Six months after Oklahoman residents voted on the legalization of medical marijuana, a flood of positive results have become evident. Since August when they first passed the bill, 60,000 patient applications received an approval for the use of medical marijuana. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority heads this department, and it has witnessed quite the success story for a state of only 3.943 million people.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana License in Oklahoma
First, the patient will have to apply through application. After they have applied and received approval from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, they will have to pay $100 to receive the license. Based on State Question 788, patients must be over the age of 18 to apply, and they need a note from their doctor.
Shift in Public Opinion on Medical Marijuana
Oklahoma lists as a deeply red state. Considering how the right historically never supported the legalization of marijuana, the fact that voters at public polls in the midterm primaries agreed to legalize medical marijuana shows that the opinions of marijuana could be transitioning to a potential for recreational legalization in the future. With the approval of medical marijuana, Oklahoma now becomes the 30th state in the nation to approve medical marijuana access on a broad scale. As of right now, you have a total of 33 states to approve it.
The only states where medical marijuana remains prohibited include South Dakota, Idaho and Nebraska. Everywhere else has become okay with it on some level even if the state still limits the THC content. Surprisingly, unlike Texas, Oklahoma doesn’t choose to limit the THC content.
How The Medical Marijuana Bill Has Been Passed
You still have some fair limitations with the medical marijuana bill. For example, employees aren’t allowed to possess or use medical marijuana while at school or during the school hours, even if they have a medical marijuana license. A student who has the license may use and access medical marijuana according to the restrictions granted to them.
While school personnel cannot legally administer the drug to students, schools will offer a private location where the caregiver can administer it to the students at the school. The caregiver will be held responsible for administering the drug, and they will also have a responsibility to remove it from the premises after consumption takes place. Any students or employees found in violation of this law could face disciplinary measures.
Other Limitations on Medical Marijuana
The original bill that first got signed into effect on March 12, 2019, had many restrictions around it. As a deeply red state, that was to be expected, but they did start to loosen the grip on some of these measures. Still, you do have some limitations that you may want to be aware of with this law.
Based on the the bill, those working in safety-sensitive environments won’t be allowed to consume medical marijuana while on the job. Under the bill’s written definition, a safety-sensitive work environment includes:
Working with hazardous materials
Working with pharmaceuticals
Operation of motor vehicles or heavy equipment
Repairs or maintenance where the person could cause serious injury if the vehicle gets improperly repaired
Working with flammable or volatile materials
Keep in mind, this list is by no means comprehensive, but if you can imagine a job where safety is critical, you don’t want someone working on something while they’re under the influence. That seems like common sense.
How Does the Medical Marijuana Law Classify “Under the Influence”?
For workers who enter the workplace while under the influence, employers could take adverse action against them even in non-safety-sensitive environments. The bill doesn’t give a clear definition of what, “Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana” means. Based on the Oklahoma Drug and Alcohol Testing Act, employers have a list of the potential circumstances where they have “for-cause” testing.
This Act will also provide employers with some level of guidance for observations to show that the employee was under the influence. They can run a checklist to ensure that everything checks out.
Some Things Remain Illegal under SQ788
You have a couple of things that still remain illegal to medical marijuana patients even under SQ788. As a medical marijuana patient, you should remain aware of these things because of how it could have a big impact on you. You don’t want to cross paths with the law. For example, because the federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, doctors can’t legally prescribe this.
They would classify as “aiding and abetting a patient” if they were to help them obtain marijuana. Because of this, patients can’t discuss marijuana strains, dosages or a specific marijuana product to treat an ailment because it is seen as illegal. Doctors will also fill out a form to show that the risks of medical marijuana were discussed before they undertook the treatment.
Patients should also remain aware that they cannot transport their medication across state lines. While you can use your card to purchase in other states, you can’t bring anything back to Oklahoma with you. In addition, you can’t travel to a state where it has been legalized, such as California and bring it back to Oklahoma with you. That still classifies as illegal.
In addition, wherever tobacco has been prohibited, you can also consider medical marijuana as prohibited. This protects those who don’t want to inhale the smoke or deal with the smoke. Be aware that after you have obtained your medical marijuana license, you can’t give away your marijuana to other people under SQ788. You can’t even give it away to other patients under SQ788.
As a licensed patient, you may be allowed to grow it on your own property, but you can’t grow it outdoors. If you do grow it outdoors, you will first need to have your plants surrounded by a six-foot fence so that others don’t see it. The fence must also remain under lock and key for it remain legal. For all crop yields that exceed eight ounces, it will classify as illegal. You will need to either process the crop or destroy it. Patients are allowed to process edibles and concentrates on their own, but they can’t perform extractions with butane.
Based on SQ788, you can’t try the product before you buy it. The law leaves no room on this. As a patient, you shouldn’t expect a sample like what you might have been able to get with CBD shops.
