State Sen. Thomas Greene (R-Des Moines) is anxious to see work done on the medical cannabis front. Greene, a retired pharmacist, said medical cannabis could help approximately 30,000-35,000 Iowans.
With a state of 3.2 million Iowans, it isn’t that many. And, the treatment would only be used in cases when they’ve failed on traditional pharmaceutical methods.
“Why not try medical cannabis if you have a grandma who is suffering from bone fracture every time they cough or sneeze,” Greene said. “Or when someone has extreme nausea from chemotherapy and these traditional medicines don’t work. Why not try medical cannabis?”
Greene said there are no overdoses and there are not all the side effects that come with opioids.
“Let’s do what we can to help them,” he said.
A bill addressing the usage of medical cannabis was vetoed by Gov. Kim Reynolds over concerns with the THC levels.
“To be honest with you, I think that level was far too low,” Greene said. “They’re worried about grandma getting high.”
Depressants, Greene said, are basically sedation.
“If you can use medical cannabis and elevate some of the pain symptoms, they feel euphoria not from the THC, but from the absence of the pain,” he said. “It’s not that grandma is high, but if you take away the pain, they feel better. They have a better appetite and a better attitude. So, why not?”
Politicians will not be the ones prescribing any medical cannabis. Greene said they can set guidelines and policies, but in practice, it will be up to the true medical prescribers to set the dosage.
Reynolds was concerned about 4.5 grams of THC per 90 days, Greene said. He added, 4.5 grams is the equivalent in milligrams of nine Extra Strength Tylenol tablets — per 90 days.
“That’s one tablet every 10 days,” he said. “I think she’s really got it a little backward. Her medical advisors probably twisted her arm a little bit. You give them a range, and then you let the prescriber decide the dose, not the politicians.”
The bill passed with overwhelming margins. Greene said he’s been told by the Governor’s staff and Senate leadership that this issue is a priority of the legislature and the Governor will sign it.
“This is for those people who have not been helped by traditional medicine,” Greene said. “Let them try it. My gosh, let them try it. If it was your kid who had epileptic seizures — 30 seizures a day — you’d be willing to try anything to help that child. If it was your grandma in pain sitting in the nursing home chair, so sedated from controlling the pain she’s sitter there just waiting to die — let’s provide them some help.
“I’ve been a patient advocate for 43 years,” Greene said. “I’m still a patient advocate today. I’m not going to change.”