Using marijuana for wellness is not as uncommon anymore as it was just two decades ago. The public is becoming more aware of the health benefits of the cannabinoids present in weed, as more and more people use it to treat certain conditions.
Since the marijuana laws in the United States have changed and continue to change, the use of medical marijuana has been on the rise, and rightfully so. Even though marijuana is technically still illegal under federal law, most states have developed their own medical marijuana programs that allow cannabis patients to legally obtain cannabis products for medical use from legal dispensaries.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll talk all about the process of applying for a medical marijuana card and getting approved, as well as the benefits that come with it.
Qualifying Conditions for Getting Approved
Qualifying conditions are medical conditions officially diagnosed by a licensed physician that qualify you for an approval of a medical marijuana card (MMJ). Each state has its own qualifying conditions, but some of them are commonly approved for medical marijuana treatment in most states. Among the many conditions, you’ll find:
Irritable Bowel Diseases
The symptoms of irritable bowel diseases (IBDs), like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, can be managed with weed. Many people get relief and fewer flare-ups once they start consuming medical cannabis.
Marijuana has been long known to provide relief to glaucoma patients as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) reduces intraocular pressure (the fluid pressure inside the eye) – the main contributor to glaucoma.
Medical marijuana in the form of CBD (cannabidiol) has been increasingly recommended for the treatment of severe treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy due to CBD’s anticonvulsant properties.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that causes hypervigilance and disruptions in sleep patterns, among other problems. Medical marijuana, with a focus on CBD, is known to help regulate anxiety levels and improve sleep disturbances.
Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are the most common neurodegenerative diseases today. Medical marijuana is known to be of help in some cases, therefore, it’s up to the trained physician to decide whether it’s a suitable treatment option for the individual.
Chronic pain related to a persistent or debilitating condition that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment could be treated with medical marijuana. In fact, medical marijuana patients often report relief of chronic pain as some of them are either unresponsive to conventional meds or experience side effects.
Marijuana is commonly given for the treatment of nausea, however, you need to be careful to not go overboard with marijuana if you’re suffering from nausea, as too much THC may make your symptoms more pronounced.
Muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis that persist and don’t respond to medication can be alleviated with medical marijuana. Patients often report feeling much better once they start using medical marijuana, and they experience decreased inflammation and pain, as well as muscle spasms, abdominal discomfort, and insomnia.
How to Qualify for Medical Marijuana Card
To be able to go to a legal medical marijuana dispensary and obtain your cannabis medicine, qualified patients will need to fulfill the following conditions before they start the application process:
- Be at least 18 years of age. If you’re younger than 18, you’ll need parental consent;
- Have proof of a current diagnosis of a qualifying condition, often in the form of an official document signed by your physician;
- Provide proof of residency of where you currently live in the United States, with a valid driver’s license or a state ID card. Most states require that you’re a legal resident there before they issue you your card.
How to Get Approved for Medical Cannabis Card
If you’re living with a certain medical condition and need to get medical marijuana treatment, going to a dispensary on your own to purchase it is not an option, given that you need a medical marijuana card for that. Fortunately, the approval process for medical marijuana is very simple if you meet all the requirements and are eligible for treatment.
Whether you’re an experienced marijuana user or have never used it before, prior to your approval, you’ll need to talk to trained healthcare professionals about your medical history. They’ll also provide you with some educational content to introduce you to medical cannabis and the process of treatment.
- So, the first step would be to make an appointment online or call the patient support team and schedule it. Some facilities also offer telemedicine for medical evaluations. At the appointment, it’s encouraged to bring your previous medical records as the medical marijuana doctor will want to get an overview of your condition. They will probably want to know all your past and current symptoms in order to understand your individual needs and what you want to gain from the treatment.
- When your card gets approved, your medical marijuana doctor will provide you with a signed certification with your treatment plan which will include recommendations for medical marijuana products. You will need to submit this document to the Department of Health along with an application fee.
- Following this, the state will need to process the medical marijuana recommendations in the document in order to add you to the patient registry and give you your medical marijuana identification card.
The Benefits of a Medical Marijuana Card
There are many benefits to having a medical marijuana card. Let’s review some of them:
- Lower legal age – as per the law, recreational cannabis can only be sold to adults over the age of 21, whereas medical marijuana is available to patients with qualifying conditions who are over 18, or even under 18 but with parental consent;
- Lower sales tax – in a lot of states, the medical marijuana sales tax is lower, meaning the cannabis products for medical use have a lower price compared to the recreational ones;
- Higher possession limits – in legal states, when you have a medical marijuana card you’re allowed to possess a greater amount than the average recreational cannabis user;
- Growing your own crops – in some states you are also allowed to cultivate marijuana yourself.
The state medical marijuana card is a great way to provide cannabis to patients with a supply of their medicine. Provided that a patient fulfills the required conditions to be approved for a medical marijuana card, the application process itself is very simple.