The vast majority of medical cannabis laws allow patients to administer medical cannabis through whatever method works best for them — be it whole-plant cannabis, tinctures, ointments, oils, or edibles. Allowing innovation is a key reason the efficacy of certain cannabis oils on intractable seizures came to light.
Unfortunately, some laws prohibit patients from using the mode of administration that may be the most effective and affordable for them. Two laws only allow extracts — not whole-plant cannabis — which are more costly. Seven states forbid smoking medical cannabis — even while tobacco smoking is legal nationwide, and cannabis is not linked to lung cancer. And three states prohibit manufactured edibles, which can be important for steady relief for chronic conditions.
MPP recommends allowing patients, in consultation with trained dispensary staff, to decide for themselves which mode of administration is most appropriate for them.
Here is an overview of medical cannabis states’ policies on modes of administration.
Limit on Administration?
Raw plant, smoking, vaporization, candies, and baked goods are not allowed.
Pills, gelatin cubes, lozenges, oils, suppositories, nebulizers, and patches are allowed. Regulators will develop a single, uniform flavor for lozenges.
In 2019, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that extracts — and edibles made from them — are allowed. (Arizona v. Jones)
Edibles in the form of candy are not allowed.
A dispensary’s site notes flowers, concentrates, edibles, and tinctures are all available. Edibles in the form of candy are prohibited under state law.
The legislature banned flower and smoking, which were allowed in the voter-enacted amendment. After a lawsuit, the legislature reversed itself.
Edibles were not allowed until a 2020 change in the law.
Smoking and flower is prohibited, as is any other inhalation other than metered-dose inhalation.
Initially, no inhalation was allowed. In 2019, the state allowed metered-dose inhalation (but not smoking). In May 2021, the Louisiana Legislature approved allowing raw cannabis/smoking. The bill now heads to Gov. Edwards’ desk.
A court ruled that extracts and edibles made from them were not allowed under Michigan’s original law, but the legislature approved allowing and regulating them in fall 2016.
Lozenges and gums are allowed, but most forms of edibles are not.
The law initially only allowed administration via liquids, oils, and pills. Raw plant cannabis, including smoking, was allowed legislatively in May 2021. The health commissioner may allow more types of administration.
In 2012, the state Supreme Court ruled extracts, and thus edibles made from them, were not allowed. However, in 2017, the legislature passed a law clarifying provisions of a 2016 initiative, which allowed the sale of edibles.
Edibles for adults were not initially allowed, but legislation that passed in July 2019 will allow them.
Medical marijuana may not be smoked. Any form not expressly approved by the health commissioner is prohibited.
In 2017, the health department approved adding these types of cannabis preparations: lotions, ointments, patches, chewable tablets, lozenges, and ground, whole-plant cannabis. (All whole-plant was previously prohibited.)
Edibles and concentrates are not permitted.
Whole-plant cannabis (flower) is permitted, but doctors must specifically certify patients to use this form of cannabis.
Smoking is prohibited. Vaporization is allowed.
Raw cannabis and extracts are capped at 35% and 70% THC respectively under the law.
Smoking is prohibited, as are commercially manufactured edibles.
Whole-plant cannabis (flower) was initially prohibited, but the Department of Health issued recommendations to allow it following a report from an advisory board.
Smoking is prohibited. Edibles are permitted if they are gelatinous cubes or lozenges.
Patients are only allowed to obtain and possess marijuana products in the following form: flower (in child-resistant containers), tablets, capsules, concentrated oil, liquid suspension, resin or wax, topicals, transdermal patches, sublingual preparations, and lozenges/gummies (but must be in a cube or rectangular shape).
Smoking is prohibited. Dispensaries cannot sell edibles, but medical cannabis products can be mixed into food or drinks by patients themselves.
Initially, raw flower was not allowed, but the legislature expanded the law. The only types of medical cannabis allowed are pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, liquids, and forms for administration through vaporization.
The states that only allow extracts are Alabama and Louisiana. Prices are incredibly high in Louisiana and Minnesota, while sales have not yet begun in Alabama. Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia initially limited their programs to extracts but expanded the modes of administration.
 The states that forbid smoking are Alabama, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia. While Virginia does not explicitly prohibit smoking, it does not allow flower.
 Those states are: North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.