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Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Tables Proposed THC Cap

Cannabis Flower on Plant
A cannabis flower approaches maturity on the plant. The white dusting on the plant are trichromes, where much of the plant's THC is stored.

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board declined to enact a proposed cap on THC in medical cannabis products. Board members say they need more information before making a decision.

THC - short for tetrahydrocannabinol - is the main psychoactive component in cannabis.

The proposal, which originated from the board’s Health and Medical Workgroup, would cap THC content in medical cannabis products in West Virginia at 10 percent.

“Medical evidence today really has only supported the possibility of using THC potencies of 10 percent or less to help with any medical condition,” said Dr. James Berry, a psychiatrist and the leader of the Health and Medical Workgroup. “And at the same time, there has been a preponderance of evidence associating higher THC content with a number of public health concerns, such as suicide, psychosis, in addition, depression, anxiety, these sorts of things.”

Public comment at Thursday’s meeting questioned why the proposed cap was necessary. Many speakers said 10 percent THC would make medical marijuana ineffective for many patients and only create more problems.

“I can tell you as a practitioner in Southern California I do see problems with cannabis,” said Dr. Cody Peterson, a pediatric pharmacist. “The most problematic products I see are from the black market and setting THC limits, especially those THC limits well below the products that are currently available on the market and people are accustomed to will create more demand, more incentive, and more profitability in the illicit market and you create more issues than you're intending to correct.”

Board member Jesse Forbes expressed the need for more information on the issue before taking it up again at a later date.

“I've got a suggestion that, with respect to recommendation number one, that the board not take action today,” Forbes said. “Ultimately, it's the legislature that would do it, but that's my suggestion is that we get some more data.”

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will meet again January 5.

North Central/Morgantown Reporter, cschulz@wvpublic.org, 304-284-1497, @SchulzReports

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