By local expert Jaya McSharma, MD of Medical Marijuana Health Center, Inc. Dba CannaCare of Louisiana

I am not a drug user. Will I get addicted? 

Addiction to medical marijuana is very rare, and overdose even more so. With proper education and instruction, medical marijuana can be an extremely low-risk way to improve your quality of life. 

Is it a gateway drug?

Marijuana itself is not a gateway drug. It does not carry the same risk tract as opioids – for example, people who become dependent on opioids can often progress to addiction and then harder drugs like heroin in search of “the higher high.” This is not the case with marijuana. 

I don’t want to smoke. What are my options?

HOPE Pharmacy dispenses THC and CBD in the form of tincture and edible gummies in addition to the more traditional vape and “flower” methods. You do not have to smoke to enjoy the benefits.

Is it safe? 

Yes. I would give medical marijuana to almost any patient before I prescribed a synthetic pharmaceutical such as an opioid for pain. I have never seen an overdose of the former.

What is the difference between this and the over-the-counter stuff?

There are many places advertising THC and CBD; however, the delta-8 and delta-9 products are unregulated as of now. The only way to be sure you are getting medical grade product that has been vetted and tested for impurities is to obtain your medical marijuana recommendation and then fill in one of the nine dispensaries in Louisiana. Otherwise, you won’t know for sure what’s in your bag!

Will I get high? 

There are strains and types that can be given without psychoactive effects. Just let your pharmacist know during your consultation that you prefer not to feel “high.”

What are the most common diagnoses approved?

Right now, it can be any condition which a physician determines is debilitating to the patient! Since opening, our most common diagnoses are PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain (both malignant and non-malignant). 

Why did you choose to pursue medical marijuana?

Because I think it is safer than 90% of the drugs we prescribe on a daily basis and can help mitigate many of the things that plague our quality of life – pain, anxiety, and insomnia to name a few – and I’m passionate about erasing the stigma around “weed” so that we can get people living happier, healthier lives!

For any further questions, please book an in-person or telehealth consultation with Dr. Jaya at or call the clinic at 318 464-6899.