How to Qualify for Medical Marijuana Treatment6 months, 4 weeks ago
Posted on Aug 05, 2020, 4 p.m.
Adult-use marijuana is available everywhere in Canada and Uruguay, within 11 U.S. states and a handful of cities and private spaces around the world. Yet, medical marijuana, or cannabis products consumed for the treatment of health conditions, is much more widely accepted, with more than half of America and Europe permitting some sufferers of debilitating diseases to utilize cannabis treatments to some degree.
It is important to note that not just anyone with a minor health concern can buy and use marijuana under medical marijuana programs. Most programs are strict with regards to who has access to ensure that programs are not taken advantage of and that only those in dire need of non-traditional treatment are able to obtain it.
While the qualifications for medical marijuana programs will vary from place to place, here’s a basic overview of what those suffering from health conditions can do to gain access to a safe and effective treatment.
Talk to a Physician
The first step in seeking medical marijuana treatment is always to talk to a physician about ongoing health problems. Marijuana can be a powerful treatment — but it shouldn’t necessarily be the first line of defense. If there are other, more certain treatments for condition management, it would be wise to work through those first. For example, pain can be cured through physical therapy and weight loss, so there is little sense in treating pain indefinitely if it can be fully remedied through other means. Doctors will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and prognosis, which is the first step in acquiring access to medical marijuana.
Research Local Programs
Visiting a physician and talking about treatment options is a necessary step, even if a sufferer is certain they want to try medical marijuana. In almost every state, medical marijuana users must qualify for programs with a diagnosis of a certain condition known to be treatable with cannabinoids. In some states, users only need to obtain a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana, regardless of existing cannabis research. It is important for individuals to know the details of the local medical marijuana program, so they can gain the proper paperwork from their physician and understand what products will be available to them through the program.
Apply for a License
A physician’s go-ahead isn’t the only requirement for medical marijuana use; individuals also need to obtain a medical marijuana card, which is available through the state medical marijuana program. Invariably, states have online portals through which applications are easily accessible, but those without internet access might be able to gain hard copies of application paperwork through their doctors or their state’s department of health services. Usually, it takes regulators a few weeks to process an application and send the license through the mail.
Get to Know Dispensaries
While waiting for the results of an application, medical marijuana applicants can begin researching the dispensaries in their area. It is important to know the difference between medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational dispensaries. Any adult can visit the latter and purchase all manner of cannabis, but only those with medical cards can set foot in medical dispensaries and gain access to their exclusive products.
Often, medical dispensaries are permitted to sell products that aren’t available to recreational users because of their high percentage of CBD, a cannabinoid derived from hemp, or their high THC content, both of which results in more intense effects. Additionally, medical marijuana dispensaries function more like pharmacies, providing one-on-one service to patients to ensure their conditions are effectively treated with the right products. Individuals would do well to review the dispensaries in their area for quality of service, inventory and ease of access, which will make the treatment process more enjoyable.
Once a patient receives their medical marijuana card in the mail, they can begin treating their health condition with medical marijuana. As with any health condition and treatment plan, it is wise to continue to check in with a physician every so often, to ensure that cannabis is doing the job and that there aren’t any concerning developments. As long as users are conscious of the effects of the drug and careful with dosing, they should feel comfortable experimenting with different products, from prepared buds to edibles to capsules to topicals to concentrates, to determine what works best for them. Medical marijuana programs are a major step forward, and those suffering from unmanageable health conditions should be glad that such a treatment option is becoming more widespread.
Article courtesy of Nancy R. Fernandez, blogger and health advocate.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement