Just about three out of four Americans believe marijuana has medicinal benefits. And, if you’re curious about how to get prescribed medical marijuana to experience these benefits, then you’ve come to the right place.
Right off the bat, you may have many questions on marijuana prescription. So, let’s address these right away.
For instance, is it possible to get a marijuana prescription? Well, things work a little differently in this spectrum of alternative medicine.
Essentially, your doctor can’t technically prescribe you cannabis as they would Advil or any other medicine. The reason is that marijuana is still considered a Schedule I substance under federal law. However, plenty of states have legalized medical marijuana.
What does it mean that medical marijuana is legal in your state?
It means that the state has legalized the medical use of marijuana for certain qualified patients. A person becomes a qualified patient when they’ve been approved by the state Medical Marijuana Program and given a Medical Marijuana ID Card; a proof of their right to medical marijuana treatment.
This card, sometimes referred to as a Patient ID, medical card or simply a ‘med card’, provides legal protection to patients when buying, using, and possessing marijuana as long as they comply with the rules of the state Medical Marijuana Program (MMP).
In most states, you need a marijuana prescription as the first step to getting a medical marijuana card.
How do you get a prescription in the first place?
Well, for starters, patients can consult with a specialized cannabis doctor who can prescribe medical marijuana. That way, a patient can be evaluated for treatment on the basis of their current condition and any previous unsuccessful treatments.
You should know that most states only allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients suffering from debilitating illnesses and medical conditions which are mandated by the state MMP. These are referred to as qualifying conditions, and your medical records must clearly state that you have been diagnosed with one or more of these conditions.
* * Please note, rules and qualifying conditions vary from state to state, you can find more information about medical marijuana in your state here.
Before taking on too much, take a moment to go through the highlights to get a gist of the questions that will be answered. If you are already familiar with a section feel free to skip ahead to a topic that interests you.
Alright, let’s get you highly informed about all you need to know about getting prescribed medical marijuana.
- What is a medical marijuana prescription?
- Medical marijuana prescription cost
- What is a medical marijuana card?
- Medical marijuana card cost
- Who can prescribe medical marijuana?
- Cannabis doctors
- What is a marijuana evaluation?
- How to get a medical card without medical records
- What is medical marijuana prescribed for?
- Side effects of marijuana
- How to talk to your doctor about MMJ
- Where to get a cannabis prescription
- Benefits of having a medical card
- Disadvantages of having a medical card
- Do you qualify for a medical marijuana prescription in your state?
- Documents to have ready when getting your medical marijuana prescription
- Where to get medical weed
- Forms of medical marijuana
- Key takeaways
What is a medical marijuana “prescription”?
As we mentioned earlier, there are no doctors who can prescribe marijuana because technically speaking there’s no such thing as a marijuana prescription. Instead, certain doctors are certified to recommend marijuana for medical use. In the eyes of the law, these are different things, but in reality, a recommendation works in pretty much the same way as a regular prescription.
This is the reason you might see other terms like cannabis certification, medical marijuana recommendation, MMJ certification, or MMJ recommendation being used instead. These are all the same thing.
It’s a medical document signed by a licensed cannabis doctor that recommends a patient to use medical marijuana for their treatment. Patients then use this recommendation to apply for a state-issued medical marijuana card.
What does the medical marijuana prescription cost?
The cost of a medical marijuana prescription varies from state to state; stretching from $49 to $250. It mostly depends on the cost of the doctor’s appointment and state fees. Unfortunately, some doctors charge excessively high prices for marijuana evaluations.
Undeterred by the fluctuation in prices, QuickMedCards is unfailing in offering the cheapest price on top of providing the best value regardless of the state you live in.
What is a medical marijuana card?
A medical marijuana card is a state-issued identification card that gives patients access to cannabis dispensaries and the ability to buy and use medicine with marijuana in it.
The medical marijuana card goes by several names such as medical card, MMJ card, cannabis card, MMID, medical weed card, or med card.
The medical marijuana card offers holders legal protection when found in possession of medical cannabis by law enforcement. As long as you keep your med card on you and stick to the MMP rules, you have nothing to worry about.
What does the medical marijuana card cost?
The cost of a medical marijuana card depends on the fees you need to pay to the state when submitting your application. State fees range from $0 to $150.
Also, patients pay renewal fees for their cards either annually or bi-annually.
Who can prescribe medical marijuana?
Doctors that prescribe medical marijuana go by many names, such as; cannabis doctors, MMJ doctors, marijuana doctors, or even pot doctors.
Despite these dubious sounding names, cannabis doctors undergo extensive vetting before they can recommend marijuana to patients.
All states need cannabis doctors to hold a special license that authorizes them to recommend MMJ.
This means that unless your primary care holds a marijuana license, they can’t give you a recommendation for marijuana treatment.
So who is a cannabis doctor anyway?
Most MMJ doctors are either medical doctors (MDs), naturopathic doctors (NDs or NMDs), nurse practitioners (NPs), or osteopathic doctors (DOs). But they contrast from their peers in similar fields by being more open to the idea of using medicinal cannabis for treatment.
Cannabis doctors have a wealth of experience in successfully treating many debilitating conditions with medical marijuana.
Some cannabis doctors view medicinal cannabis as either a complementary or alternative treatment—not the last resort.
Still, despite cannabis doctors’ openness to recommend you for medical marijuana, it’s unlikely that they certify you without properly looking into your medical history and condition.
Therefore, every patient seeking an MMJ certification for their medical card has to undergo a marijuana evaluation before approval.
What is a marijuana evaluation?
This is a medical consultation where a cannabis doctor assesses whether medical cannabis would be the best treatment option for a patient.
It used to be the case that marijuana evaluations had to be done in person. The doctor would have to do a thorough health checkup before they could proceed with the assessment.
Today, however, most states allow the use of telemedicine, meaning marijuana evaluations can happen online through a simple video call.
While most states embrace telemedicine, others still hold a preference for physical consultations; at least during a patient’s first marijuana evaluation.
Despite the obvious advantages of telemedicine (such as convenience and safety), there are some concerns cannabis doctors may have during an evaluation.
Top on the list is assessing whether a patient is in genuine need of medical marijuana. Often, MMJ doctors deal with this hurdle by requesting a patient’s medical records.
Having your medical records on hand not only speeds up the entire process but also helps the doctor decide which treatment to recommend. So, you should know how to get your medical records. It’s actually a very simple process.
Your medical records help justify your debilitating medical illness and need for cannabis treatment.
Even so, providing your medical records isn’t the end all be all to getting your marijuana prescription (MMJ certification). Patients lacking medical records can still get a marijuana prescription, but it might take a little while longer.
How to get a medical card without medical records
In truth, lacking medical records for a condition that’s a yoke around your neck shouldn’t stop you from getting a medical card.
So, below are certain issues to point out to your cannabis doctor to get your medical card without medical records:
- Your condition is severely impacting your life and those around you. For instance, your chronic pain makes it difficult for you to function properly at work; or your panic attacks make it impossible to socialize with your friends and family.
- Also bringing up that the side effects of conventional medication for your condition have grimmer side effects than those associated with medical marijuana use.
- Mentioning that you lack medical records because you didn’t always have access to healthcare is also a valid argument.
What is medical marijuana prescribed for?
Marijuana treats many chronic and debilitating conditions.
Although scientific research hasn’t yet concluded that it is a definite cure or the best treatment; preclinical trials and patient stories testify to medicinal marijuana use.
Marijuana’s two main cannabinoids (chemicals in MMJ), cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have plenty of therapeutic effects.
CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid (it doesn’t get you high) is especially favored in the medical field. Its medicinal properties include:
- Improving sleep
- Reducing spasticity
- Alleviating anxiety
- Relieving pain
- Managing epilepsy
THC conversely, causes the ‘high’. Yet, it also has medicinal benefits such as:
- Reducing pain
- Improving appetite
- Mitigating nausea
These properties of cannabis are useful in the treatment of:
- Chronic pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
This list only scratches the surface of the many conditions medical cannabis is used for.
Marijuana is favoured in the treatment and symptom management of these conditions among others, for two reasons. First, its side effects are usually far less severe compared to conventional medication used to treat the same conditions. Second, it has the ability to treat many symptoms at the same time.