Finally, you have to be aware of rules from your landlord. Patients can’t smoke on a property where it has been deemed prohibited. Even with your Oklahoma medical marijuana card, SQ788 still prohibits this. Any rule that prohibits smoking will mean that you can’t smoke on the property. Still, a landlord can’t restrict you growing plants on the property if you have a medical marijuana license. If they wish to include a clause, however, that prohibits the growth of plants, they can stipulate the limitation.
In some cases, you may be allowed to smoke in certain places like out on the balcony or on the patio. This depends on what the landlord has placed in the clause. Instead of fighting it out with the landlord, however, you might explore some of your options for where you might be allowed to smoke cannabis. This can prevent a lot of misunderstandings and fights from cropping up.
Understanding the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Policy
You should understand the policy in Oklahoma as much as possible. While revisions have been made to the law to make usage easier, the policy has also stated how if federal funds get jeopardized, the stance on marijuana used medically could change in a heartbeat. If the federal funding gets jeopardized, a cease and desist implementation of the policy will come into effect almost immediately.
The Taxes Placed on Medical Marijuana
As stated before, you will first have to pay $100 for the application fee. After you have paid $100, you will be eligible for the use of it. When you go to the vendors to buy it, however, a seven percent retail tax will be applied to the sales of all marijuana used medically. First, they will put the funding from the taxes towards the implementation and the regulation of medical cannabis. After they have taken the taxes from that, the remainder will be directed towards, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and education.
One of the things that we have to remember with medical cannabis in Oklahoma is that the laws could change in a fast hurry. We have to remain aware of that. If this deeply red state finds that it inconveniences them to keep this policy on, they have retained the right to change the policy at any time. Changes could also go in the direction of the positive. For example, republican Governor Mary Fallin said last week that she felt prepared to call on state legislature into a special legislative session where they would recreational marijuana for the Sooner State. Governor Fallin has said that she respects the will of the voters, and if they want to legalize it at the recreational level, voters would have her approval.
In a deeply red state, you can expect some level of opposition to medicinal marijuana. Even Fallin received some backlash for her willingness to legalize recreational marijuana. Some of the vocal opponents to it included Oklahoma Senator James Lankford who even appeared in a TV advertisement urging voters not to approve medicinal marijuana. You have other groups ardently opposed to medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana. The groups in staunch opposition to it include:
Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association
Oklahoma State Medical Association
Oklahoma State District Attorneys’ Association
While you have some indication of support for medicinal and recreational marijuana, you still have some staunch critics of it who will continue to campaign against it. You have an additional challenge that some voters have faced. For example, the voters in some communities talked about how they were given ballots that didn’t even include the medical marijuana question.
Indications of a Shift
One of the most noteworthy indications of a shift in public opinion comes from the fact that legislation passed this measure in a strongly red state during a primary election. During that season, the voter turnout tends to be those who are older and more conservative than at the general elections. The fact that this passed even during a primary election shows that public policy and opinion on medical marijuana and marijuana in general could be shifting towards the potential for recreational legalization.
It shows us that support for approval exists at all ends of the spectrum, and it spans the political and demographic possibilities.
The History of Medical Cannabis in the Sooner State
As soon as 2016, legislature attempted to pass a bill for medicinal marijuana, but because of a dispute on the ballots over the title of it, they didn’t settle it in time for it to make it on the ballot in 2016. That could be one of the reasons that they didn’t approve it even sooner.
When Governor Fallin placed the measure on the bill in the June 26th primary, many supporters of medicinal marijuana saw this as an effort to sink its chances. When the bill surprisingly passed, Governor Fallin changed her own public policy on it because she saw how many people were in favor of legalization at least at the medicinal level.
Lack of Comprehensive Programs
Like several other states around the country, Oklahoma lacks favorable medicinal marijuana programs. They’ve already passed a law where it restricts access to non-psychoactive cannabis extracts. That’s a big choice because of how this could have a negative impact on those who have seizures and other problems.
Who Qualifies for Medicinal Cannabis?
Oklahoma laws differ from other states with medicinal marijuana because they don’t set any qualifying conditions for the use of this drug. Instead, the law states that they will hand this out according to accepted standards and based on what a reasonable and prudent doctor might prescribe. Before anyone can receive approval for the use of medicinal marijuana, they will first have to get the signed approval from a doctor. In addition, all applicants must be over the age of 18 if they will qualify for it.
Nevertheless, the state has agreed to accept those under the age of 18 who have received the approval and signatures from two state-licensed doctors. They will also need their parent or legal guardian to sign off on it.
When approval has even come from a state that has deep republican influence, it hows us how the support for medical marijuana and even recreational marijuana could soon be changing. We could soon see an increased level of support for it. Understanding some of the laws surrounding it, however, can help you to stay within the legal bounds of the law to ensure that you don’t overstep your boundaries when it comes to these laws.
