Low-THC Oil Prescriptions
Medical marijuana is not legal in the state of Georgia. However, in 2015 the Georgia legislature passed House Bill 1, also known as "Haleigh's Hope Act", that allows citizens of Georgia with certain health conditions to possess low-THC oil.
The HB1 Namesake
House Bill 1, "Haleigh's Hope Act", was named after a young girl from Georgia, Haleigh Cox.
Haleigh suffers from several medical conditions, including epilepsy and cerebral palsy, that were not responding to traditional treatments.
She and her mother moved to Colorado, where she was administered courses of THC and CBD. The effects were miraculous, however, the legal status of marijuana in Georgia prevented them from returning home to reunite their family.
Read the full story.
Who is eligible for a low THC oil registry card?
If you have one of the following conditions, you may be eligible for a low THC oil registry card:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Sickle cell disease
Autism spectrum disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In addition to qualifying medically, you must have lived within the state of Georgia for at least 1 year. Children under 1 year old qualify as long as they were born in Georgia.
How do I get a low THC oil registry card?
If it is determined that you qualify, your information will be entered into the Department of Public Healths’s Low THC Oil Registry and a card is issued. You will be notified when the cards are ready for pickup (within 15 business days) from one of several public health offices located around the state.
A low THC oil registry card allows you to carry up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil within the state of Georgia. The concentration of THC in the oil cannot be more than 5%. Also, the concentration of CBD cannot be more than the concentration of THC. The low THC oil has to be stored in a pharmaceutical container that has a label indicating the percentage of THC.
“Low THC Oil Registry” cards cost $25 – the standard fee for obtaining a vital record in Georgia. Registry cards are valid for two years from the date issued, meaning you will need to see a doctor every two years to get it renewed.
Can I get a low THC oil registry card online?
No. The law in Georgia specifically requires that a physician-patient relationship be established. This typically involves a review of the patient's medical records and a physical exam, which is best done in the office.
Is a low THC oil registration card the same as a medical marijuana prescription?
No. The law was specifically intended to prevent arrest and prosecution for possession of low THC oil only. It also shields physician from some potential liabilities where a physician may be implicated for writing a prescription. The law does not authorize possession of marijuana in any other form.
Where can I get low THC oil in Georgia? Are there any dispensaries?
As of 2022, there are no dispensaries in Georgia. However, The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission is responsible for overseeing the growing, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. The commission has not yet issued any retail licenses for dispensing low THC oil in Georgia.
My employer has a policy against marijuana use. Will low THC oil show up on a drug test?
Yes. Using low THC oil is likely to show up on a drug test.
If I test positive for marijuana, can I be fired even though I have a low THC oil registration card?
Yes. The law in Georgia actually protects employers in this regard. Your employer is not forced to provide accommodation for use of low THC oil, regardless of medical reason. The law specifically states:
"Nothing in this article shall require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana in any form, or to affect the ability of an employer to have a written zero tolerance policy prohibiting the on-duty, and off-duty, use of marijuana, or prohibiting any employee from having a detectable amount of marijuana in such employee's system while at work."
THC is one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, also known as the "marijuana plant". Cannabinoids are the active chemicals in cannabis that produce its psychoactive effect. These chemicals are responsible for producing the high feeling associated with smoking or ingesting cannabis. There are over 100 cannabinoids identified in cannabis, but only 8 of them are considered medically relevant. The eight cannabinoids thought to be medically relevant include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), delta-9-tetrahydrocannbinol (DHTCC), 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetra hydrocanabinol (11-OH-THC) and THCA.
THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the primary psychoactive chemical found in cannabis. THC is what makes people feel “high” and increases appetite.
CBD or cannabidiol is one of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in cannabis. This means CBD does not make people feel “high” and is often referred to as the “healing” component of the cannibis plant. CBD is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, analgesic, and anxiolytic properties. CBD received FDA approval as the drug Epidiolex, an oral formulation approved for certain seizure disorders.
Is there any evidence or research that supports the use of THC or CBD for some medical conditions?
Yes. However, research in the United States has been hindered by the legal status of marijuana. The U.S. government labels marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs are those that the government does not believe there is any legitimate medical application. As a result, it has been nearly impossible for physicians and scientists to conduct medical research at a significant scale on the possible benefits of marijuana or its derivatives.
Will I get addicted if I start using THC or CBD for medical reasons? I don't want to be a drug addict.
There is currently no evidence that use of THC or CBD causes a physical dependency. Like any other drug or medication, there are potential side effects. Many proponents for the medical use of THC compare the side effect profile with that of drugs used for a similar condition. For example, THC and CBD have been used to treat epilepsy. Compared to the FDA approved medications for epilepsy, the side effects associated with appropriate use of THC and CBD may be considered very mild.
Research on the medical use of THC and/or CBD
Navarro CE. Cannabis-based magistral formulation is highly effective as an adjuvant treatment in drug-resistant focal epilepsy in adult patients: an open-label prospective cohort study. Neurol Sci. 2022 Sep 21. doi: 10.1007/s10072-022-06393-1. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36129615.
Pertwee RG. Cannabis and cannabinoids: pharmacology and rationale for clinical use. Forsch Komplementarmed. 1999 Oct;6 Suppl 3:12-5. doi: 10.1159/000057150. PMID: 10575283.