If you are reading this guide then, you are either thinking about approaching your physician in regards to medical cannabis treatment, or you have already asked your doctor and gotten a straight out: NO!
First things first, it is important to understand that your physician doesn’t prescribe marijuana but may give you a medical marijuana recommendation. With this recommendation, you are required to apply to the state to receive a medical marijuana card. Once approved, you will be legally permitted to purchase marijuana from a registered dispensary to help treat your condition.
Now, the most important thing is not to get frustrated, as the process in most states is long tedious. Furthermore, most primary-care physicians in the U.S. won’t recommend marijuana as an initial treatment. They would rather go down the conservative route and prescribe pharmaceutical medication.
As of now, 8 States are currently recreational, and 28 states are currently medical. Most state’s Board of Health departments have issued specific lists that determine under which conditions a patient is entitled to medical marijuana – Therefore it should be a breeze, right? – Wrong!
While individual states are easing up on legalities making marijuana more available to the public, it remains an illegal substance on a Federal Level. Forty years, marijuana was classed as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, along with ecstasy, LSD, and heroin. The qualifications required for a drug to reach such an esteemed distinction are threefold:
- High potential for abuse
- No currently accepted medical use, and
- Lack of accepted safety for use.
Additionally, Schedule I drugs are broken down into four categories; and yes, THC – the primary active chemical in marijuana – is listed under “psychedelic substances.”
So… is the Federal restriction preventing your doctor from prescribing medical marijuana? Yes and No!
Here are the major things that are still problematic:
- Unlike other pharmaceuticals, which are approved by the FDA and come with prescribing guidelines, medical marijuana is still an untouched territory, (We have the government to thanks for that). Some doctors have said time and time again that not enough is known about medical marijuana to understand how and when to recommend it.
- We can’t ignore the fact that it is illegal under federal law. This is causing doctors and hospitals to get worried about liability. They also don’t want to be stuck in the middle of patients and the law, so they simply say “No.”
- Doctors are conservative — not politically, but when it comes to adopting new therapies, your doctor would prefer to go with a practice he/she is familiar with, rather than risk his/her reputation.
- In most states, doctors are required to register as a physician that is approved by the state to provide medical marijuana recommendations. Apart from going through a long bureaucratic process, it often requires them to go through stringent assessments. The acceptance process is determined separately by each state.
- Even if your doctor does have the authority to give you a marijuana recommendation, he/she is required to have a “bona fide” relationship with you, which requires your doctor to review your medical history, conduct ongoing evaluations, keep records and monitor your condition as long as you’re using marijuana.
Unfortunately, there is no hack or workaround to getting a medical card, especially if you want to use marijuana legally. Furthermore, even if your doctor does provide you with a medical recommendation, the bureaucratic process often is so long that most people give up.
Thankfully, there are helpful tips that can help you get on the right track to getting a medical card.
And they don’t involve you moving to a recreational state…
1) Understand the Exact Qualifications
The first one is “Knowledge.” Most primary-care physicians do not practice marijuana or even follow the industry. Most of them are not aware of ongoing changes in the laws and qualifications. They are still in the dark ages. It’s your job to inform them of your rights. If you suffer from a debilitating medical condition or any condition that has been listed and approved by your state, make sure that your doctor knows about it. It’s your right to receive access to medical marijuana treatments.
2) Switch Doctors
This is easier said than done, but you could be fighting a losing battle with your current physician. Even if you are entitled, or at least thing you are entitled, your physician might not want to take on the risk. Remember that in most states it’s your physician that applies for your medical card, not you! This means that his name is also written on the application. If your primary doctor doesn’t want to help you get medical marijuana, then you’ll have to look elsewhere. Leafly has an amazing resource for doctors that is worth checking. Doctors are listed by state so you’ll have no problem navigating around. Remember that not all doctors are alike and it is best to contact a few. It’s important that you have good chemistry with your doctor as he/she will be the one applying for you.
One small tip – It’s best to ask your primary doctor for a letter documenting your condition and recommending treatment, then take that to a doctor who regularly recommends marijuana. It will save a lot of time and unnecessary back-and-forth.
3) Approach Your Local Dispensary
It might sound odd, as you don’t have a medical card to purchase weed, but a quick chat with your local dispensary might reveal to you quite a few different things and options. Think about it; most legitimate dispensaries are registered with the state. This means that they have gone through the long state process and are familiar with the requirements. They probably have quite a few connections in the industry, including medical marijuana physicians who would be more than happy to give you a recommendation. In the end, it’s business. If your dispensary can help you get a legal MMJ card, then everyone is happy. The dispensary, as you’ll be back to purchase meds, the recommended physician and especially you!
4) Try Online
Depending on your location there might be a few quick solutions for you. As of now, there are a few online companies that work in specific states, such as NuggMD and Eaze. These companies assist in getting for you a medical marijuana card. The process is quick and easy, and you don’t have to leave your home.
Disclaimer – This option is not available to everyone as it is only legal in specific states. Find out more information about getting an online medical card here.
Until marijuana is not removed from the list of illegal drug, most companies, doctors, and patients are always going to encounter problems in regards to the process. It’s simply because the industry is walking a fine line between what’s illegal on a Federal level and what’s legal per individual state.
Here at marijuanabreak, we are here to help with the process. We produce practical content that we hope will assist some of you.
How Can You Help?
Even if you don’t suffer from a condition that requires medical marijuana, you may know someone who does. Simply share this post. You never know who it might help.
Recommended For You
Over the past couple of months we created a few practical guides, per state on how to get a medical marijuana card. We hope they help you
Illinois – Read the complete guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois
Florida – Read the complete guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Florida
Ohio – Read the complete guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Ohio
New York – Read the complete guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In New York
New Mexico – Read the complete guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In New Mexico
Nevada – Read the complete guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Nevada