Pa. Approves Sale of Dry Medical Marijuana, Use of Cannabis to Treat Opioid Withdrawal

Here’s what the means for the state’s medicinal cannabis industry.

dried marijuana

Image via Pixabay.

Those who are registered for the state’s medical marijuana program will soon find a new product on the market: dry leaf and flower.

The state greenlighted the sale on Monday, with approval from Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine. Levine also formally adopted recommendations to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat opioid withdrawal, as well as to expand the program’s list of qualifying medical conditions.

Smoking marijuana is technically still illegal in Pennsylvania. Patients are instead encouraged to use vaporizers (specialized electronic devices) to inhale the product.

Dry leaf medical marijuana is expected to become available sometime this summer. The move will likely make medicinal cannabis more available and affordable in Pennsylvania. Dry leaf is not as costly to produce, as it doesn’t need to be processed (unlike oils or extracts).

Since medical marijuana became available in February, supply has been low and demand has soared through the roof. Many dispensaries have run out of some products at some point since opening.

In a statement, Gov. Tom Wolf thanked Levine and the state Department of Health for approving the changes.

“Allowing dry leaf for vaporization will shorten the time it takes to get medication to dispensaries, expand options for the growing number of patients, and hopefully make the program less cost-prohibitive for some patients,” Wolf said.

Pennsylvania is now the second state to allow the use of medical marijuana to aid opioid withdrawal, after New Jersey, which approved the treatment last month.

The state also added several qualifying conditions to the program: terminal illness, neurodegenerative diseases, and dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders.