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Jimmy Walker noticed the difference the first time he used the smokable version of his medical cannabis

“It helps more than any of the other (products). You get all the benefits of the plant,” said Walker, 50, of Fort Pierce. “The quality of life is better. I get more pain relief. For sleep, it’s way better.”

Walker drives from Fort Pierce to the Trulieve Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in Vero Beach to get the product to alleviate the pain from degenerate disc disease. He began using the vape products, which helped him get off the multiple daily dosages of Percocets he took. 

“I get more relief. I have better days,” said Walker. “I feel better. I can get more done.”

Smokable medical marijuana was stocked in Treasure Coast dispensaries within days of Gov. Ron DeSantis signing Senate Bill 182 into law, ending a previous ban.

More: Trulieve first to sell smokable medical marijuana in Florida

“There’s a tremendous amount of demand for it,” said Vinit Patel, regional dispensaries operations manager for Curaleaf, a statewide company with local dispensaries in Fort Pierce, Palm Bay and Titusville. “Everyone’s been asking for this.”

Curaleaf was among the first dispensaries to sell the smokable whole cannabis flower in loose and pre-rolled form, Patel said. On Wednesday,  the company began stocking larger half-ounce and one-ounce packages, he said. 

Trulieve, with dispensaries in Vero Beach and Melbourne, also sells smokable whole-flower buds. 

“One of the most frequent comments we received from patients were related to availability of flower; being able to smoke cannabis in its natural, most “whole” form,” Trulieve spokeswoman Victoria Walker said in a statement.

Smokable TruFlower costs between $33 and $53 for 3.5 grams, which is more expensive than other forms. 

Curaleaf charges $13 for each pre-rolled, one-gram product, and between $47 and $300 for packages ranging from one-eighth ounce to one ounce, Patel said. The company offers several discount programs to qualifying patients, he said. 

More: Medical marijuana insurance in Florida? 

Demand throughout the state is strong, Walker said. Locally, people arrive early at the Vero Beach location for the product, which sometimes sells out. 

“We are working to make sure that stores are consistently stocked with our TruFlower products,” Victoria Walker said. 

There are restrictions. Patients, who must be older than 18, have to return to their doctor to have the smokable products added to their recommended order, Patel said. They also are limited to buying 2.5 ounces within a 35-day period, he said. 

While the refined products, such as the topical creams and capsules, may be more potent and more concentrated with cannabis, Patel said patients often find the smokable product more effective. 

“People feel they get more medicinal benefits,” Patel said. The smokable products have a combination of compounds working together to produce an “entourage effect,” he said. 

Patients are often more familiar with a smokable product, sometimes referred to as a medical marijuana cigarette or joint, he said.

“It’s patient preference,” Patel said. 

Dan Downing traveled from Frostproof to buy his products at the Vero Beach Trulieve. There is no local center available near his home, he said. 

“At this point, they’re denying medicine to patients,” he said. 

Downing, who uses a crumble product, said he would like to try the smokable product, but he is unable to because of his Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

He is concerned about the number of restrictions associated with the smokable product, such as the up to three-month wait for patients and the prohibition for teenagers. Even terminally ill teenagers cannot use the product, he said. 

“What are you protecting them from?” he said. 

More: Florida passes bill to repeal smokable medical marijuana ban

Dispensaries

Fort Pierce: Curaleaf, 3218 U.S. 1

Port St. Lucie

  • Liberty Health Sciences, 10941 U.S. 1
  • Surterra Wellness, 7061 U.S. 1

Vero Beach: Trulieve, 1814 Commerce Ave.

Melbourne: Trulieve, 3330 W New Haven Ave.

Merritt Island: Liberty Health Sciences, 150 E Merritt Island Causeway

Palm Bay

  • Curaleaf, 1420 Palm Bay Road N.E.
  • Surterra Wellness, 6285 Minton Road N.E.
  • VidaCann, 663 Georgia St. N.E., Suite 900

Titusville: Curaleaf, 200 S Washington Ave.

Dos and don’ts

Users: Adults 18 and over. Patients must return to their doctor and get smokable products added to their order, which can take weeks to finalize. 

Restrictions: The maximum amount patients can buy is 2.5 ounces over a 35-day period, either purchased all at once or with doses spread out over that time. The maximum amount of product patients can possess at one time is 4 ounces. 

Prohibitions: In public spaces and enclosed indoor workplaces. 

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