Medical marijuana now is legal in more than half the U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia. Part of the reason behind the trend is the growing amount of research on medical uses for cannabis, particularly for pain management.
Medical marijuana also has been found to help with such conditions as epilepsy, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
So if you think medical marijuana could help you, just how do you go about getting a prescription?
The first thing to know is that marijuana remains an illegal drug at the federal level. This means that all 28 states that have legalized medical marijuana have varying regulations about how it can be prescribed and sold.
However, a few basic steps are the same in most states. The following represents some steps you can take to get a medical marijuana prescription.
Medical Marijuana Cards: Are You Eligible?
The first step is to determine if the state where you live allows medical marijuana use for your specific condition. Some states limit use of cannabis for only specific conditions. Some states also limit the type of cannabis that can be used to cannaboid oil, rather than strains of marijuana that contain THC (the substance that causes the “high” feeling). Most states have the regulations posted online.
Go to the Doctor
Again, this varies by state. However, in most cases any licensed doctor can provide you a prescription for medical marijuana. In some places, a prescription also can be written by a physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner or psychiatrist. Check with your family doctor about how to go about the process. But the bottom line is you will need a prescription from a medical professional before taking the next step.
Register With the State
Many states require you to register as a medical marijuana patient. In most cases, they issue you an ID card after you have been placed in the state’s system. These are commonly called medical marijuana cards or MMJ cards for short. This keeps people from using prescriptions from other people to obtain marijuana and also helps the state track distribution and sales of medical cannabis.
Visit a Dispensary or Grow Your Own
Most people choose to go to a medical marijuana dispensary with their prescription. Professional dispensaries are staffed with people who can help you find the proper strain of marijuana or cannabis product that will best treat your condition or illness. That can include edibles and oils. Also, some states allow you to grow a small amount of marijuana in your home, should you prefer to go that route.
Those represent the basic steps for obtaining medical marijuana. Make sure to check out the specific rules in your state, which can vary on the type of ID required and products that can be purchased, for example.
However, with medical marijuana use continuing to rise, it’s worth your time to consider whether cannabis can help you better manage your condition than prescription drugs.