Side effects of marijuana
Despite the benefits, marijuana is a mixed bag. And patients should expect some side effects after taking their medication. Some of the most common include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Heightened appetite (The munchies)
- Low blood pressure
- Potential for addiction
- Slower reaction times
- Impaired concentration and memory
How to talk to your doctor about MMJ
As mentioned earlier, there are some concerns that your doctor may have before prescribing marijuana.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that your cannabis doctor’s main goal is to ensure that you benefit from your cannabis treatment. So, they may channel some of their concerns in the form of questions directed at you.
Let’s have a look at some of the questions you should expect from your cannabis doctor. Also, we will look at potential responses and the reasons behind them.
Questions your cannabis doctor may ask during your marijuana evaluation
Question 1: Why do you think medical marijuana treatment is right for you?
How to answer: You could mention that your current medication is ineffective or that you’re experiencing adverse side effects from your current medicine.
Explanation: Because of the open-ended nature of this question, honesty in your response is all you need. Even saying that you read an article on the benefits of marijuana for your specific condition could be reason enough to seek it out as a treatment.
Question 2: Are you aware of the risks involved with marijuana use?
Answer: Yes, I’m aware. OR No, please explain the risks to me.
Explanation: Marijuana like any other drug does have its downsides and risks. So, it’s important to show your cannabis doctor that you are aware of them. This will likely send the message that you have a genuine need and will be a responsible user.
Question 3: Do you have a history of abusing marijuana or any other psychoactive or addictive drug?
Explanation: Continuous use of marijuana could lead to addiction. And no responsible doctor would recommend marijuana if it was likely that you would become easily dependent.
Question 4: For how long do you intend to use marijuana?
Answer: For how long would you recommend it?
Explanation: The duration of marijuana treatment largely depends on the condition being treated. Since most conditions that qualify for MMJ are chronic, long-term treatment is the way to go. Yet, in some instances, such as surgery, marijuana will be prescribed for the period when the patient is experiencing debilitating symptoms.
As expected, there may be other questions that your cannabis doctor might ask. Even so, we recommend being honest about your condition and what you hope to achieve from your treatment.
Where to get a cannabis prescription
Patients interested in getting their marijuana prescription can either get it online through telemedicine or by visiting a cannabis doctor near them.
Online: Through telemedicine
If you’re looking to get a marijuana card near you, regardless of where you live then a telemedicine appointment is your best option.
Goodbye to the nerve-wracking trip to the doctor’s office and long wait times!
Now all you need is a phone, tablet, or laptop with a stable internet connection for your online medical marijuana evaluation.
QuickMedCards is a great fit for this new age of medicine where the booking and consultation process is a breeze. Patients that choose us can enjoy the freedom of scheduling a time that suits them best. Also, true to our name, our marijuana recommendations are issued quickly in just a few minutes after the evaluation.
Locally: At a cannabis doctor near you
Some states require that patients visit their cannabis doctor in person, at least for their first visit. Then, all other visits can be handled through telemedicine afterwards.
In-person visits for QuickMedCards patients still feature compassion, quick service, and professionalism.
Our Arizona medical marijuana doctors are conveniently located in Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale. For our patients from the ‘Land of Enchantment’ seeking New Mexico medical marijuana doctors, we currently only serve Albuquerque. Finally, patients in Hawaii can visit us in Honolulu to get their 329 cards.
Consequences of getting a medical card
Being a medical marijuana cardholder has its pros and cons.
Benefits of having a medical card
Medical marijuana is cheaper compared to recreational weed in states where both have been legalized.
Largely because taxes on medical cannabis are significantly reduced whereas recreational weed is heavily taxed. As a result, recreational users end up spending a lot more on the same amount of marijuana that cardholders pay pennies for.
As an example, you may have heard of the recent marijuana legalization in New York. For all the fanfare, recreational weed in NY will be subject to 9% sales tax plus an additional 4% county and local tax. And that’s not all, there will also be extra tax depending on the level of THC. Estimates put the tax around 20% to 21%.
Now compare that with the 7% excise tax imposed on medical marijuana in NY.
It’s crystal clear that MMJ patients stand to save more than their recreational peers.
Immediate access to cannabis
Cardholders have immediate access to cannabis dispensaries when they receive their med card.
Conversely, recreational users have to be long-suffering and wait for state policymakers to give the green light for dispensaries to sell recreational weed.
