General Assembly says #LetDoctorsDecide, but what do patients do?

Published: Feb. 15, 2018 at 5:42 PM EST
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A bill introduced by Del. Ben Cline in the Virginia General Assembly that would allow doctors to decide which patients should be recommended medical marijuana passed in both the House of Delegates and the Senate.

The Cannabis Commonwealth said they got word on Thursday that once the #LetDoctorsDecide bill is passed after crossing over in the legislature, it will go straight to Governor Ralph Northam to become a law. This is part of an Emergency Enactment Clause, meaning it will be a law before July 1, 2018.

So what does this mean for patients who could benefit from their doctors recommending medical cannabis oil as a treatment to their chronic illness?

Nikki Narduzzi, patient coalition director for Cannabis Commonwealth, said patients need to start talking with their providers and forming relationships with them so healthcare providers are aware of the patient's illness.

If the doctor sees that the illness and symptoms are fit for a recommendation, the patient could receive one.

Narduzzi suggested getting providers familiar with medical marijuana uses if they are unsure of the practice.

"We're excited about all these opportunities for patients to finally pursue better healthcare," Narduzzi said, "and I know that patients in general are looking for three major things."

Those three major things Narduzzi says are help with main management, reducing opioid use and a better quality of life.

Robyn Chestnut suffers from fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses, and she is looking for an option other than the opioid she is being prescribed right now. Chestnut has started to have these conversations with her doctor already.

"I'm just really interested in another option," she said, "and like I said earlier, I have talked to my provider. I have a very supportive provider."

With this bill there will be five licensed facilities in Virginia to make the oil. These facilities will grow, harvest, process, compound and dispense all in one location. They will also offer delivery for patients who can not travel to get their medicine.

Virginia will continue to be a hyper-regulated state, making sure the oil patients get is safe.