The Medical Marijuana Craze. Facts, Benefits, and How to Obtain Your Medical Marijuana Card
Cannabis, also most commonly referred to as marijuana, is a standard plant that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical ailments and illnesses. Until recently, most states throughout the US have deemed marijuana completely illegally, resulting in fines and jail time for those who are caught with it in their possession. However, with the latest medical marijuana movement, it is now becoming widely accepted due to the discovery that it is extremely beneficial with little to no risk.
The History of Cannabis Laws
Did you know that marijuana first became criminalized in the US in 1937? It’s been a long road for medical marijuana advocates, but the US is finally shifting its overall view of cannabis for medical purposes.
With the current opioid and drug epidemic plaguing the US, it is no wonder many states are now beginning to see the advantages of medical marijuana over prescription pills. Just recently, Oklahoma became the 30th state to approve the use of medical marijuana use.
For individuals living in the State of Oklahoma, visit the official website of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority organization for more information on obtaining a medical marijuana card. The official Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority website also includes complete applications, information about available licenses, and a complete list of rules and regulations associated with the medical marijuana provision that has recently passed.
As we continue to progress, the outlook appears optimistic for medical marijuana advocates in the US. In some states, the use of cannabis has become legal recreationally, which is a positive sign for states that are still attempting to become legal medically.
Benefits and Uses of Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana has been used effectively to help with treating seizures in children along with other pain-centric diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and HIV/AIDS. Some of the most notable benefits of medical marijuana that have been reported include:
Reduced or Eliminated Insomnia
Pain Relief/Nerve Pain Relief
Relaxation of the Muscles
Reduction in Inflammation throughout the body
Improvement of depression and depressive disorders
Elimination of seizures
Reduction or calming of tremors
Individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, autoimmune diseases (such as Lupus, Hashimoto’s, or MS) are utilizing medical marijuana over traditional opioids or other painkillers that can lead to serious side effects or fatalities (especially in those with weakened immune systems).
Obtaining Your Medical Marijuana Card
If your state has passed a medical marijuana bill and it is not legal to obtain a medical marijuana card, there is a required process to complete before you are able to obtain the substance yourself. You must be at least 18 years of age before you are able to obtain a medical marijuana card in most states. However, if you have a child who is in need of medical marijuana or CBD (the non-psychoactive form of cannabis), it is possible to work together with your doctor to receive the approval you seek depending on your current location and state laws surrounding the issue.
Visit Your Doctor
Visit your family healthcare provider or seek out a doctor who specializes in providing medical marijuana cards in your area. Many doctors work directly outside of a medical marijuana dispensary. Before you are able to gain access into a dispensary near you, getting approval from your doctor and mailing in your paperwork to your state’s medical marijuana office is essential.
Access to Medical Marijuana
Access to medical marijuana is becoming easier with the option of visiting a local dispensary. If you have a dispensary near you, simply provide proof of your medical card to gain access to the storefront. Additionally, if you do not have a dispensary in your area, you also have the option to grow your own marijuana or work together with a caregiver, depending on state laws.
Visiting a dispensary is one of the easiest ways to get started with marijuana, regardless of your current condition or the ailment you want to treat. Individuals who work in a dispensary are well-versed in marijuana strains, its effects, and the best ways to help their patients who are in need.
Online Tools and Applications
With the advent of the internet and mobile smartphones, learning more about cannabis and its medicinal benefits has never been easier. With applications such as Leafly (available via a web browser, iOS, and Android smartphones), learn more about medical strains that are right for you and where they are available. Additionally, tools such as WeedMaps also provide medical cardholders the opportunity to research nearby dispensaries to learn more about current strains and various types of THC/CBD available. If you are in an area where medical cannabis has become legalized, use WeedMaps to place an order for pickup or delivery, depending on surrounding dispensaries and the type of cannabis you require to help treat the conditions and ailments that impact your quality of life the most.
Working With a Caregiver
Many states offer the option of working with a caregiver if you do not have access to digital applications or a local dispensary near you. Caregivers are permitted to grow their own cannabis plants in their own home or in a controlled environment, depending on state laws and the license they have obtained to provide the substance and sell it. Working directly with a caregiver is a way to ensure you know what strain and quality of cannabis you are receiving each time you purchase your medication.
While medical marijuana has yet to become legal throughout the US, the movement is moving forward at a rapid pace. For those who are staunch advocates of medical marijuana, there is hope that one day individuals in need will have access to the plant and all of its medical benefits without stigma or putting their lives at risk with opioids and prescription medications.
