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.