Future of Medical Marijuana Nasal Sprays, Inhalers and Suppositories in Flux in Colorado

Future of Medical Marijuana Nasal Sprays, Inhalers and Suppositories in Flux in Colorado

The products were dubbed "non-conforming products" by state officials and taken off dispensary shelves July 1.

July 11, 2018

A small but growing segment of the medical marijuana market could be kept off shelves in Colorado as government regulators and the cannabis industry scramble to figure out how to safely produce and monitor cannabis nasal sprays, inhalers and suppositories.

Dubbed "non-conforming products" by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, MMJ products that enter the body by inhaler or other means of nasal, vaginal or rectal administration were taken off dispensary shelves July 1 after emergency rules were adopted by the MED. The timetable for their return is still up for debate.

The rule changes were an attempt to get a regulatory grip on new, pharmaceutical-like deliveries of cannabis; products such as THC-infused nasal sprays and suppositories are being used to treat seizures, muscle spasms, chronic pain and other severe medical conditions. The new rules aren't permanent, however: The MED held an official rule-making hearing on Monday, July 9, when a working group of industry members, government and public-health officials, attorneys and other pot stakeholders refined the language before its final rollout, currently set for January 1, 2019.

Although cannabis-infused nasal spray and suppositories may enter the body much as pharmaceuticals do, they're not tested and monitored by federal health and safety agencies; any MMJ product (besides GW Pharma's CBD drug, Epidiolex) falls outside the purview of the Food and Drug Administration, thanks to the plant's federally illegal status. This presents a health and safety risk to the public, according to Mike Van Dyke, director of the CDPHE's Environmental Epidemiology, Occupational Health and Toxicology Branch.

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