Updated on February 2, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Many states that don’t have medical marijuana programs have CBD programs instead. These initiatives let patients use medicine created with cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana. Its lack of psychoactive effects makes it more appealing to cannabis-negative lawmakers. Virginia has a relatively progressive CBD-only program compared to other states.
Virginia first allowed CBD medicine in 2015 with the signing of House Bill 1445. Patients with certain forms of epilepsy could use a doctor’s note as an affirmative defense against prosecution. Approved CBD medications could include THCA, a lesser-known cannabinoid. These initial rules protected patients from prosecution, but not arrest. They also neglected to create a way for patients to obtain their medication in-state legally.
In the following years, Virginia expanded its CBD laws for better access. Originally, patients could only access it if they had seizure disorders and received recommendations from epilepsy specialists. State bills passed in 2016 and 2017 created a licensing process for processors and distributors.
In 2018, Virginia made a very promising change — they allowed patients to consult any kind of doctor about CBD and let doctors use their judgment when recommending. Patients can now get CBD treatment for any condition approved by a physician.
Doctors have a higher chance of recommending conditions with plenty of evidence backing up their effectiveness. Try talking to an authorized physician about using CBD for your:
We don’t have as much research about THCA as we do CBD. But, evidence suggests it could reduce inflammation, relieve nausea and protect the nervous system.
Any licensed doctor can recommend CBD, but under a few conditions. According to SB 1251, a doctor must register with the Board of Medicine to provide a recommendation. The responsibility lies with the patient if they have medicine not recommended by a registered physician. Make sure your doctor signs up before you get medication.
Once you have a registered doctor, you can ask them for a recommendation. They must fill out the form issued by the state. Any other paper — even when signed — does not count as a recommendation. Once you have the right document, you can use it to sign up for the patient registry.
Virginia’s CBD program offers a freedom that most medical marijuana programs don’t even have — it gives registered doctors the ability to qualify any condition. If Virginia gets a full-fledged medicinal cannabis program, this could mean greater access for patients in the future. Sign up for our newsletter, so you’ll know when that happens.