Dozens of people attended a seminar on medical marijuana awareness at the Collier County Library in Naples Tuesday, just two weeks after county leaders delayed any decision on allowing dispensaries for the controversial drug for six months.
Turner Davis of Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics has conducted the seminars across Florida, and said attendees are curious, but often confused on some aspects of using medical cannibis.
""Typically they're concerned about the psychoactive effects of the medication, and how that could impact their lives if they start this as a medication," Davis said.
Clinton Potter, M.D., a Naples doctor who spoke at the seminar, believes medical marijuana can treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson's disease - without great risk of becoming addictive.
"Studies have shown us it's about a thousand times less addictive than benzodiazepines or opioids," Potter said.
"There's never been a severe overdose in cannabis history," he added.
But at a Collier County board of commissioners meeting in May, NCH Hospital CEO Dr. Allen Weiss said he has concerns that medical marijuana could be a "gateway" to harder drugs.
"Our whole health care system, our whole nation, has been challenged by opioids, and many people believe that marijuana is a beginning drug for that," he told commissioners. "There are other medicines that do the same thing, and don't have the same addictive properties."
Most of the five commissioners had their own reservations at the meeting, during which they postponed allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in Collier County for at least six months.
Commissioner Penny Taylor pointed out that they did not ban medical marijuana itself in the county, since dispensaries outside of the county can still deliver to patients in Collier.