What Forms of Medical Marijuana Will (Probably) be Legal in Indiana?
The question we hear the most often from readers is “When will I be able to get an Indiana Marijuana Card?” But one we hear almost as often is “What forms of medical marijuana will be available in Indiana dispensaries once we do have a medical marijuana law?”
And unfortunately, that’s a really hard question to answer, as unlike some of the other fourteen states that have yet to legalize medical marijuana, Indiana hasn’t had one particular bill emerge as a frontrunner in the legislature.
In fact, in 2021 four different medical marijuana bills were introduced within the first month of the legislative session. All four were very different bills, and none of the four closed out 2021 as more likely than the others to eventually pass.
Therefore, it’s hard to predict which forms of medical marijuana will be legal here, but we’re going to give it our best shot in this article.
Raw Flower Marijuana and Most Edibles are Probably Out
Based on how long Indiana has gone without a medical marijuana law, it’s likely that whatever law we end up with will be (at least at first) fairly prohibitive.
The fact that it has taken this long to get a law on the books indicates just how deep-seated the resistance to cannabis is amongst our lawmakers, despite the fact that 73% of their constituents support medical marijuana. Legislators who will ignore the wishes of 73% of voters out of their ignorant bias towards a medicine aren’t likely to suddenly get behind a robust, permissive cannabis program.
Consequently, and based on the laws in some of the states with the most restrictive medical marijuana laws, we’re predicting that two of the most popular ways of consuming cannabis will be no-nos once Indiana’s medical marijuana program is up and running. The good news is that it’s easier to expand a program than it is to get one started, so those no-nos may become yeses eventually.
Smoking Medical Marijuana Likely to be Banned in Indiana
The most popular form of cannabis consumption for thousands of years won’t likely be legal at first in Indiana.
However, smoking marijuana isn’t just a popular choice because of tradition. It’s also the most affordable method of dosing, because raw medical marijuana flower doesn’t have to be processed in any significant way before it hits dispensary shelves.
And no processing means no costs of processing being passed onto consumers. Smoking marijuana also offers fast-acting relief, and there are many strains of flower available, to treat different conditions.
But smoking marijuana isn’t without its drawbacks, too. The odor can lead to social embarrassment, and smoking is also hard on the lungs and involves inhaling “potentially hazardous compounds.”
But, it is hard to overlook those savings. For example, participation in the medical marijuana market in Minnesota is expected to quadruple thanks to the recent addition of cannabis flower. That’s big news, considering that Minnesota’s medical marijuana market has struggled to grow due largely to high prices.
Furthermore, as participation increases, costs in general are likely to decline. Minnesota is also a reminder that some states pass overly restrictive marijuana laws, only to loosen them up once voter demand (and the lack of apocalyptic consequences from legal medical marijuana) persuade lawmakers that it’s ok to expand the treatment options.
Bottom line: Don’t expect to be allowed to smoke flower cannabis when Indiana’s medical marijuana first opens, but don’t be surprised if it ends up on the menu after all.
Don’t Expect “Fun” Edibles at Indiana Dispensaries
While it is likely Indiana’s medical marijuana market will include options for orally dosing your medicine, don’t expect the kinds of “edibles” that are often associated with recreational use, like pot brownies or cannabis-infused lollipops.
One of the great fears often cited by opponents of medical marijuana to justify their opposition is the concern that a medical market could easily morph into a recreational market. For that reason, more conservative states tend to frown upon anything that makes taking your medicine potentially fun.
For example, Alabama’s medical marijuana market, which should be operational by 2023, prohibits the sale of any “food product that has medical cannabis baked, mixed, or otherwise infused into the product, such as cookies or candies.”
Fortunately, that still allows for some means of orally dosing medical marijuana, which is good, because while those means may be less fun than taking your medicine with a mouthful of chocolate, they still offer a lot of advantages.
Oral Options for Dosing Medical Marijuana that are Likely to be Allowed in Indiana
The edible options Indiana allows will likely be, well, boring. No spoonful of sugar (or entire pot brownie) to help this medicine go down.
Just as the Hoosier State is likely to ban the kinds of edible options a conservative state like Alabama has prohibited, it’s likely that Indiana will allow a list of oral forms of medical marijuana similar to the ones Alabama allows.
Alabama’s still-unopened-medical-marijuana market will permit medical marijuana to be taken orally via a “Non-sugar coated gelatinous cube, gelatinous rectangular cuboid, or lozenge in a cube or rectangular cuboid shape.”
And while that might not sound like a lot of fun, those forms of medical marijuana would allow for other benefits. For example, edibles of all sorts make it easy to get a precise dose of your medication - easy, that is, with a little practice.
As Dr. Andrew Talbott, medical advisor to the Utah-based medical marijuana advocacy group TRUCE, explains, the effects of edibles are delayed, and new users may believe that their medication isn’t working and take an additional dose before the first one kicks in, leaving them over medicated.
Beyond easy dosing, edibles tend to offer longer lasting relief than some other forms of medical marijuana, are easy on the lungs, unlike vaping and smoking, and they enable you to dose just about anywhere. There’s no potentially embarrassing smell to worry about either.
(No Need to) Quit Rubbing it in: Topical Methods of Dosing Medical Marijuana
Another method of taking medical marijuana that’s likely to be approved in Indiana is topical lotions and creams that are rubbed into the skin. These methods offer a number of advantages. First, they are easy on the lungs and stomach.
For some patients, there is the added benefit of being able to medicate for targeted relief. Cancer patients can apply lotions or ointments to their hands and feet to reduce the tingling caused by radiation treatments, and M.S. patients can similarly directly treat those parts of their body that may often ache as a symptom of their condition.
Vaping: Safer than Smoking, and Likely to be Allowed in Indiana
While raw flower and smoking are likely to be banned under Indiana’s medical marijuana law, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to inhale your medicine.
Many of the more restrictive cannabis markets in the U.S. allow for using medical marijuana in oil form along with a vaporizer.
The need to process medical marijuana into an oil negates some of the cost savings of purchasing and smoking or vaping raw flower, but the inclusion of oils for vaping offers its own advantages.
Less odor: Vaporizers don’t completely eliminate the scent of your medicine, but they do minimize when compared to smoking. Vaporizing also produces the same effects with less medicine, so that the cost of a vaporizer is offset by stretching your supply of medicine.
More consistent dosing: Dosing is more consistent with vaporizing than smoking. Each “hit” from a vaporizer offers roughly the same amount of medicine, whereas smoking “hits” are more inconsistent.
Fast-Acting Relief: Vaporizing medical marijuana offers the same quick relief that smoking does, while also being easier on the lungs and allowing for the ingestion of fewer unwanted elements of your medicine, like those aforementioned “potentially hazardous compounds.”
Vaporizers heat up substances until they create an aerosol, but they do not actually cause the substances to combust. So when you vaporize an oil containing medical marijuana, the result is an aerosol that is easier on the lungs than smoking and that is more medicine and less tar and carcinogens.
We Have to Wait to Find Out What the Law will Allow, but You Don’t Have to Wait to Start Your Medical Marijuana Journey
There is no telling exactly what Indiana’s medical marijuana law will allow, but we can tell you how to get started finding the relief that only cannabis can provide.
Reserve an evaluation online today with one of our compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Indiana’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You and your doctor will discuss your conditions, whether you qualify for an Indiana Marijuana Card, and the forms of medical marijuana that are right for you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
We’re dedicated to helping all people safely and conveniently find relief and wellness through access to medical marijuana. By focusing on education and inclusion, we hope to reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis and those who want to use it to enhance their health.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-7755, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation today!