among doctors, because like other oral applications they are long-lasting and easy on the lungs. Furthermore, because tinctures aren’t absorbed through the digestive tract, unless you take them with food or water instead of under the tongue, they can be easier on patients’ stomachs than some other oral options.
Finally, tincture formulations often emphasize CBD content, meaning they provide medicinal value and relief while having milder side effects than some other forms of medical marijuana.
Vaping: Smoking’s Safer Cousin
While raw flower is out (for now) under SB 150, the bill would allow “cannabis products that consist of oils for vaporization.”
That negates some of the cost savings of purchasing and smoking or vaping raw flower, but the inclusion of oils for vaping offers its own advantages.
First, while vaporizers aren’t completely odorless, they do minimize the smell of your medicine a bit when compared to smoking it. Vaporizing also gets the same effects with less medicine, meaning the upfront cost of buying a vaporizer can easily be offset by stretching your supply of medical marijuana.
Another advantage of vaping is that dosing is more consistent than smoking, with each “hit” from a vaporizer offering roughly the same amount of medicine, whereas smoking “hits” are more inconsistent.
But perhaps the biggest advantage of vaping over smoking is that vaping is believed to be easier on the lungs and to involve the ingestion of fewer unwanted elements of your medicine. In other words, more medicine and less filler.
As VeryWellHealth explains, smoking either tobacco or marijuana can cause you to inhale small, hot solids that can irritate the lungs. Burning leaves also causes chemical reactions that can result in inhaling toxic, cancer-linked compounds.
But vaporizers heat up substances until they create an aerosol, but they do not actually cause the substances to combust. So when you vaporize an oil containing medical marijuana, the result is an aerosol that is easier on the lungs than smoking and that is more medicine and less tar and carcinogens.
You Have to Wait to Get Medical Marijuana in South Carolina, but You Don’t Have to Wait to Get Started
While we have to wait for South Carolina to pass a medical marijuana law before we can access the safe, natural relief of cannabis, you can start getting ready for that day right now!
Reserve an evaluation online today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as South Carolina’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll use your smartphone or computer to meet with your doctor virtually in a telemedicine session. You’ll discuss your conditions and learn if you qualify for a South Carolina Marijuana Card, all without even leaving your home. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
South Carolina Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6670, or simply reserve an appointment to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out South Carolina Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!