What is Act 16 and what does it mean for the people of PA?
Act 16 was passed in order to allow the patients who qualify under specific conditions to obtain medical marijuana. In the state of Pennsylvania medical marijuana can only be obtained in specific forms. The forms of medicinal cannabis that are able to be provided to patients include oil, pill, topicals, liquid and tinctures. Cannabis may also be provided in a form that is safe for vaporization but not including whole plant forms.
For clarification purposes most oils are concentrated forms of cannabis. These extracts can be vaporized at high temperatures delivering a clean and almost immediate application of the medical effects of both THC and CBD. THC and CBD are cannabinoids that have positive medical attributes.
Why will there be no cannabis in flower form?
It seems that this program strays away from the whole plant form of cannabis for two reasons. One reason being the fact that smoking involves the burning of the plant matter to intake the cannabinoids. Burning the plant matter causes carcinogens which are directly inhaled into the lungs. In simpler terms, the act of smoking is unhealthy and is seen as counter productive in the treatment process. Reason two is the belief that cannabis is susceptible to mold and mildew problems. Growers who do not take care of their grow rooms and properly monitor the important factors of the grow room environment such as humidity, temperature, consistent as well as equal air flow and overall cleanliness can experience mold issues. As a result mold can then grow on the cannabis which is harmful to humans if ingested in any form. If mold is introduced to the lungs patients are at risk of serious illness and compromised immune systems.
Will there ever be flower available to patients in Pennsylvania?
It is possible that we will see flower available to patients in a few years. Once testing facilities are established across the state there is a possibility that testing each batch of the flower before making it available to patients will be verification of its cleanliness. Once it is verified as clean and safe for consumption it may change the minds of those who are skeptical. This is only a hope for the future not a statement of fact.
More information on Act 16 and the forms of medical cannabis that will be available to patients in Pennsylvania visit the department of health's website. There is a section dedicated to Act 16 and regulation for the start of this MMJ program.
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