EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. People hoping to use medical marijuana in Arkansas are now applying for their ID cards and waiting to receive them. But they first have to find a doctor willing to vouch for them.
Legal access to medical marijuana in Arkansas is still months away. Dispensaries are expected to open up around the end of the year, and patients like 80 year old Trella Laughlin are waiting.
“I don’t know if it will cure the neuropathy,” Laughlin says. She says just walking now causes her serious pain. “Well, it’s a cross between heavy bruising and fire ants. It’s very painful,” says Laughlin.
Peripheral neuropathy is one of the 18 conditions for which medical marijuana is allowed in Arkansas’ voter approved constitutional amendment.
Dr. John House, a family practitioner at Eureka Springs Family Clinic says, “As a physician, I’ve admitted hundreds of people to the hospital for drug related problems, alcohol related problems, tobacco related problems, and alcohol and tobacco of course, legal. Opioids are legal. And then the one thing I’ve never admitted anybody to the hospital for is a marijuana issue, never.”
Dr. House says he’s long been an advocate for medical marijuana and believes it will help many of his patients. “I know there’s going to be a lot of demand for it, probably a lot more than people realize,” House says.
Dr House says he’s provided about 25 of his patients with letters, certifying they have one of the qualifying conditions, but it’s not a prescription like other drugs. He says once they have an ID card from the state, it will be up to the patients themselves to figure out exactly what works best for them – smoking, topical, edible, etc. – how often and how much.
House says, “It’s