Patients on California Wait List for Organ Transplants Can Now Test Positive for THC

While most people are aware patients who are in need of an organ transplant are likely to have to wait on a very long wait list for donated organs. Most worry about whether they will live long enough to receive an organ, many people do not know about the additional requirements for transplant patients awaiting a new organ.

medicaldoctor.jpgIn order to provide organs in limited supply to patients who will best benefit from a transplant, there are certain requirements, including ones that patients will refrain from behaviors which put their health in jeopardy.

As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys can explain, until the passage of a recent bill, state law required California patients awaiting a transplant organ who tested positive for marijuana to be removed from the wait list, as this disqualified them from receiving a transplant. Many of these patients had no chance of survival without an organ transplant and did in fact die as a consequence of organ failure.

Specifically, the State Assembly passed a law known as the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act. Americans for Safe Access, the largest patient advocacy organization in the nation for medical marijuana users, was a lead supporter of this new piece of legislation. According to a recent news article from Main Street, spokesperson for the organization wants to makes sure they believed this was not about drug policy or legalization of marijuana in California, but rather about fundamental fairness to very ill patients in need of an organ transplant.

This is considered to be a real victory for medical marijuana patients in need of an organ transplant, because as has happened all too often in the past, transplant discrimination has cost the lives of many sick patients when their name was taken off the organ transplant list for various reasons, including a positive test for marijuana.

Doctors are realizing now more than ever, cannabis is a viable treatment option for many seriously ill patients. Not only has it been proven that cannabis is more effective at treating certain health conditions that traditional pharmaceuticals, cannabis is often safer and more easily tolerated by patients than powerful prescription drugs.

With respect to how cannabis can affect an organ transplant process specifically, researchers are not aware any cases in which marijuana use interferes with the surgery or recovery, and many now believe it may be helpful to the process. While more research is needed to establish if and how exactly it may be helpful to the organ transplant process, we certainly know it will not harm the patient, or decrease chances of a successful organ transplant in any way.

Supporters of this recent piece of legislation are not only happy it passed through the approval process and was signed into law, but they are also happy legislatures are finally paying attention to scientific data when making policy and law regarding medical marijuana. As we have seen time and time again, much of the opposition to legalization of marijuana is supported by irrational fears and anecdotal evidence lacking any truth whatsoever.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:

Organ Donor Wait-List Patients Can Test Positive For Cannabis in California , May 19, 2015, Main Street
More Blog Entries:
Lawsuits Seek to Open Doors to Costa Mesa Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, March 23, 2015, California Marijuana Lawyer Blog