Alabama Medical Council proposes rules for doctors to treat patients with cannabis products

The State of Alabama Board of Forensic Pathologists has drafted rules to govern how physicians may recommend medical marijuana products to patients for chronic pain, depression, seizures, panic disorder and other conditions.

The board announced the rules today and will accept public comment until January 4, 2022.

The rules are based on legislation approved in May establishing a medical cannabis program in Alabama.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is in the early stages of setting up the “Seed to sale” program. Medical marijuana products are not expected to be available until 2023.

It will be an intra-state system, with products made in Alabama from cannabis grown in the state by licensed growers. Under the legislation, producers can start applying for licenses in September 2022.

The draft rules released today by the Board of Forensic Pathologists closely follow legislation on how physicians can qualify to participate in the program. The bill made Alabama the 37th state to approve medical marijuana.

Doctors may recommend cannabis products to treat:

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting, weight loss or chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy or a condition causing seizures
  • Nausea or weight loss related to HIV / AIDS
  • Panic disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Persistent nausea that does not respond significantly to traditional treatment, with the exception of pregnancy-related nausea, cannabis-induced cyclic vomiting syndrome, or cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spasticity associated with motor neuron disease, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) or spinal cord injury
  • A terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome
  • A condition causing chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opioid therapy are contraindicated or have been shown to be ineffective

To recommend cannabis products for medical purposes, physicians will need to obtain annual permits from the Council of Forensic Pathologists which will require, among other things, successful completion of a four-hour medical marijuana course and successful completion of a test. Renewal of permits will require a two-hour refresher course.

Doctors will be prohibited from receiving payments from dispensaries, referring patients to a specific dispensary, and holding a financial interest in licensees of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.

People can read more about the rules and how to submit comments on the Council of Forensic Pathologists website.


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