Two decades ago, the phrase “medical marijuana” first entered the public scene. 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana with the approval of Proposition 215. Oregon, Washington, and Alaska followed suit just two years later passing their own medical marijuana measures in 1998.
Since then, more than half of the United States has decriminalized or legalized cannabis in some way. Only three states prohibit marijuana use entirely, without any laws allowing usage or possession.
As recently as 2018, Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana there a state ballot measure. Oklahoma is the most recent state to enact a medical cannabis program, making it the 33rd state to do so.
With medical marijuana programs starting in states throughout the nation, many people want to know what the facts, basics, and benefits are of using cannabis. This guide will discuss the truth behind medical marijuana, cannabis has benefits for people with chronic illness or injury, and the reasons why many states are implementing medical marijuana programs through ballot measures and legislature.
What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana is the use of cannabis to treat physical or mental health conditions by relieving the user’s symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no difference between recreational marijuana and medical marijuana. Both types produce the same natural chemicals, active ingredients, and terpenes, although medical cannabis may be subject to stricter harvesting laws in states which allow both recreational and medical grow operations.
What are the active ingredients in medical marijuana?
Marijuana contains thousands of natural chemical compounds, each playing a role in its distinct psychoactive effect. However, there are two active compounds which are responsible for the most commonly sought effects from medical cannabis. These compounds are known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the most widely known psychoactive compound in marijuana. Researchers believe it’s responsible for the popular “high” feeling people seek when they use cannabis recreationally.
CBD is growing in popularity throughout the United States as research confirms it’s medical benefits. Unlike THC, CBD is not responsible for any psychoactive effects and is widely considered to be more medically beneficial than other natural chemicals in marijuana. For example, CBD is famously useful for treating epilepsy, as evidenced in the new cannabis-derived prescription drug Epidiolex that’s undergoing clinical trials.
What are common uses for medical marijuana?
Depending on the state, a person must exhibit one or more conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana to legally purchase the substance. Approved conditions vary between states, but the most common reasons people use medical cannabis include treatment for:
Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases
According to recent studies, CBD offers anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, antioxidant, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antiemetic properties. For these reasons, some medical professionals suggest CBD may be beneficial for patients with Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, fetal hypoxia, and other movement disorders or neurodegenerative conditions.
However, it’s important for individuals to remember that medical cannabis is still in its earliest stages of research due to historical bans on studies with the substance. Studies may suggest a wide range of benefits from using medical cannabis, but further clinical research is needed to confirm many of these claims.
Does medical marijuana have side effects?
Relatively minimal side effects are one of the major reasons some patients pursue medical cannabis treatments as an alternative to prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. However, there are a few adverse effects users should be aware of if they treat their conditions with medical marijuana, especially at higher doses.
When used in low or moderate doses, medical cannabis can lead to side effects like dry mouth and fatigue. These effects will pass over the course of the drugs duration, and shouldn’t have any long-term impact on the user’s health.
At higher doses, medical marijuana can cause side effects like:
Visual or auditory hallucinations
Some medical professionals have expressed concerns about medical marijuana use among teenagers because of the increased risk to their immature brains and neurological systems. If a person’s neurological functions are not fully developed, they may have an increased risk of schizophrenia or a relative loss of IQ if exposed to marijuana. For this reason, most medical professionals agree adolescents should avoid medical marijuana use.
Additionally, there is widespread public concern about driving under the influence of medical cannabis. Using medical marijuana can reduce a person’s reaction time similarly to alcohol, leading to a higher rate of motor vehicle accidents among drivers who are under the influence of cannabis.
Is medical marijuana legal?
At the time of writing, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis. In these 33 states, individuals with qualifying health conditions can receive a medical marijuana card to present at licensed dispensaries, letting them purchase cannabis according to the state’s restrictions.
However, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug as determined by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). this makes cannabis illegal at the federal level, both medicinally and recreationally.
In states where medical cannabis programs are legal, participant are still required to get authorization from a medical professional stating that cannabis will adequately treat their medical conditions, and they must receive a prescription. It is illegal for a person to purchase medical marijuana in states with qualifying programs if they haven’t legally obtained a medical marijuana identification card.
How do patients purchase medical marijuana?
In states where medical cannabis is legal, specialized shops – commonly known as dispensaries – are licensed to sell campus. These dispensaries sell marijuana products in many forms, which may include Edibles, extracts, oils, and plant matter. Dispensaries are legally required to sell cannabis within the licensing state’s regulations and must require customers to present their medical marijuana cards before making transactions.