A Comprehensive Guide to the History of Medical Marijuana and Its Current Benefits Today
Many politicians and the general public have been scrutinizing marijuana for the past couple of months with the legalization of hemp, which is derived from the cannabis plant, in the Farm Bill of 2018. Hemp doesn’t get you high, but it does have the properties to help you feel better. This is the exact same reason why some forms of medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
Oklahoma was the most recent state to pass medical marijuana laws, with 90% of the voters in support of medical cannabis. The passing of this law in such a conservative state proves that cannabis, marijuana, and all its forms are slowly but surely becoming mainstream. The use of marijuana can be a bit tricky because what is accepted in some states, may be different from what is acceptable in another state. On top of that, the federal government still sees marijuana as illegal so there is still some bit of confusion. This is the reason why people need to learn more about this all natural and alternative drug therapy. Read on below to find out more about it.
Looking Back to History
The legal history of marijuana has placed it in the Schedule 1 Category of Drugs, which is deemed as the most dangerous forms of drugs by the Federal Government. People tend to lose their control when they take these drugs that have absolutely no medical value. On top of that, they are habit forming. Other drugs that used to share the spot with marijuana are heroine, ecstasy, and cocaine, which can all severely affect the health of people who take them. But now, medical marijuana is legal in many areas, and it is considered an alternative and all natural solution to many diseases and chronic illnesses.
Now, the questions begs to be asked, if marijuana has a lot of medicinal benefits which can be traced as far back as the ancient Greek period and the Chinese Dynasties, how did it end up in the Schedule 1 list of banned substances? To understand the whole scenario, only history can answer the mystery. In the early 1900s, post Mexican Revolution, there was an influx of Mexican immigrants into bordering states like Texas and Louisiana. These new migrants possessed their own language, culture, and traditions. One of these controversial customs was the use of cannabis as a medicine and relaxant.
These new migrants referred to this plant as “marihuana”, while Americans were familiar with this plant as “cannabis” because it was present in all tinctures and medications at that time. Because people are generally fearful of something knew, they began to think negatively of these people and their customs, failing to realize that they already have this plant in their medicine cabinets. The demonizing of the cannabis plant is akin to the banning of opium many years before as an attempt to control the Chinese immigrants who brought into the US soil.
Controlling and Restricting the “Illicit” Substance
As callous as it may sound, the idea of making marijuana evil was to search, detain, and eventually deport these immigrants back into Mexico. In the 1930s several hearings regarding marijuana laws were conducted, and controversial testimonies made claims that marijuana use was the reason colored men transformed to become more violent and sexually explicit. This became the driving force of the Marijuana Act of 1973, which banned marijuana use and sales.
Years later, this act was rendered as unconstitutional, but it was just taken over by the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s. This is responsible for establishing the Schedules that people are now familiar with today. The drugs are classified according to their possible negative effects to the takers, as well as their propensity for turning the takers into addicts. Cannabis was then placed in the most restrictive classification, the Schedule 1. It was supposedly temporary as they tried to make sense out of the plant, its properties, and its possible benefits.
Back then at the around same period, the Schafer Commission, which was formally known as the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, was appointed by President Nixon to carry out the much needed research. The Schafer commission issued a report on their findings in 1972, declaring that marijuana should not even be in the Schedule 1 and that they doubted its identification as an illegitimate substance. Unfortunately, this report was ignored by the White House and they disregarded the recommendations contained therewith, which is why marijuana remained in Schedule 1.
The First Sign of Progress Towards Approval
The decriminalization of marijuana was first felt in the state of Oregon in 1973. This means criminal penalties with personal marijuana use became more lax. Many other states followed Oregon, lowering the sting from anti-marijuana laws. But decriminalization is not the same as legalization because the latter not only allowed individuals to possess marijuana, they also permit legal production and sale of the substance.
It was only in 1996, when the notion that marijuana was an insignificant substance with no medical value was put to a grand and public test. The state of California at that time pushed for the approval of the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, stating that it has thousands of years in history as a natural healing and therapeutic agent across many countries and cultures. Opponents of medical marijuana insist that the risk of abuse is high and there is not enough research to warrant marijuana use for medical purposes, but its long history was used as basis for evidence regarding its medical efficacy.
Imagine, for many decades, marijuana was banned in all the 50 states of the United States of America. But with the approval of medical marijuana in California, other states slowly began to see this plant’s many benefits. Just like dominoes that are lined up, as the first domino toppled, it caused a chain reaction that made one fall on top of the other. What began as decriminalization, ended up in legalization, and now, marijuana use is slowly being accepted as the norm.
That being said, the marijuana plant as a whole remains as a controlled substance under the federal law. Marijuana is still illegal for the federal government and that can create a bit of confusion. Even if states have legalized some form of marijuana use, the government can prosecute violations of applicable federal laws. To illustrate, even if a patient has a prescription, the TSA or Transport Security Administration will not allow cannabis in anyone’s luggage.
Currently, the US FDA or food and drug administration has not approved the marijuana plant as a medicine for treating a specific condition. However, there are now two FDA-approved medications with cannabinoids in pill form. For example, Epidiolex with cannabinoids is used for helping alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy. Cannabinoids are the chemical components that can be found in cannabis or marijuana. Now, there is continued research in the hopes to provide more medication coming from this natural source.
Marijuana Use Today
All except four states have drafted some kind of medical marijuana law. That being said, only 16 states permit the legal utilization of cannabidiol (CBD) or medical cannabis that has very low tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) concentration on its ingredient list. CBD and TCH are both chemical components of the cannabis plant. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce any of feared mind-altering changes like mental highs, hallucinations, and addiction. THC, in contrast, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that causes all those alterations.
These 16 states are not included in the count of states that have legalized medical marijuana because of their strict laws the has levied limits on the form and manner of how marijuana can be used and dispensed for medicinal purposes. Thirty-three states, however, permit patients to have broader access to marijuana use to treat their medical ailments.
Ten states and Washington DC have cannabis laws that permit legal use of marijuana for both medical and recreational reasons. In those jurisdictions, individuals do not need a prescription to avail of marijuana. As a potential user, it is the responsibility of the person procuring marijuana to read up on the laws to make sure that what he or she is doing is legal in the state and federal level. Ignorance of the law excuses no one.
The Low Down on the States
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia:
District of Columbia
States that permitted restricted use only are the following: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana uses the cannabis plant or its chemicals in treating many conditions, illnesses, and diseases. The plant contains hundreds of different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each of them have different effects on the body. Research suggests that some of these cannabinoids are actually similar to chemicals that already exist in the body or that the body makes, which are involved in affecting memory, movement, pain, and appetite. These cannabinoids affect people when they connect with cells called receptors. As such, medical marijuana is used to treat many of the following conditions:
Disease’s of the mind like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease
Mental health issues like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia
It can impede sell growth to help arrest cancer tumor growth, including its symptoms and effects of its treatments
It is used to treat disease of the immune system like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, HIV, and AIDS
It addresses pain, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and the like
Addresses seizure disorders like epilepsy
It can treat inflammation, glaucoma, Chrohn’s disease, Wasting syndrome, and many more
Take note that there are numerous kinds of cannabis strains but all of them are collectively called as cannabis. Since many different types of cannabis plant and its plant derivatives share the same name, the term medical cannabis is so easily misunderstood. A cannabis plant can consists of up to more than 400 different chemical components. Hundreds of these are cannabinoids. To illustrate, government approved cannabis medications contain only one or 2 chemicals. It is vital that patients verify and discuss their treatment paths with their medical professionals to be clear on all the possible effects of each ingredient.
Possible Side Effects of this Alternative Medication
Just like pharmaceutical drugs, medical marijuana is also reported to have some side effects. Some of them are bloodshot eyes, low blood pressure, hallucinations, fast heart rate, light headed feeling, and mild depression. It has also been noted to affect judgement and coordination, which has the potential to result in accidents and injuries. If used in children and teens who are still growing, it has the capacity to affect their IQ and mental development. Take note that all these side effects vary. Not every effect will be felt and the degree to which it manifests also varies. Doctors will prescribe medical marijuana only after careful consideration of the patient’s history. Sometimes, the side effects are minimal and the benefits far outweigh the negatives, so treatment is continued.
Can Patients Get Addicted to It
Unfortunately, doctors don’t have data about the addiction risk for people who use marijuana for medical purposes. This is rather ironic because cannabis has been around as an alternative herbal form of treatment for many centuries. Now, this area is still considered a new branch of science that needs more study.
Additionally, there have not been many tests and experiments conducted on a large group of people. And scientists need a lot of test participants to generate reliable data from which they can draw conclusions from. Since marijuana was under the Schedule 1 for so long, there has not been enough research and experiments conducted regarding it.
It must be noted, though, that people who used marijuana in the past to get a buzz can go on to misuse it when they are prescribed it for a medical condition. The most common problem is growing dependent on the drug. If patients abruptly stop using it, they can feel what are knows as symptoms of withdrawal.
How it is Medical Marijuana Used
There are many ways to take medical marijuana. You can:
Smoke the leaves like a cigarette
Inhale it via a vaporizer that transforms it into a fine mist
Eat it because it can come in a brownie, lollipop, candy, and even gummy bears
Apply it topically to the skin because it can come in a cream, lotion, oil, or spray
Use a tincture by placing a few drops of the liquid sublingually (or underneath the tongue)
Take note that how a person takes it can depend on the recommendation of the doctor or personal preference. Each mode of intake has a different effect on the body. Smoking and inhaling cannabis have very quick reaction times. If it is ingested, it will take much longer because it needs to pass through the digestive system. The same holds true for topical application as it takes awhile for the marijuana to be absorbed into the pores of the skin.
How to Get Access to Medical Marijuana
To gain complete access to medical marijuana, a patient needs a written prescription and recommendation from a board certified and licensed medical doctor in the state where it is legal. Take note that not all doctors are willing to recommend marijuana for medical use for patient treatment and care.
The condition of the patient must qualify for use of medical marijuana. Remember that each state has its own extensive list of descriptions of qualifying conditions. Some states may require their patients to get a medical marijuana ID card that states they are qualified users of medical marijuana. If a person has access to that card, he or she can easily buy medical marijuana at a store called a dispensary.
Where to Find Dispensaries
Dispensaries can be found in all states that has declared some form of marijuana to be legal. Note that there are only a few states that allow the dispensing of marijuana for recreational purposes. Dispensaries vary in location, services, and strains that they offer. They have different partner networks with hemp growers, so make sure to do your research and go to a reputable one that sources their main ingredient from sustainable and organic growers with legitimate farming practices.
Some dispensaries have a brick-and-mortal presence, some sell online only, and some have both actual retail stores and e-stores. Some dispensaries have doctors, naturopaths, and nurse practitioners on site because they offer medical marijuana. But some states have allowed recreational use so there are dispensaries that offer no medicinal value. There are many apps and websites that can help consumers find the dispensaries nearest to their location. Some of these apps and sites even go the extra mile to give product reviews and personal testimonials from happy CBD users.
The use of medical marijuana can no longer be stopped, with more states legalizing it. Soon, the federal government might just get on board once they see that this alternative herbal drug has more healing benefits than its pharmaceutical counterparts. Any person who is seeking to purchase marijuana has the responsibility to research state laws. It is vital to be aware of the possible side effects. Responsible marijuana use is encouraged so as not to succumb to addiction.
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.
In June of 2018, Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize the sale and use of medical marijuana to licensed patients and caregivers within its borders. This is impactful on many levels. Alongside medical marijuana possession limits, a license-holder may possess up to one ounce of concentrate and up to 72 ounces of edibles.
This exciting news is giving rise to more than just medical marijuana. Products containing CBD and THC, like bath bombs, Raw Flower Extract, and edibles are also on the rise.
Components of Cannabis
We’re going to wax a little science-nerd here, but we’ll make it as painless as possible. CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol, while THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. Both are constituents of the cannabis and industrial hemp plants. There are some distinctions to be made in the different kinds of CBD and whether it’s combined with THC.
Cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis or industrial hemp plant. Industrial hemp has negligible amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol and no part of the plant will get you high. Some cannabis strains are grown with low tetrahydrocannabinol, specifically for enhanced pain relief without the psychoactive effects.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the major psychoactive component of cannabis. This is what accounts for the euphoria experienced with marijuana use and some THC-containing products.
With some health conditions, relief can only be obtained by the combination of CBD and THC. Not only does cannabidiol deliver its own payload of symptom relief, but it can block or balance the psychoactive properties of THC. This is good news if you are a person who is made uncomfortable by the high that comes from THC products.
When it comes to cannabidiol, there is the isolate form and the whole flower form. The isolate form is just like it sounds. The cannabidiol is isolated from the other components of the plant and used alone. Some people’s health conditions respond better to this form of CBD.
If yours is not one of those conditions or you are taking CBD for general wellness, you are better off using the raw flower form of CBD. To help explain why, let’s talk about Raw Flower Extract.
Raw Flower Extract
Raw Flower Extract is the result of extracting methods that process the whole flower in its raw, complete form. No stems or leaves are used in this process. The extract is water soluble rather than being oil-based. Don’t expect Raw Flower Extract to have a clear appearance. It is normal for it to have some color variations and you may see some plant material.
You can use Raw Flower Extract directly and enjoy all the benefits. It can also be an ingredient in other things you buy or make. Layering multiple delivery methods can help keep you even and fill in any gaps in your regimen.
The Entourage Effect
The most exciting part about Raw Flower Extract is what is known as The Entourage Effect, which is the synergistic interaction of using all parts of the flower together. More than 480 natural components working together provide far greater results than isolated compounds working alone. Some of these compounds are naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. We get a lot of these compounds outside of cannabis as well.
For instance, flavonoids are responsible for the bright, non-green colors we see in plants, such as the red pop of strawberries or the inky hue of blackberries. These powerhouses have antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits, which are especially pronounced in cannabis.
Terpenes sound exotic, but we have unknowingly experienced them in fruits and flowers. Examples of common terpenes are the limonene found in citrus fruits and the linalool found in lavender. Many of us have enjoyed the therapeutic effects of terpenes in the form of aromatherapy.
All of these work together to provide a balanced, longer-lasting, more powerful effect. Think of enhanced, gentle relief from pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, acne, epilepsy, nausea, or the effects of MS. These are just the tip of the iceberg as far as conditions cannabis products can help relieve. The list is growing all the time as more and more people in the mainstream begin using cannabis and hemp products.
Groovier Bath Bombs
Don’t you just love it when a good thing gets even better? Regular bath bombs just got one-upped by CBD/THC bath bombs. They are every bit as dreamy as they sound.
In case you’re not familiar, bath bombs are commonly ball-shaped, dry concoctions of sodium bicarbonate and crystallized citric acid. These two magic-makers are usually mixed with essential oils and colorants to great effect. They are designed to fizz when they hit the water and release their wild colors and scents within about five minutes. The aim of these bath bombs is to provide you with a fun, relaxing bath time that is good for the skin and olfactory senses. Think of them as aromatherapy with color and bubbles.
If you were thinking that sounded amazing, this is going to blow your mind. Now you can get them with CBD alone or in combination with THC. Relaxation has ascended to new heights. The best ones are made with Raw Flower Extract.
These cannabis-enriched bath bombs not only relieve inflammation and pain, but ease depression and anxiety. They provide nutrition to the skin and help repair damage caused by free radicals. They can help you even out your mood, get ready for sleep, and soothe body aches. Your skin will be glowing as you glide happily toward bed.
Bath bombs are very user-friendly. Simply draw your bath and toss it in. Within five minutes, it will have dispersed and you can get in. You’ll want to soak for 20-30 minutes to get the most benefit.
Will Cannabis Bath Bombs and Other Topicals Get You High?
This is, understandably, a burning question. The simple answer is no. Cannabis-infused bath bombs and other concoctions you can apply to your skin are known as topicals. Topicals containing CBD and/or THC are absorbed through the skin, but do not enter the bloodstream.
The cannabidiol will not get you high in any form. While the THC is known for being the major psychoactive component of cannabis, you’d have to smoke it, vape it or eat it in order for it to interact with your brain. It must enter the bloodstream in order to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
So what do you get? You get the pain relief, the calm, and all the other good things that cannabis is known for.
Buy or Make
You can buy ready-made bombs from your dispensary or even online. A quick search on the Internet will yield a bevy of vendors from which to buy. The crafty ones among us will be glad to know that there are plenty of recipes online for making your own bath bombs. This means you can have ultimate control over colors and scents, which includes not using any at all.
Colorants and Cleaning
Natural colorants are preferred because many people are sensitive to dyes. You also want to make sure they won’t stain your skin or the tub. A good rule of thumb is that any cleaner with a surfactant (even body wash) will remove colorants from your tub. If you happen to get a stubborn color, don’t panic. A paste made of lemon juice and sodium bicarbonate should do the trick. A little elbow grease wouldn’t hurt either. The Ease of Edibles
Edibles are a wonderful option for those who are concerned about lung irritation or need to extend the duration of their relief. No other method of administration provides longer-lasting relief than edibles.
Since this form of delivery is eaten rather than inhaled, it goes through the liver and releases its benefits as it is digested. This slower, more metered relief may arrive in as early as 30 minutes or may take as long as two hours. While smoking or vaping deliver faster results, the relief derived from edibles can last 2-4 hours longer than inhalation methods. Layering edibles with other forms of CBD and THC can help fill in the gaps and provide a more complete relief than any one method alone.
Care should be taken with dosage amounts, especially with THC-containing edibles, so that you don’t accidentally consume much more than you intended. It’s pretty easy to thoughtlessly eat a whole brownie because that’s the standard serving size for a normal one.
Another caution is to keep any THC-containing edible items safely out of the reach of children and pets. Your incredible edibles are reserved for their intended audience and you have peace of mind.
If you are handy in the kitchen and feeling adventurous, you can make your own edibles. This is an especially good idea if you are sensitive to ingredients found in commercially-made products. Of course, if you know you could make amazing edibles, that is reason enough by itself.
You can make the typical brownies, cookies, and other baked goods, but there are nearly endless ways to add Raw Flower Extract to your food. The less you heat it, the better it will work. Too much heat can destroy the beneficial properties, so consider it as being similar to olive oil in its heat sensitivities.
You can use the extract to make canna-butter which can be added to food in an astonishing number of ways. You can add some extract to your morning coffee, but you’ll want to wait until after you’ve put your creamer in, so it’s a little cooler. If you like nut butter, you can add some to your serving before using it. You can add it to hummus and guacamole or put it in your condiments. The possibilities are nearly endless. There are so many canna-recipes online, you could blissfully tumble down this rabbit hole for days.
