Rolling Out

Medical marijuana in Georgia: Affordability, access and repercussions

Photo credit: Oxik /

The United States has seen a sharp increase in many states for the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use. The laws differ from state to state and this month the state of Georgia expanded its list of conditions that can be treated with what is known as low-THC oil. This product is derived from the marijuana plant and has a low potency, generally about 5%, of THC, the chemical that produces a high with marijuana use. However, these oils are generally high in the therapeutic compound CBD, which is short for cannabidiols, a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned.”

The benefit of CBD and low THC oil is the documented fact that it is all natural and has never been the source of cannabis use death. This is unlike other over-the-counter medications such as Tyler, ibuprofen, and other drugs used for pain and anti-inflammatory issues. These oils do not only treat one condition but a host of both related and unrelated conditions patient may suffer from. For example, a person may initially be suffering from chronic pain and will receive comfort from a marijuana-related product for his or her pain as well as be able to receive a restful sleep. This also extends the mental health conditions such as depression and autism. It is a documented fact that CBD oil has helped many special needs and medically fragile children who suffer from seizure disorders or other disabling condition.

However, although low-THC oil is legal in the state of Georgia for a person to possess if they have a registry card, many are not able to take advantage of medicinal marijuana products in Georgia because of cost and availability. The first obstacle potential patients face is the fact that visiting a doctor for a recommendation that medical marijuana will be of benefit to a patient can cost as much as $200. This initial office consultation in the state of Georgia is not covered by many insurance companies. The other issue is that if you are deemed eligible for a low THC registration card issued by The Georgia Department of Public Health, a patient must still find the product. Although possession within the statutes of the Georgia law may be legal, the sale and distribution of the marijuana oil are not.

Patients must either transport the marijuana oil across state lines into Georgia which is illegal under federal and state law or they must have it delivered to them by some other source. Depending on the particular strain of CBD oil or low-THC oil costs can range from under $20 for a one-month supply to as much as $300, the expense of which in Georgia is not covered by insurance.

Although marijuana and is derived products may be available more easily in other states, the price is still a factor in people getting their medication. Many marijuana dispensaries will offer the product in various forms, whether leaf, oil, or what is known as edibles. But these products are not cheap and reflect a growing demand which could be satisfied with compassionate legislation. In addition, although a person may be legally approved to use medicinal marijuana it could stop them from gaining employment. A positive drug test for marijuana in a state like Georgia is not necessarily an accommodation that employers are willing to take on for a variety of reasons. Also, many federal and state jobs are not going to be available for patients who use medicinal marijuana.

Before a potential patient decides to take the step to treat themselves with medicinal marijuana they must weigh the cost versus benefit factor in its use.

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