Marijuana is… Legal? Huh?
As of the 18th of May, 2021; cannabis became legal for medical use in 36 states and 4 territories. As legislation continues to change, so does the legality behind cannabis. So far though, this is GREAT progress! As the NCSL website states: “”Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation…” as well as, “The psychological effects of cannabinoids, such as anxiety reduction, sedation, and euphoria can influence their potential therapeutic value.” Ergo: cannabis is FINALLY getting the recognition it deserves as a benefactor for our minds and bodies; it’s potential is limitless! As cannabis makes its way into the healthcare limelight, we’re seeing research conducted on it’s effectiveness to help treat pain, loss in appetite, insomnia, and a variety of physical and cognitive disorders. Let’s dive in a little further into what medical marijuana actually is and how might you qualify for use of it!
So… What Exactly IS Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is any medicine that is derived from the cannabis plant which is used to treat an underlying condition or an illness. Even though it’s largely blacklisted for recreational use, many states have legalized it for medicinal purposes. Medical marijuana is recognized largely for its ability to provide relief for chronic pain. It is also recognized for aiding in a plethora of behavioral conditions, drastically improving the quality of life for many of its users.
How do YOU Quality For Medical Marijuana?
First things first: you’ve got to check out your state’s medical marijuana program! There should be a list of all of the conditions that qualify for this treatment. In this list, you’ll find such conditions as:
- Epilepsy & Seizure Disorders: CBD is known to reduce seizure frequency!
- Multiple Sclerosis: Cannabis has had great success in providing relief for a variety of MS symptoms, like: pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, abdominal discomfort, and depression!
- Cancer: Both THC and CBD cannabinoids have shown to provide relief in relation to pain and the side-effects of chemotherapy. It also aids in nausea and loss in appetite.
- HIV/AIDs: Known to alleviate pain, loss in appetite, nausea, and fatigue.
- Cachexia: (Wasting Syndrome) Often follows diseases like cancer or HIV – the symptoms are similar to both with the addition of muscle loss, weakness, and fatigue.
- Neurodegenerative Diseases: Cannabis has been approved to help aid in such neurodegenerative diseases as: Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Hunington’s, and Glaucoma.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: (PTSD) Great for pain alleviation. Can also help aid in mental and behavioral health; CBD is known to provide anxiety relief and has had success as an antidepressant.
- Chronic Pain: Cannabis has had great success in helping people find relief from chronic pain. Some patients prefer this as an alternative to narcotics; obtaining a medical marijuana card also allows you access to products of a higher potency.
- General Anxiety: Patients that suffer from anxiety can benefit from the use of cannabis, especially CBD. In lower doses, THC has shown success in providing rapid relief for hypertension while CBD appears effective at any dose.
Benefits of Obtaining A Medical Marijuana Card:
*If you happen to live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, then you might want to read on, too! This can also benefit you. *
One of the multiple benefits to speaking to your primary care physician about a medical marijuana card is the potential for lower costs and lower taxes! This will make obtaining your medicine more affordable and accessible to you.
Another benefit that a medical card could provide is easier access to higher-dose strains, should the patient benefit from that. Most recreational shops won’t carry such, so it’s definitely something to check into based on your treatment needs.
Lastly, obtaining a medical marijuana card provides access to patients who are under the age of 21; most recreational shops do require you to be 21 or older to enter. Some ailments will qualify a patient who is under the age of 21 to use cannabis, but the only provision being that, due to their age, they will have to obtain permission from a doctor and receive a medical marijuana card first.
I Want to Apply for A Medical Marijuana Card! What is My First Step?
I’m glad you asked! I can certainly help you there! So, your first step to obtaining a medical marijuana card is to research your state laws. If it happens to be legal AND your ailment qualifies for treatment, THEN you’ll want to talk to a prescribing physician! Some doctors are wary of cannabis use, but should you feel that you would benefit from it; an honest convo is the best way to go. A knowledgeable physician can also help guide you through this process. NuggMD and Veriheal are great websites you can check out that offer resources and clinical counsel in obtaining your medical marijuana card! You’ll most likely have to register in your state’s medical marijuana registry, too. The best way to find that resource is to Google it! Since each process varies state-to-state, there isn’t a uniform method of going about this. Since I live in North Carolina, I wanted to include resources from my state below:
- North Carolina- Marijuana Policy Project: https://www.mpp.org/states/north-carolina/
- This resource provides the most up-to-date info on cannabis legislation in our state! They’re also huge advocates for the decriminalization of marjuana.
II: MMJ Qualifications NC: https://www.northcarolinamarijuanacard.com/how-to-qualify
- This is a great online resource for patients looking to schedule an appointment with a physician via telemedicine and submit your documentation to receive your medical marijuana card! On the homepage you’re able to sign up to be contacted by a representative who will walk you through that process!
Lastly, once you’ve obtained some form of documentation from an appropriate physician, you’ll be able to visit a cannabis dispensary to get your medication! Since no doctor is legally allowed to prescribe cannabis, you won’t have a formal prescription for any specific product. You should have some guidance from your physician, however! With that, and a very handy and knowledgeable budtender; you should be able to navigate the dispensary and find what you’re looking for. *A budtender is the person working the dispensary that is knowledgeable of the offered products.
If you aren’t able to obtain resources in your area, (and you just want to experiment) here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Go for strains that are high in CBD! CBD has the most medicinal properties and can offer you better relief! Low THC count will also ensure that you can function normally, too.
- Do NOT drive or operate machinery while under the influence of cannabis!
Google & Fill That Noodle:
Whether you’re a first-time user or more experienced with cannabis, we encourage you to do your do-diligence and research the legality of it in your state! From there, you can plan accordingly to get the most out of your experience. Costs, appropriate dosage, and accessibility are all important factors to consider when utilizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. To ensure you’ve got all the tools necessary for you, make sure you reference your state’s laws and have a discussion with your primary care physicians – sometimes they’re the best resources you can use to get that ball rolling.
For more information regarding legal cannabis use in your state, check out: