Florida Medical Cannabis Collective: Q1 2019 “State of the Industry” – From Our Patients

One of our primary missions here at Florida Medical Cannabis Collective is to speak out for patient rights, advocacy, and affordable prices. We spend a good deal of time reading and posting on the Florida Trees and Florida Medical Trees subreddits due to the nature of this and our other missions; we find that directly interacting with other patients is the best way to find out what’s working (and what isn’t working) in the Florida Medical Cannabis program.

I decided one of the best ways to assess the current “State of the Union” for the Florida medical cannabis industry was to ask other patients – usually the best assessment of a situation like this is to sample a large group. After giving some thought into what variables would give the best insight to how things are going, I came up with the following seven questions to poll patients who frequent the aforementioned subreddits:

1.) What is your age?

2.) What conditions are you using cannabis to treat?

3.) How long have you used cannabis to treat your conditions?

4.) What medicines, if any, has cannabis replaced for you?

5.) Which cannabis products work best for you and why?

6.) How can the program improve and help benefit you as a patient even more?

7.) What has the Florida medical cannabis program done well, in your opinion, up to this point?

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Patient #1: thisme60

1.) What is your age?

50

2.) What conditions are you using cannabis to treat?

Cancer (Multiple Myeloma) 

3.) How long have you used cannabis to treat your conditions?

9 years

4.) What medicines, if any, has cannabis replaced for you?

Alprazolam (Xanax) and Lorazepam (Ativan) for anxiety

5.) Which cannabis products work best for you and why?

Flower, shatter, and distillate (full-spectrum products)

6.) How can the program improve and help benefit you as a patient even more?

Basically in every way, to be honest. End all of the dumb regulations added by Tallahassee: Smoking ban, Vertical Integration, Dispensary caps, milligram limits, etc.

7.) What has the Florida medical cannabis program done well, in your opinion, up to this point?

Not much (see above), other than actually being implemented at all. Unless you count making a few people a boatload of money, while screwing over patients that desperately need access to affordable meds, doing well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we have access at all, but compared to other medical states I’ve visited, this is obscene what they’re doing to us.

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Patient #2: LinuxCharms

1.) What is your age?

22

2.) What conditions are you using cannabis to treat?

Side effect issues, depression, Fibromyalgia, anxiety.

3.) How long have you used cannabis to treat your conditions?

Going on nearly 6 months now.

4.) What medicines, if any, has cannabis replaced for you?

I haven’t been able to stop any of my current meds, but I have been able to cut back on my anti-anxiety drugs (Vistaril, Xanax, Valium, Kolonopin). I used to take up to three a day of both just to function; now I only need one of them at night and I couple that with my MMJ.

5.) Which cannabis products work best for you and why?

Capsules work best for me at night; I’ll typically take it before my shower so it has time to kick in and chill me out for bed. Also the RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) 1:1 caps helps a lot with pain control. I vape when my symptoms are more severe, so far I’ve tried Sunset Sherbert – which works pretty well to get me to relax and numb pain.

6.) How can the program improve and help benefit you as a patient even more?

I’d like to see prices drop, and more strains become available. I use Trulieve and they seem pretty on top of things, adding new stores and strains constantly – just their prices are insane. A typical order of two bottles of capsules + vape cartridges run around $350-$450, which is really hitting my folks in the wallet. I know people who didn’t realize how expensive getting MMJ is, and they flat could not afford the fees from the doctor, dispensary, and state.

7.) What has the Florida medical cannabis program done well, in your opinion, up to this point?

I think the system implemented runs pretty well considering voters had to strongarm Rick Scott into legalizing MMJ. I’m also happy to hear that Trulieve won their case on opening more stores, and that Ron Desantis is going to strike down the ban on smoking. Things aren’t the best yet, but things operate mostly smoothly.

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Patient #3: BlazinBubl

1.) What is your age?

25

2.) What conditions are you using cannabis to treat?

Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBS-Chron’s Disease, neuropathy.

3.) How long have you used cannabis to treat your conditions?

Side-effect management started 8 years ago, treatment started 3 years ago.

4.) What medicines, if any, has cannabis replaced for you?

Sulphasalazine, meloxicam, prednisone, naproxen, Enbrel, Humira, Soma, methotrexate, and numerous others.

5.) Which cannabis products work best for you and why?

Hashish. Highly versatile, can be smoked/vaporized to relieve immediate symptoms, can be infused into carrier oils to remain innocuous, or can be eaten in its raw or activated form to avoid fats and sugars from the edible-making process. I prefer eating cannabis as the relief lasts much longer and allows for me to ingest cannabis in its acid form as well.

6.) How can the program improve and help benefit you as a patient even more?

Less restrictions on growing a therapeutic plant. You don’t need degrees or ridiculous funding to set up a medicine garden.

7.) What has the Florida medical cannabis program done well, in your opinion, up to this point?

The only advantage the legal system currently has over the black market is verified product – that is to say that when a retailer offers say, Sour Diesel, then you can feel fairly confident that you are in fact getting Sour Diesel. Every other part of the experience is below the bar, from obtaining products to being able to rely on these products for therapeutic progression.

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Patient #4: rotalotdotcom

1.) What is your age?

59

2.) What conditions are you using cannabis to treat?

Chronic daily migraine and mystery inflammation, co-morbid depression.

3.) How long have you used cannabis to treat your conditions?

6 years – less successful with black market than with medical because mmj has been so much cleaner, no mold, dryer sheet residue etc.

4.) What medicines, if any, has cannabis replaced for you?

NSAIDs, ergotamine, beta-blockers, triptans, tricyclics, benzos, BioHRT, don’t even need aspirin anymore!

5.) Which cannabis products work best for you and why?

Flower for vaping is easiest for me to control dosage, is most pleasant experience, feels like the effects are wider ranging and lasts much longer.

6.) How can the program improve and help benefit you as a patient even more?

Offer widest variety of flower cultivars still in flower form so patients can strain cycle to avoid tolerance increase and reduced effectiveness … I get really anxious sometimes about how much trash/waste this new industry is encouraged to produce … (brainstorming here) permit patient home grows OUTDOORS if properly hidden from view and secured because indoor grow costs are prohibitive … permit legal patients to form grow collectives and barter with each other … offer or encourage low cost simple inspection/testing of flower material so patients can be sure their medicine is not contaminated–these dispensaries currently have loop holes.

7.) What has the Florida medical cannabis program done well, in your opinion, up to this point?

DOH resisted lowering the THC daily limit despite panelist Dr. Mark Moore’s misguided arguments, and followed up on patient complaints of excessive doctor fees.

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Patient #5: Ronald1s

1.) What is your age?

49

2.) What conditions are you using cannabis to treat?

Obesity, 270 pounds in 2014, 190 today. Diabetes. High blood pressure. Heart Disease (Triple bi-pass 2014). Chronic pain (Osteoarthritis in hips and knees) – I Had hip replacement 6 months ago. Depression/Anxiety.

3.) How long have you used cannabis to treat your conditions?

4 years

4.) What medicines, if any, has cannabis replaced for you?

Metformin, Januvia, Lovazza, Fenofibrate, Welbutrin, Lexapro and countless others.

5.) Which cannabis products work best for you and why?

Full spectrum oils/dabs and flower.

6.) How can the program improve and help benefit you as a patient even more?

Free the flower and stop the vertical integration requirements, as well as the dispensary caps. Patient access continues to be a huge problem. The prices for MJ medication are extremely HIGH. Many patients simply can’t afford it … including me! The lack of competition only leads to higher prices and, monopolies who offer fewer product choices.

7.) What has the Florida medical cannabis program done well, in your opinion, up to this point?

*No answer*

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Summarizing Thoughts

After hearing everyone’s success stories and thoughts about the program, it’s clear that most patients have many common concerns about our current state of affairs – and how we move forward. But perhaps the best thing I saw from the responses? The number of harmful pharmaceuticals everyone was able to drop thanks to cannabis – the magnitude of how amazing that is, is hard to put into words.

Since there were 7 questions, I will offer 7 summarizing thoughts based on the above responses and my own thoughts:

1.) There is a wide range of ages in cannabis users. We saw responses from patients anywhere from their 20s to their 70s. Cannabis is a universal medicine – though it should be noted that research shows THC can impair brain development in children and adolescents.

2.) Cannabis is great, versatile medicine. All we have to do to see the evidence of this is to see the wide variety of patients in any state’s medicinal cannabis program. We are fortunate to have a fairly liberal list of qualifying conditions in Florida, and I expect that list to expand even more until recreational cannabis is inevitably made into law.

3.) Florida’s medical marijuana program has a users with a wide variety of levels of experience; some people have been toking for decades, while others have only become acquainted with the healing herb through Florida’s registry.

4.) Cannabis saves lives. Just look at some of the medicines that Florida patients were able to either drastically reduce or completely omit from their medical regimen. Looking at some of those pharmaceuticals, like SSRI’s that can leave users with life-threatening withdrawals if abruptly stopped after prolonged use, it’s clear to see that cannabis is such a safer alternative for most all of us. It certainly won’t send you into life-threatening conditions like serotonin syndrome if you suddenly stopped using it, and as the cliche goes, there has never in recorded history been a single death attributed to marijuana alone. It’s natural; we can consume it in its raw form and experience a host of medicinal benefits. Cannabis is true medicine; it’s the medicine of the past, and it’s the medicine of the future.

5.) Patients prefer full spectrum cannabinoid products, notably shatter and flower. This makes sense: these products preserve the natural cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant; they are a more “authentic” cannabis medicine. I’ve noticed that distillates offer a different effect than flower and shatter; it’s not necessarily that “something is missing”, but the effects are definitely different from the respective flower and shatter versions. Business interests in Florida should embrace flower, shatter, crumble, sauce, and other similar full-spectrum products as the preferred methods of cannabis consumption and adjust their business models accordingly.

6.) Overwhelmingly, patients feel that the prices are much too high. Rick Scott’s hostility towards implementing medical cannabis and the tomfoolery of lawmakers in implementing the laws that govern the program have mostly contributed to this. The limits on the number of dispensaries a company can open and the limited number of licenses to do business are the main two contributing factors to blame. Hopefully, Ron Desantis keeps his word and allows the Florida cannabis market to open up this year. This would be in his best interest, and more importantly, in the best interest of the cannabis businesses – and most importantly, the patients.

7.) While acknowledging all the flaws in the program, patients are thankful that we have a legal way to acquire cannabis at all. This is definitely something we all should remember to step back and be thankful for as we fight for the program we deserve. Originally hailing from a state that is hostile to cannabis and has no medical or recreational laws at all, I surely know I am grateful for our medical program. Here’s to its full growth and improvement in 2019 – for all of us.


Be sure to join our email subscriber list and follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date with all the latest in the Florida medical cannabis industry! You can find a quick-subscribe button in the righthand column on this site. Thank you for taking the time to read; we genuinely hope you find this site beneficial to helping you as a patient.

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