LA Medical Marijuana: In Pharmacies This Week

Covington Weekly Correspondent Timothy Gates sat down with Dr. Michael Haas of Paradise Spa on Columbia to talk about Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Program. Here’s some insight, the first of a series of articles exploring the program.
Dr. Michael Haas is a family physician since 1983, also earning a B.S. In Biomedical Engineering with several medical device patents and FDA approvals to his credit. His book, “Your Body: Instructions For Use” is a common sense approach to whole-spectrum health care, and he is also a Registered Yoga Instructor.
A member of the California Medical Marijuana Program for 35 years, Dr. Haas brings his experience to the group of doctors licensed by Louisiana to prescribe marijuana to patients. Louisiana was technically one of the first states to legalize “medical marijuana” back in 1974, with a piece of legislation stating that a patient with a prescription for a medication was legally allowed to possess said substance in the state of Louisiana, even if the substance was illegal in the state of Louisiana.
The purpose of this article is to give a brief overview of a few of the provisions and availability of product. Haas stated that three mixtures will be sold: THC rich, CBD rich, and a mixture of the two. THC rich is recommended for pain, CBD rich for epilepsy/seizure treatment.
The law states that it can not be in raw form or smoked. The acceptable forms are oils, extracts, tinctures, sprays, capsules, pills, solutions, suspension, gelatin-based chewables, lotions, transdermal patches, and suppositories.
The delivery methods available to Louisiana patients include a sublingual tincture, oral gel strips, inhalers and lozenges. At this time, Louisiana is not issuing Medical Marijuana identification cards.
In Louisiana, eligible conditions include the following: cancer, positive status for HIV, AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post traumatic stress disorder, and some symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
Along with Dr. Haas, other physicians that can prescribe medical marijuana on the north shore include Dr. Jay Saux and Dr. Candace Knight. Willow Pharmacy in Madisonville is one of the nine pharmacies currently selected for dispensation, 30 day supply/ $180. Dr. Haas commented that many patients find 10 mg. Per day to be a sufficient dosage.
Since the program is in its infancy, there are many issues to be addressed, one of which being that the program is under the LA Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Haas pointed out that other programs generally use the Department of Health and Hospitals, or a similar department, due to the Medical aspect of the operation.
Next week, CW will go into further detail with an in-depth discussion of the program under the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. CW will also speak with a couple of Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana patients to get feedback on their experience with the program, and their reports on the process of obtaining their medicine.