If you’re going to take up the quest to make your own edibles, some investigation into the proper amounts to use is recommended. It’s important to have some idea of how much cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol you are getting with each serving.
While being sick or in pain is never a happy situation, there has never been a better time for natural healing and pain relief. There are so many ways to add cannabis into your life. No one way will work for every person. The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, so we have attempted to cut through some of the noise to help you find options that may work for you and your situation.
We have covered Raw Flower Extract, cannabis-infused bombs for the bath, and the wide world of edibles. It is our hope that some of them (or maybe even all of them) can bring the relief that you or a loved one needs to get through the days and nights ahead.
At the end of the day, we have our own research and experimentation to take us a little further down the road. We can learn from our own experience and that of others. What’s more, we can contribute to the growing body of knowledge that can help others in this growing community.
In June of 2018, the State of Oklahoma passed SQ 788, which legalized the sale and use of medical marijuana within the state. This made it the 30th of the United States to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Applications for commercial and patient licenses became available in August of 2018, and the first Oklahoma dispensary opened its doors in October of that year.
Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program is still extremely new, and there is a chance that more rules and regulations may be added later on as the state adjusts to the new program. The current regulations are defined by the text of SQ 788. Individual cities and counties may also choose to pass their own commercial or zoning restrictions, although they are not permitted to make medical marijuana illegal in any part of Oklahoma.
All medical marijuana patient and caregiver licenses are administered by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, or OMMA; most rules and regulations can be found on their website at omma.ok.gov. Commercial grower, processor, and retailer licenses are managed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Cannabis Possession Law in Oklahoma
If you have a medical marijuana license in the state of Oklahoma, you can legally possess up to 3 ounces on your person and up to 8 ounces in your residence. You may also possess up to 1 ounce of concentrate and 72 ounces of edibles. Finally, you can have up to 6 mature plants and 6 seedlings, or designate a caregiver to grow those plants for you.
All marijuana, whether on its way to the dispensary or after the purchase, must be transported in a locked container that is clearly labeled “Medical Marijuana or Derivative.” This container must be kept shielded from public view, which means you can’t carry it on the street or leave it on the seat of your car. Legally possessed marijuana is still not allowed to be transported across state lines.
The State of Oklahoma has so far only legalized marijuana for medical applications. It is still unlawful to posses any form of cannabis without a license. Violators face a misdemeanor punishable with up to 1 year or a $1000 fine. However, persons found in possession of less than 1.5 ounces who can state a medical condition but do not have a license will only face a misdemeanor with a $400 fine.
All smokeable and vapeable substances are subject to the same restrictions set for tobacco under Oklahoma state law. This means that there can be no smoking on public transportation, in any workplace or indoor public place, or within 25 feet of the entrances to one of these places. Oklahoma City also bans smoking in all public parks and on other city-owned property; individual cities may have set their own smoking restrictions and bans.
Purchasing from an Oklahoma Dispensary
Oklahoma law dictates that medical marijuana may only be purchased directly from a licensed dispensary. Purchasers are required to show their patient or caregiver license. Aside from the possession limit of 3 ounces on person and 8 ounces at home, there are no restrictions on the amount of marijuana that can be purchased at one time. Dispensaries are also legally allowed to sell clones and seedlings, but no other commercial retailer is permitted to do so.
Individual cities in Oklahoma have passed their own zoning laws regarding where a dispensary may be built, which may limit the availability of cannabis in certain areas. Medical marijuana purchases are subject to a 7% tax on top of any existing state or city sales taxes.
Like many states, Oklahoma has requested that marijuana be transported in a sealed and marked container. However, the state has not laid down specific regulations regarding the nature of this container, which leaves dispensaries and customers open to provide their own exit packaging. Some dispensaries may choose to mandate a specific exit packaging to make sure that they comply with regulations.
All medical marijuana products must be properly labeled. This labeling includes the Oklahoma Uniform Symbol, which will identify all products containing marijuana. The symbol has to be at least half an inch by half an inch in size and printed in color. The chosen symbol is a red icon containing an exclamation point and a marijuana leaf, with the text “Contains THC” and “not safe for kids or pets” underneath it. Packaging must be also be childproof, and cannot have a design that makes it attractive to children or minors.
Edible products have to follow existing laws and regulations for food safety. Marijuana used in edibles is considered an additive or an edible substance, not a dangerous or non-nutritive substance. All edibles must meet the usual food labeling requirements, including ingredients lists, nutrition facts, and allergy information. They also need have the dosage information in milligrams of THC and a list of cannabis ingredients, including the batch of marijuana used.
