Understanding Medical Marijuana’s Place in the Growing Cannabis Industry

Mark Lally, CEO, First State Compassion

Even though the use of marijuana (also known as cannabis) in Western medicine dates to the mid-19th century, this natural remedy has lurked in the shadows of the underground for most of the past eight decades. In 2011, Delaware joined the now 33 states (and District of Columbia) in legalizing medical marijuana. Yet, many patients still have questions. 

Given the history of marijuana as a “street drug,” it’s important for patients considering marijuana to first understand the difference between medical and “recreational” marijuana. (Delaware decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and the state legislature is debating legalizing recreational use. You can think of this issue akin to debate over prohibition and alcohol. For this conversation, however, we’ll focus on medical marijuana.)

What do you mean by ‘medical marijuana?’

When we talk about “medical marijuana,” we’re referring to the use of marijuana or marijuana derived products for specific conditions, including chronic pain, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disease, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, ALS, pediatric autism spectrum and arthritis, or to counter the side effects of cancer treatments and other drugs. For many patients, medical marijuana can be a natural alternative to opioids, sleeping pills or other prescription drugs.  

Medical marijuana is also different from the rest of the expanding cannabis industry. The 2018

Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp (which, by legal definition, cannot contain more than .3 percent THC). Hemp is grown as a fiber, and as ingredient in everything from soap to foods and beverages. Those products, however, do not have the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. 

CBD oils, concentrated from hemp flowers, are now widely available as creams and ointments at outlets ranging from major retailers to boutiques. CBD is also showing up in foods, beverages and even gummies. CBD is one of the active ingredients in medical marijuana, but there are no standards for purity and potency in these products. (There is also some legal ambiguity about over-the-counter CBD products, especially food and beverage items.)

Not your ‘garden variety’ weed – quality and consistency are key

With relaxed regulations and changing attitudes, it’s becoming easier and easier to access marijuana and marijuana-based products. But when it comes to medical marijuana, quality and consistency are key. At FSC our medical marijuana products are raised and produced under tightly controlled conditions, so you know exactly what you’re getting – and not getting (such as residue from pesticides and other additives). 

We raise our own cannabis strains. And while those strains may have names (such as “Super Lemon Haze”) that harken back to the “Up in Smoke” era, each is bred to provide a specific therapeutic benefit and with precise percentages of key active ingredients. Medical marijuana also is significantly more potent than the “stash” of a generation ago, so we can help you select the right product, dose and delivery (smoke, vapor, edibles, etc).  

A trusted partner in the continuum of health care

As the term implies, medical marijuana is part of a continuum of health care. In Delaware, it begins with a physician who will issue you a medical marijuana card. Your doctor won’t write a prescription for marijuana, but can certify you have a qualifying medical condition. That’s where a state-licensed medical marijuana distribution center comes in, and at First State Compassion, we take very seriously our role as a trusted partner in that continuum of care. We welcome your questions. If you think medical marijuana may be right for you, talk to your doctor. The caring, knowledgeable and highly trained staff at our locations in Wilmington and Lewes has assisted thousands of Delaware medical marijuana card holders with their treatment, and thousands more seeking information. 

2 thoughts on “Understanding Medical Marijuana’s Place in the Growing Cannabis Industry

  • Would like to have a few copies of this article and some brochures on this subject for me to pass on to a few of my friends. My neighbor has recently had a lung collapse and then diagnosed with lung cancer. I’m not so sure he will live passed this year. I mentioned this to him, but he’s not sure how to go about getting a script or even one filled. Also a second friend diagnosed with cancer from his neck into his brain. Now after radiation and chemo it’s reduced in size but has spread to other parts of his body. I’ve mentioned the medical marijuana to him as well. Smoking is out of the question, but I mentioned to them that it comes in other forms to ingest. Neither of the two men have internet nor do they know how to use it. I would like to help them by getting some information for them both to read and possibly consider whether this is right for them or not . This very idea is something I wrote about along with a college mate back in 1988 English during my earlier college days in Kansas, and I am so pleased to see it come to light during my life. I’m interested myself in stock options for the medical marijuana. Any information you can give me on that is appreciated as well. Thank you.

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