Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain, and more than 20 million who experience chronic pain say it interferes with their daily activities. Medical marijuana provides many benefits for those suffering from chronic pain, including, but not limited to nausea, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
In the United States, cannabis is still listed as a Schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. This classification indicates no proven medical benefits and could be addictive or dangerous when taken without proper supervision. However, medical cannabis is legal, in some form, in 29 states and the District of Columbia. This means more than half of U.S. adults can access cannabis to treat their ailments. Several states are currently working to build regulated medicinal cannabis markets and will come online within the next year.
Marijuana as Medicine
More than 50 peer-reviewed medical studies have been conducted on the potential medicinal benefits of cannabis. The consensus that emerged from these studies is that cannabis provides profound medical benefits. While most of these studies have focused on the benefits of the specific cannabinoid CBD, other major and minor cannabinoids, in conjunction with terpenoids, show tremendous promise in treating both physical and mental ailments. This synergistic, or “entourage effect” has proven beneficial in modulating the human immune system, promoting cerebral neuroplasticity, and in emotional and cognitive modulation, including learning and motivation, appetite, vascular function, and digestive function. Many states have embraced medical cannabis remedies and have established pathways to accessing this alternative medicine.
Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana
A state-issued medical cannabis card allows adults with certain qualifying conditions to purchase and use medical cannabis. Medical marijuana is still federally illegal but has been decriminalized or legalized in some states to treat specific qualifying ailments.
Board-certified physicians can prescribe cannabis as a treatment and make recommendations to their state cannabis regulatory body on the issuance of a medical marijuana card. Medical cannabis applicants are required to provide written documentation from their health care providers before applying for a card. In order to be eligible for a medical marijuana card, applicants must suffer from one of the qualifying conditions established by their individual state. The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana cards vary from state to state.
The following are common conditions recognized by most states as qualifying for a medical marijuana prescription and card:
- Multiple Sclerosis or other neurological disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Severe nausea associated with chemotherapy or other difficult to tolerate medications
- Wasting Syndrome
For other qualifying ailments and information about individual state cannabis laws and regulations, applicants can check their status here.
Obtaining a Medical Cannabis Card
Obtaining a medical cannabis card can be difficult for some people, but it is the only way to legally access medical cannabis. Obtaining a medical marijuana card is a process that varies from state to state. To register for a medical card, applicants must typically visit their physician to complete an assessment of their condition. These qualifying conditions are traditionally listed on the state health department’s website. In most states, applicants also need to provide proof of residency. This can be done by presenting a valid state-issued form of identification.
Since laws governing medical cannabis access vary by state, obtaining the correct information and finding the right doctor to sign off your application can be challenging. Leafy Doc is an online solution for determining qualification for a medical marijuana card. Leafy Doc enables applicants, depending on individual state regulations, to obtain medical marijuana cards online. A qualifying physician can offer a virtual office visit, preventing the hassle of an in-person visit. In addition, Leafy Doc has an in-house doctor who is ready and willing to help at any time.
Where to Purchase Medical Marijuana?
Once an applicant has obtained a medical marijuana card, purchasing medical marijuana is a fairly simple process. Visiting a local medical marijuana dispensary, or provisioning center, and speaking with a budtender is recommended. Discussing a specific condition, and the desired outcome, with a trained professional will allow cannabis patients to identify the ideal cannabis strains to address their ailment.
For the infirmed, and those facing ambulatory or mobility challenges, online medical marijuana purchasing and medical marijuana delivery present viable options. Leafy Mate allows medical marijuana patients to locate dispensaries in their local community, or elsewhere, depending on travel needs or restrictions.
Types of Marijuana Medicine
A robust medical marijuana market provides many consumption options for patients. Dried cannabis flower remains the most popular marijuana product and can be either smoked – heated to the point of combustion and inhaled through the lungs – or vaporized – heated until the flower’s essential oils convert to vapor for inhalation. Cannabis derivatives come in various forms. Cannabis oil-based extractions can be vaporized for fast-acting, potent consumption. Vaporizer tools, such as pens and dab rigs, are required to heat these derivatives appropriately. Popular cannabis extracts are wax, crumble, butta, shatter, and live resin. These derivatives are produced using solvents.
Popular among medical consumers, solventless extracts avoid the use, and residual presence, of harsh solvent chemicals. Solventless rosin uses only heat and pressure to extract the cannabis plant’s healing cannabinoids and terpenes. For those adverse to inhalation-based consumption, marijuana edibles present a popular alternative. These derivatives come in the form of baked goods or gummies infused with cannabis extracts. Tinctures, capsules, and transdermal topicals round out the alternative medical marijuana options.
Patients can legally procure any of these medical cannabis products with a medical marijuana card. Many dispensaries and provisioning centers use loyalty programs to develop strong relationships with their medical customers. Leafy Rewards is one such solution. Leafy Rewards allows customers to earn cashback rewards, to be applied toward their next purchase.
Medical marijuana can help patients effectively manage various medical conditions without the threat of the harsh side-effects associated with pharmaceuticals. It is important, however, for medical marijuana patients to research appropriate procurement and use before applying for a medical card. Not all municipalities within a medical marijuana state allow for consumption and have been granted the right to opt out of medical marijuana programs. Compliance with both state and local regulations will ensure safe and legal medical marijuana use.