Applying for a Medical Marijuana License in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority accepts license applications from Oklahoma residents over the age of 18, and from minors applying with the assistance of a parent or guardian. Applicants must provide a doctor’s note signed within the last 30 days, a full-face photograph, proof of identity, and proof of residence. They must also sign a statement promising not to distribute marijuana to any unlicensed persons.
If the application is accepted, there is a $100 processing fee. The patient will be mailed a state-issued ID card with their information and a unique license number. The license should be mailed within 14 business days. Licenses are valid for two years after they are issued. If a minor turns 18 during this time, they must apply for a new license. Temporary licenses can be issued to patients who have medical marijuana licenses from another state. These temporary licenses are only valid for 30 days, and require an additional $100 fee to be renewed. Temporary licenses cannot be valid past the expiration date of the original out-of-state license.
OMMA also offers licenses for designated caregivers. The patient must submit a physician recommendation form that certifies their need for a caregiver in order to obtain the additional license; this need includes the patient being homebound, or incapable of purchasing and administering their own product. A caregiver is permitted to purchase and assist with the administration of medical marijuana, and may also grow and process the patient’s allotted plants. Patients can designate a caregiver during the application process, or choose to designate one later on. Patients may also request the withdrawal of any caregiver license that they are currently sponsoring.
Licenses issued to minors will also include the name of a parent or guardian, allowing that person to make purchases at the dispensary. A parent is not considered a caregiver for the purposes of obtaining a caregiver license; a physician must still certify that the patient is homebound and qualifies for a caregiver.
All OMMA license applications can be completed online. Applications and more detailed information can be found at omma.ok.gov.
Becoming a Recommending Physician
Oklahoman physicians may apply with OMMA to join a registry of recommending physicians. Registration is not necessary, but helps expedite the processing of applicants recommended by that doctor. Physicians must be board certified and in good standing with the state to provide recommendations. Medical students or physicians in residency do not meet this definition and are not eligible.
There is currently no list of conditions approved for treatment with medical marijuana. This means that doctors may make recommendations as they deem appropriate. Minor applicants require recommendations from two separate physicians.
Upon registration, physicians may choose whether to be publicly listed as a recommendation provider. This list is meant to assist patients looking for a recommending physician and can be found on the OMMA website.
Commercial Medical Marijuana: Becoming a Grower, Processor, or Retailer
In order to grow, process, or sell cannabis products in Oklahoma, you need to obtain a license from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. These applications include a business plan that addresses environmental, security, and staffing concerns. All applicants must be 25 years of age or older, and application fees are set at $2,500.
Licensed commercial growers may only sell to a licensed processor or retailer. There is currently no limit on the amount that they may grow or sell. Licensed processors are allowed to purchase cannabis from growers and distill it to make concentrate or edibles, which they may then only sell to a licensed retailer.
All licensees are subject to normal food and health safety standards as set by the State Department of Health. Possession of a license grants the state permission to perform inspections during normal business hours; this includes an annual random inspection, as well as additional unannounced inspections if complaints are received by the department.
If a commercial application is approved, the licensee will also receive a transportation license, allowing them to move medical marijuana products from one grower, processor, or dispensary to another. This license must be shown to local authorities as needed.
Once a dispensary or other licensed establishment has been opened, operators are required to submit a monthly report to the State Department. This report must include the amount of cannabis grown, processed, sold, or disposed of. Individual batches must be labeled and tracked with a batch number, and inventories must be maintained at all times. Failure to properly maintain and submit reports can results in fines or a revocation of the license.
If a commercial license is revoked, the establishment has up to 30 days to liquidate and transfer their assets to other licensed companies. After that point, any remaining cannabis on the premises must be surrendered and disposed of.
Medical Marijuana in the Workplace
Under the regulations set by OMMA, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees for possessing a medical marijuana license, or for testing positive for marijuana if they hold a license. This protection also extends to potential job applicants; if the employer chooses not to hire that candidate, it must be for another reason than their medical use of marijuana.
However, marijuana remains federally illegal, and individual employers are still permitted to enforce rules against the possession and use of cannabis products in the workplace. Employees should not go to work impaired, use medical marijuana on business property, or have cannabis products on their person while on the job. Drug tests may be conducted, but must comply with state regulations.
Medical Marijuana in Schools
Shortly after the amendment to legalize medical marijuana was passed, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction released a statement regarding how the new laws relate to Oklahoma’s school system.
No dispensary may be opened within 1000 feet of any public or private school in Oklahoma. This distance is determined by the nearest property line of the dispensary.
Minors are eligible to obtain a medical marijuana license with the signature of a parent or guardian. However, they are not allowed to self administer medical marijuana products on school grounds. School staff are also not permitted to administer the products. The state seems to have left it open to each individual school district to determine whether their policy allows parents to bring medical marijuana onto school grounds and administer it to the student themselves.