Technically speaking, low-THC cannabis is medical marijuana, but not all medical marijuana is classified as low-THC.
Let’s take a look at the differences between low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana (aka high-THC cannabis) and who can qualify for each.
Why does Florida have low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana?
The reason the State of Florida defines low-THC and medical marijuana differently is likely due to Amendment 2, which expanded medical marijuana laws and dosage restrictions. This amendment legalized medical marijuana for a broader range of debilitating or chronic conditions and also increased the percentage of the chemical compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- known for its psychoactive effects -- available in the medication.
What is low-THC cannabis?
The main distinction between low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana is the amount of THC available in this medication. Low-THC cannabis, by law, contains 0.8 percent or less THC and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol (CBD) weight for weight.
The restricted amount of THC in low-THC cannabis means that it does not deliver the same euphoric sensations as does higher THC concentrations of the medication.
If you were to compare it to dosage of a pill, it would simply mean that low-THC is a lower dosage of the drug.
"If you were to compare it to dosage of a pill, it would simply mean that low-THC is a lower dosage of the drug."
Source: Florida Department of Health
What is medical marijuana or “high-THC cannabis”?
Because low-THC cannabis is technically medical marijuana, it is important to distinguish the two in terms of the language that has been present by the State of Florida. Medical marijuana, by definition, can contain significant amounts of THC. If we were to cite the low-THC percentage given by the state, this would mean 0.9 percent or more THC in the medication.
Additional information regarding what makes up medical marijuana is also defined by the Department of Health:
Florida law defines medical marijuana as all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin, including low-THC cannabis, which are dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center for medical use by a qualified patient.
Source: Florida Department of Health
The qualifying conditions for low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana are the same
A qualified physician can recommend medical marijuana (including low-THC) for the following conditions:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above
A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification
Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition
Learn more about Florida's medical marijuana qualifying conditions.
Who decides the THC potency of my medical marijuana?
Your qualifying physician will determine the treatment plan for your medical marijuana as well as recommend an administration method. The recommended dosage should be included by the dispensary where the medication is picked up.
They are permitted to order up to three 70-day supplies of low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana for their patients.
How to get medical marijuana in Florida
If you or a loved one is interested in utilizing medical marijuana for a debilitating condition your first step is to schedule an appointment with a qualified medical marijuana physician. Use our directory for a list of medical marijuana physicians near you.