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Monday, April 20, 2015

Medical Marijuana: More Patients, More Products, Low Profile

April 19, 2015

Susan Gilchrist once took nine different medications to ease the chronic pain and fatigue of her multiple sclerosis.
Gilchrist, 32, is now off all those drugs, finding more relief, she says, than she has in more than a decade, now that she uses just one alternative drug: medical marijuana.
"I disassembled my shower chair, my cane is in the garage and my walker is in the basement storage," Gilchrist said. "I can wake up and get out of bed. I don't have to lay there for any amount of time for pills to kick in."
Halfway through its first year, the state's medical marijuana program has about 3,600 registered Connecticut residents, more than doubling from last fall — but still far below 20,000, by one manufacturer's estimate, who could be served by existing medical marijuana manufacturers and dispensaries.
Manufacturers are shipping a growing number of products to dispensaries. The list started with what could be smoked but has expanded into oils for vaporizers, tinctures, strips that dissolve under the tongue and "edibles" such as cookies and cupcakes.
The state may add more conditions that can be treated by medical marijuana, and it already has eased its restrictions on raw buds. Buds up to the size of a dime can now be sold, a change in the initial requirement that they be ground up to ensure consistency.
The program still remains relatively low-profile, however. Doctors generally remain hesitant to recommend treatment to patients without more research.
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