Hospital developing protocols for medical cannabis patients

Dr. Roth says because hospital staff will not provide the cannabis, dispensing the product will be the responsibility of the patient and a designated caretaker.
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 5:27 PM CST
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - The legalization of medical cannabis in Mississippi has created a new issue for hospitals.

They’ve had to come up with a protocol for those patients who use it.

If medical cannabis patients have to go to the hospital, they have one less thing to worry about for at least one hospital system.

They can bring their marijuana with them.

“We’re going to ask them to bring it in, we’ll validate it,” said Singing River Health System chief medical officer Dr. Randy Roth. “And we’ll allow them to continue using it if it’s safe to continue using it, while they’re in the hospital.”

That validation system is nothing new.

“We encourage all of our patients to bring their medicines so we can validate them - kind of a medicine reconciliation,” he said. “We dispense 99.9% of the medicines on their list through our pharmacy.”

Right now, that doesn’t include medical cannabis.

“Recognize that we are not going to dispense it to you,” Roth said. “You can’t come in and say, ‘I’m on medical cannabis twice a day, but my supply is out.’ We’re not going to keep it in our pharmacy.”

Roth added that a dispensary in the hospital is a bridge too far for right now.

“A lot of times when you have something that is this highly regulated starting off, I’d rather kind of sit back and be in the back seat seeing how it’s handled everywhere else first.”

He said dispensing the cannabis product will be the responsibility of the patient and a designated caretaker.

No matter what, the combustible form is off the table because the campus is smoke-free.

The real test will be later.

“Once the non-combustibles are out there - the edibles are out there - we have to make sure that our process is bullet-proof in terms of allowing patients to seamlessly enter the hospital,” Roth said.

On a side note, he added that a couple of the doctors within the Singing River Health System clinics are interested in being involved in recommending appropriate medical cannabis, but it wouldn’t be their primary practice.

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