The THC limitation means prescribers may have to put more carrier oil into the therapeutic or require the patient to take multiple doses a day to reach the prescribed amount. She would like to see the THC cap moved to allow between 1% and 5%.
“It’s about the delivery; it’s not about prescribing more daily THC to patients,” she said. “Because the whole system is designed to be monitored and supervised by a prescriber, we know what we’re prescribing to patients, and we’re very cognizant of the limitations of how much THC people should be taking and avoiding intoxication.”
Jayne Reuben, instructional assistant professor in the Texas A&M College of Dentistry, said in an email interview that medical marijuana typically refers to medication that includes THC, noting chronic administration of THC-based products has the potential to lead to cannabis-use disorder.
Keough acknowledged THC does have abuse potential, but said overdoses are less likely in cases where CBD and THC are used in treatment, and fatal overdoses, such as those seen with opiates, are “essentially unheard of.”
Prescription drugs are required to undergo FDA-regulated trials and standardization to ensure the prescribed product is the same each time it is administered, Reuben said, noting supplements do not have those same requirements.
“On a federal level, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance despite the approval of its use in several states,” she said. “Until there is some resolution about the legal status of marijuana, we’re going to continue seeing all these pop-up shops that promote CBD supplements because it is distinct from THC. There is no regulation of these vendors who peddle the supplements. Some sincerely want to help people, but others prey on people’s desire to treat conditions that disrupt their lives like chronic insomnia or pain. With these pop-up shops, there is no guarantee that the product will work or be safe.”