SalusCare bans medical marijuana prescribing

Fort Myers-based SalusCare, the region’s largest mental health care provider, said Tuesday it would not allow its doctors to prescribe newly legal medical marijuana for its qualifying patients.

The organization, born from the 2013 merger of Lee County’s primary mental health and drug treatment centers, decided that most of its patients have psychological disorders that the drug might worsen, said SalusCare Medical Director Dr. Adrienne Eisner.

“It’s approved for medical purposes but for psychiatric purposes it can be pretty damaging, especially with the patient population we see,” Eisner said. “We see a lot of psychotic disorders — schizophreniaschizoaffective disorder, even major depressive disorders with psychosis — and marijuana can cause severe paranoia and even increase the psychosis.”

SalusCare’s announcement came on the day that Florida’s Amendment 2, which legalizes full-strength cannabis for certain “debilitating illnesses,” officially took effect. The law lists some qualifying conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

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