Medical Marijuana and Massage Therapy…Are We Ready?

Unless you have been hiding in a mine shaft for the last year, you have probably heard that medical marijuana is a hot topic in Nevada.  In November 2014, Dispensary Applicants are expected to be issued their business licenses.

The AMTA-Nevada Government Relations Committee has been contacted by one of the organizations that have organized to educate and advocate the use of medical marijuana.  The Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association (http://www.lvmma.org/) has regular meetings where they discuss policy and educational talks.  At this point, you may be thinking to yourself “So what?”

Well, the “what” is this:  as a complementary and alternative wellness practitioner, you may very well be asked about the use of medical marijuana for pain and stress relief.  What do you say?  What is your personal opinion?  And, moreover: what is your professional opinion?

Apothecanna productsWhat would you say if a client asked you to use an “infused oil” on them?  Are you aware of what infused products are (their content, MSDS requirements, prescription viability)…?  Do you know the risks/benefits of using THC or marijuana for medical purposes…?  Is it in a massage therapist’s Scope of Practice to use it?

These are some of the questions the Government Relations committee has brought to your Chapter’s attention and is looking into answering from a more-informed position.

Here’s a little background information that I have found:

In short, marijuana has two primary substances in it: THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).  THC has mind-altering and anti-nausea effects, while CBD is the pain-relieving, anti-seizure substance.  Traditionally, the different strains of marijuana plants have had different mixtures of these two components.

With selective breeding and hybrids, they now have strains of marijuana with only trace amounts of THC and high amounts of CBD.  Part of the “science” of medical marijuana is finding the right strain for the client and their symptoms, then finding the correct dosage.

Correct dosing is where infused products come into play:  the THC and CBD oils are taken out of the plants, much like an essential oil would be; the oil can then be put on or in a food, or it can be placed in massage oil for topical application.  The dosages of THC and CBD can be controlled better with infused products that are ingested or absorbed rather than by smoking (inhaling) it…at least that is how some think.

The infused products have received some bad press due to their potency.  The thing to remember is, like anything, people tend to become resistant to THC or CBD over time.  So: infused products came about for two reasons, first to make something strong enough to work on the worst cancer patients, and so a person can medicate without smoking pot at work.

There are some upcoming events in Nevada that may be helpful to get more information. The LVMMA’s Medical Marijuana Oktoberfest happens on October 16th and 3rd-annual Marijuana Business Conference & Expo on November 11th at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.  We have been told that there will be massage therapists from Colorado attending.

We think the questions that are arising will be ones that will need answering in the future.  It would be wise for you to do some self-education on this hot topic as well.  We want to hear from you on this topic – please email hidden; JavaScript is required and leave your comments below: answer any of the questions above, share links to online, reputable sources to substantiate data and/or your opinion.  You can help us form an opinion as a state chapter of the AMTA on this hot topic.  Ω

submitted by: Chuck Williams, Government Relations Committee Chair – read more about the chapter’s involvement in Regulation in Nevada

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