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First smokable medical marijuana sold in Shreveport

By Gerry May

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    SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTBS) — For the first time, medical marijuana patients can light up in Louisiana.

People lined up before Shreveport’s licensed dispensary, Hope Pharmacy, opened Monday morning. And people kept flowing in, keeping staff busy.

“I’m grateful. I honestly never thought I would see it in my lifetime,” said the first customer, who wished not to be identified. “We all know that Louisiana is very strict on drugs and narcotics. And I’m just glad to see that they’ve become more open minded.”

The pharmacy’s owner, Doug Boudreaux, says he and his wife — a partner in the business — got 150 prescriptions ready ahead of time on Sunday to get a jump on the rush.

Boudreaux says smokable marijuana delivers relief for patients in mere minutes — much faster than other forms that were already available, such as gummies and tinctures. He says the smokable flower form of medical marijuana costs less than other forms, and can also be used for baking edibles.

“The difference is that the tincture lasts six hours and the smokable form might be two to three hours. So they can take a tincture or gummy to last six hours, and if they have a breakthrough pain or breakthrough anxiety they can do a vape or smoke,” Boudreaux explained.

He says levels of THC — the chemical in marijuana that gets people high — is tightly regulated by the state for medicinal use.

“We’re trying to manage the patients to keep them within a therapeutic window. A lot of the patients that we see want to continue to have a normal life and work and thrive in society. So we want to maintain this level of no pain, no anxiety, without being impaired,” Boudreaux said.

“I think it should be regulated like it is,” he continued. “We’re pharmacists educating patients on how serious this medication is. It’s very strong. I don’t think that recreational is the way to go because of the potency of this medication. So I think the state of Louisiana’s doing it right.”

For the last two years, patients across Louisiana who suffer from various chronic illnesses, like anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, and other debilitating conditions have been able to get recommendations from licensed doctors for medical marijuana.

The customer we talked to said, “It’s going to help me with my neurofibromatosis, (which) causes tumors to grow on my peripheral nerves. They’re usually benign tumors, but I have them throughout my body. As well as insomnia and anxiety.”

Boudreaux says medical marijuana can eliminate the need for multiple medications without the bad side effects that many drugs have.

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