Welcome to our Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 100-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is my doctor’s recommendation letter from California, allowing me to buy medical pot also good in Colorado? –Deadwood Dankster
Hey, Deadwood Dankster!
Nope, a California doctor recommendation isn’t valid to buy medical marijuana at centers in Colorado. To purchase from a medical marijuana center here, you have to be a Colorado resident, have a qualifying medical condition, be examined by a Colorado doctor and fill out all necessary paperwork to receive a registry card from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Essentially, California and Colorado are not reciprocity states. Reciprocity is the term when a medical marijuana state legally recognizes the rights of a medical marijuana patient from another state. According to Marijuana Policy Project, seven states — Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — have reciprocity clauses in their state’s medical marijuana law.
Updated Nov. 20: Learn more about Nevada’s reciprocity policy, the most liberal in the United States. (Get the full story.)
Even with the legal patient acknowledgments, Arizona, Delaware and New Hampshire medical laws don’t allow out-of-state patients to purchase from dispensaries. So, be prepared if you visit a reciprocity state and research how the state law impacts you before you go. XO
My grown son has epilepsy. He wants to know, what form does medicinal cannabis come in? Is it an oil mixed with hemp oil? How exactly does it affect your brain? Is the same formula of cannabis and hemp oil used for other disorders? –Puzzled Parent
Medical marijuana is being used to treat epileptic seizures. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the medical-breakthrough news stories. To get your questions answered, I spoke with Cristi Bundukamara, a psychiatric nurse practitioner who holds a doctorate in education and is the Medical and Research Director for Realm of Caring, the Colorado-based organization growing the marijuana strain Charlotte’s Web for medical marijuana patients.
Bundukamara says Charlotte’s Web is an oil that is administered sublingually (under the tongue). To make the oil, the mature plant is processed, concentrated and then combined with a carrier oil.
The marijuana plant is composed of several different compounds known as cannabinoids. For this discussion, the two cannabinoids of import are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has psychoactive effects, and cannabidiol (CBD), which is non-psychoactive.
Different formulas are used for different medical conditions. According to Bundukamara, formulas high in CBD are utilized for the treatment of seizures, neurological disorders and other ailments. Formulas that are higher in THC are more helpful for treating pain and muscle spasticity, Bundukamara says. Charlotte’s Web has a 30:1 ratio of CBD to THC.
Bundukamara clarifies, the cannabis content is completely from the Charlotte’s Web strain, hemp seed oil is not added to the formula. The confusion over CBD oil and hemp oil prompted one industry group, Hemp Industries Association, to release a clarifying statement this summer calling CBD extracts misleading when marketed as hemp oil.
It’s important to take this information and discuss with your son’s health care team. Bundukamara cautions, THC-rich formulas increase the psychoactive effects in marijuana and can aggravate seizures and neurological conditions. Get the doctor and health care team involved before making medical changes. To learn more about how cannabis affects the brain, Bundukamara suggests searching Pubmed for studies. Best wishes. XO
I hear about seasonal flavors, pumpkin spice this & that. I was wondering if you guys came across pumpkin spice strain or seasonal strains? –Mota Marketer
Nope, pumpkin-flavored marijuana strains are not available in marijuana centers. Jake Browne, one of the marijuana reviewers for The Cannabist says, “I haven’t seen any herb lately that smells like pumpkin spice.” For another holiday this year (Valentine’s Day), I was looking for sales specials of purported aphrodisiac strains and came up empty-handed in my market search.
Although pumpkin strains aren’t available, infused products do have autumnal and winter-themed items or promotions. O.penVape recently had a Halloween promotion selling orange and black vape pens. In early November, Sweet Grass Kitchen delivered their first batch of holiday orders for single-serving infused mini pumpkin pies, in both medical and recreational centers. Better Baked is making infused pumpkin and sweet potato pies available at medical centers. Medically Correct, maker of the Incredibles line of products, will have a celebratory infused 2015 New Year’s Bar made with white chocolate and firecracker-like Pop Rocks candy. XO