Since the beginning of time, marijuana has been used for numerous purposes including religious, medical, and recreational. Recently, the government has made significant steps towards recognizing marijuana as a medical plant, and this has consequently led to many people benefiting from it.
Currently, a total of thirty states in addition to Washington DC have allowed the use of medical marijuana. This has been made possible through the studies proving the usefulness of marijuana in reducing pain and inflammations, reducing seizures, improving lung functions among other numerous benefits. Herein, I will discuss how to become a medical marijuana patient.
Overview medical marijuana
States have different laws on medical marijuana and how one can become a patient. For example, one has to be qualified to become a patient in California as per Proposition 215. Further, it is mandatory to have a doctor’s recommendation to purchase marijuana in the licensed clinics. Some states require one to acquire a marijuana identification card by applying with the medical marijuana program. Although the medical cards are not usually necessary, they are recommended because they are legally convincing to the law enforcement.
It is imperative for one to have a medical condition that warrants the use of medical marijuana. In fact, it is a requirement that you provide medical records while applying for marijuana use or before the doctor approves your application. Currently, the state does not have a conclusive list of the medical conditions that can enable you to use medical marijuana, and therefore essential to consult with a physician before enrolling in any program. Notably, doctors are not often willing to recommend medical marijuana due to the fear of being prosecuted. However, all states have special doctors who are qualified, and they come in handy whenever you need such services.
Locating qualified doctors
There have been rising cases of unqualified physicians offering recommendations for marijuana use. To avoid being a victim, it is important to seek prior information about the clinic you intend to visit. The ‘bargain clinics’ tend to offer seemingly fair deals which do not adhere to all the federal requirements. Most of the clinics are usually seasonal, and they often close without prior notification.
Another risk of engaging with an unlicensed doctor and clinics is that they are known to expose patients’ records to the public or sell them to other companies. Accordingly, they compromise a patient’s medical records, and this can preclude you from acquiring these services in the future.
The doctor prescribing medical marijuana ought to have a certificate in cannabis-related research. More importantly, he should have sufficient information about cannabis as well as the condition of the patient. The benefit of dealing with a qualified doctor is that they offer a complete annual package and one that aligns with the government provisions. This allows you to enjoy the services without contravening the law. In any case, the reason for seeking medical marijuana is to achieve better health, and it is your responsibility to avoid consulting unqualified physicians.
Confirming the legitimacy of a doctor/clinic
Typically, doctors’ recommendations are supposed to serve the patient for a year. However, bogus clinics often offer monthly recommendations that are accompanied by many unexplainable fees. It is the responsibility of the patient to ensure that the doctor is qualified to provide the services. In this regard, you should ensure that you can confirm your recommendation at any time (24-hour services). Equally important is to obtain verified contacts of the doctor as well as the clinic that he operates just in case it becomes necessary to prove your recommendation. Also, avoid paying extra fees without clear explanations, as some doctors are exploiting the situation to make an extra buck at the expense of the patients.
Anyone looking to be a medical marijuana patient ought to be cautious while registering for the program to avoid falling prey to sham doctors. For example, there are doctors giving cultivation licenses which do not legally exist. The licenses allow you to grow more than the required quantity, an activity that is illegal under the law. It is crucial to have a legitimate doctor who cares about your health and one who cannot compromise your safety.
Becoming eligible for medical marijuana
As mentioned before, the government has not yet come up with a conclusive list of the conditions that qualify for marijuana prescription. However, there is a list of conditions that are considered debilitating (for adults) and therefore qualify for the prescription thereof. To mention a few; cerebral palsy, cancer, epilepsy, cachexia, ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Terminal Illness Requiring End-Of-Life Care, Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, Intractable Headache Syndromes, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and Spasticity or Neuropathic Pain Associated with Fibromyalgia. For people under 18 years, the following conditions are considered; Severe Epilepsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity, Terminal Illness Requiring End-Of-Life Care, Cerebral Palsy, and Cystic Fibrosis. One should confirm his/her conditions with qualified physicians.
States where medical marijuana is legal but not accessible
Unfortunately, some states have legally allowed the use of medical marijuana but have made no efforts to ensure that the product is available to the people. The reason behind this is the laxity of the local governments to pass laws that regard this, as well as the implementation of restrictive laws which tend to discourage the process. For instance, Massachusetts approved the use of legal marijuana in 2012. However, the state government enforced complex licensing procedures, and as a result, no dispensary opened. The confusion that followed saw the arrest of patients who had previously been allowed to grow and use marijuana. Other states with more or less strict laws are Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. Therefore, those seeking to register for medical marijuana in the states mentioned above should prepare to have a difficult time with the law.
The legalization of medical marijuana in America is a significant step in the right direction. Statistically, many people have benefited from the legalization with respect to how they have been able to deal with chronic conditions. Moreover, becoming a medical marijuana patient is not a complicated process; one only requires to have a condition that falls within the government’s criteria and a recommendation from a licensed doctor. With those qualifications, you can smoke or grow cannabis in your backyard without having any problem with the law.