The first cannabis-infused lozenges approved for sale in New Jersey were offered to registered medical marijuana patients Tuesday at a dispensary in Camden County, one year after it opened.
The Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center in Bellmawr announced it would sell a bottle of 30 grape- or cherry-flavored lozenges for $75, or $60 if patients qualify for financial assistance, according to a notice sent to patients this week.
Peter Rosenfeld, a patient from Collingswood, said there were 10 people waiting to buy them at the dispensary Wednesday. "The cherry ones were selling faster, 3-1," said Rosenfeld, a retired aerospace engineer who has severe cervical spinal degradation.
The launch came one month after the dispensary began selling to patients the state's first manufactured cannabis products - a marijuana-infused oil and jars of cannabis cocoa butter lotion.
"We will be placing a temporary one lozenge/unit limit to start as we work on building our supply. We hope to lift this as soon as possible," the dispensary said on its Facebook page. "I would also like to thank CSATC's Laboratory team for all their hard work in the weeks leading up to this launch!"
The dispensary manager could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
Of the five dispensaries operating in New Jersey, only Compassionate Sciences is approved to sell the new products.
The notice sent to patients said each lozenge would contain 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. The lozenges were described as "soft tablets (troches) formulated to dissolve slowly in your mouth." The dose would be one lozenge.
"The medicinal effects should take place 10-30 minutes from being dissolved in the mouth," the notice said, recommending patients start with one and "go slow."
The dispensary also sells raw cannabis buds that can be smoked, vaped, or baked.
The cannabis oils that went on sale last month are recommended to be used as a topical, applied to the skin and absorbed, though some patients reported they were able to use it in a vaporizer.
The label on the oils, which were dispensed in a dosing syringe, said it contained 50 percent THC, and 5 percent CBD, a cannabinoid that helps with seizures and pain. The price for the oils at the time was $75 for 300 milligrams, the equivalent of an eighth of an ounce.
Raw cannabis buds go for about $60 for an eighth of an ounce, or about $480 an ounce, but are less concentrated.
The medical marijuana program in New Jersey was approved six years ago and about 9,000 patients have registered. To qualify they must have one of about a dozen ailments, including cancer, epilepsy, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in the spring and is planning to begin implementing its program in 2018. Unlike New Jersey, Pennsylvania will allow the sale of cannabis oils, pills, and lotions, but will ban raw cannabis.
The new products in New Jersey came three years after medical marijuana dispensaries began seeking state approval to manufacture a variety of products. The state Health Department had to approve the manufacturing protocols and products before they could be sold.