Low THC Oil – FAQ for Doctors
What Doctors Need to Know about Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Law
What does the law do?
Georgia’s medical marijuana law allows certain qualified persons to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil,” which is derived from the marijuana plant. It authorizes the Georgia Department of Public Health to issue a “Low THC Oil Registry Card” to qualified persons, which will prove that they are authorized to have the oil and protect them from arrest.
Who is eligible for the “Low THC Oil Registry Card”?
There are three categories of persons who may apply for the card:
- an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;
- legal guardians of an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;
- parents or legal guardians of a minor child who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law.
What conditions or diseases are covered by the law?
The law lists the following conditions and diseases which qualify for the Low THC Oil Registry:
- Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
- Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries
- Multiple sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
- Crohn’s disease
- Mitochondrial disease
- Parkinson’s disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
- Sickle cell disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
- Tourette’s syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe
- Autism spectrum disorder, when (a) patient is 18 years of age or more, or (b) patient is less than 18 years of age and diagnosed with severe autism
- Epidermolysis bullosa
- Alzheimer’s disease, when such disease is severe or end stage
- AIDS when such syndrome is severe or end stage
- Peripheral neuropathy, when symptoms are severe or end stage
- Patient is in hospice program, either as inpatient or outpatient
- Intractable pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing of a trauma for a patient who is at least 18 years of age
How can I help someone obtain a Low THC Oil Registry Card?
First, you must have a doctor-patient relationship with someone that you determine to have one or more of the diseases specified in the law. Next, you will need to fill out a waiver form and certification form and have the patient, parent or legal guardian countersign. Patients or caregivers may bring you partially filled out documents or you may choose to provide them with blank forms. Keep the original waiver form for your files. Finally, you or your staff will enter the information on the certification form into the Georgia Low THC Oil Registry portal. You may choose to retain a hardcopy of the certification form if you wish, but all of the information will be maintained in the online registry and that is considered to be the official record. For more information on entering information into the portal, visit our Online Portal FAQ.
Am I required to certify an eligible patient?
No. The decision whether to certify a patient is eligible for the Low THC Oil Registry is left entirely to your judgment. The bill does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. You are merely asked to determine whether their patient meets the law’s criteria to use low THC oil.
Will I be prosecuted by Georgia or federal law enforcement for registering patients?
No. The registration process has been established by Georgia law and it does not violate any state or federal laws.
Will I lose my medical license for registering patients?
No. In fact, the Georgia Code 16-12-231 provides protection from arrest, prosecution, or disciplinary action from professional licensing boards for physicians who certify patients to the Low THC Oil Registry.
Is my registering a patient the equivalent of writing them a prescription for low THC oil?
No. The act of registering a patient is merely a certification that you have an established relationship with the patient, have examined them and determined they have one or more of the medical conditions set forth in the law. In fact, the certification form approved by the Georgia Composite Medical Board specifically states that it is not a prescription.
How does Georgia’s law compare to laws in other states which have adopted medical marijuana?
Georgia’s law is much more limited than some other states’ medical marijuana laws. For example, it does not legalize the sale or possession of marijuana in leaf form and it does not authorize the production or sale of food products infused with low THC oil or the ingestion of low THC oil through vapor. It does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. It is intended solely to protect qualified persons from criminal prosecution for possessing low THC oil for medicinal purposes.
How does a patient get low THC oil?
Under House Bill 324, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, which is administratively assigned to the Secretary of State’s Office, will oversee the growing, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health does not prescribe or dispense low THC oil.