Like New York, New Jersey also legalized recreational marijuana, but it may take months until residents can actually buy cannabis from a dispensary. Meanwhile, medical marijuana patients in NJ have access to marijuana from all dispensaries in New Jersey.
Lower age restrictions for buying and using cannabis
The lion’s share of recreational states have the minimum age for recreational pot set at 21.
But for medical marijuana, even minors under 18 may qualify for cannabis treatment if they meet the requirements by the various state MMP programs.
Access to medical-only cannabis dispensaries
With your medical marijuana card, you don’t have to worry about the long queues formed near recreational dispensaries. In addition, during lockdown medical dispensaries are considered essential and therefore still able to stay open.
Access to more potent strains of marijuana
As a medical cannabis patient you have access to stronger doses of marijuana than what’s allowed for recreational use.
But, it’s important to follow your cannabis doctors’ instructions since an extremely potent strain might lead to a not-so-relieving experience.
Stronger legal protection
Besides avoiding prosecution or arrest by law enforcement when found in possession of marijuana, you may also have protection from discrimination in the workplace, school, or rental residence. But, to enjoy these protections you must follow your state’s MMP rules.
You can use your medical card in another state
This is known as reciprocity and only a handful of states allow it.
Some states choose not to recognize out-of-state medical cards and few have too many restrictions for visiting patients to enjoy their programs.
Nonetheless, other medical states have robust reciprocity programs, and visiting patients get to enjoy the privileges of their medical marijuana programs (MMPs).
Higher buying, possession, and cultivation limits
In most medical states where recreational marijuana is legal, medical users enjoy the benefit of higher possession and purchasing limits; and in some cases, the convenience of growing their own plants.
Disadvantages of having a medical card
Having a medical marijuana card isn’t all roses, and you might find yourself at a disadvantage in certain situations. For example:
You can’t lawfully own a firearm: Owing to marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance, medical marijuana patients cannot own or buy firearms since they are users of a controlled substance.
With the exception of Pennsylvania, PA medical marijuana patients can own and buy guns thanks to state laws.
You can’t hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL): Due to the safety-sensitive nature of this occupation and marijuana’s effect on response time and coordination, medical cannabis patients cannot hold a CDL.
Medical Marijuana is not covered by your health insurance: Unfortunately, because medical marijuana is classified as a controlled substance and not a prescription drug, the cost of buying marijuana will not be covered by Medicaid or your health insurance.
Paying the annual renewal fees: Medical marijuana cardholders pay to renew their med cards either annually or bi-annually depending on the state they come from.
Also, patients must get a new marijuana prescription (MMJ certification) when renewing their med cards.
So, for a fresh marijuana prescription, QuickMedCards is the fastest solution to renew your medical marijuana card without any hassle.
Do you qualify for a medical marijuana prescription in your state?
Currently 35 U.S states have legalized medical marijuana up to this point. And, all these states have established their respective medical marijuana programs (MMPs) to govern the use of medical marijuana.
Click on your home state below to familiarize yourself with the qualifying conditions and other requirements that apply for you:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- West Virginia
Documents to have ready when getting your medical marijuana prescription
The following documents are essential when getting a marijuana prescription from one of our doctors:
- Proof of Identity: government-issued I.D, driver’s license, or U.S. passport
- Proof of residency: government-issued I.D showing address, a utility bill, lease agreement, or any other valid document showing your name and address.
- Medical records (optional): They include, medical progress notes, results from diagnostics (laboratory or x-ray results), medical history and examination, or prescriptions.
Where to get medical weed
By now you’ll have learned that medicinal marijuana cannot be prescribed like other conventional medicine. So how do patients get their medical marijuana?
Medical cannabis is only sold at state-mandated dispensaries and not pharmacies.
So what’s the difference between a marijuana dispensary and an ordinary pharmacy?
Pharmacies only fill prescriptions, not recommendations. Therefore, pharmacies cannot provide medicinal marijuana because it is not a prescription drug.
Dispensaries are different from ordinary pharmacies in that they sell marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia exclusively, whereas ordinary pharmacies stock a myriad of different drugs.
You can only enter a medical marijuana dispensary if you have a valid MMJ card and your identification documents (for example state ID). Very much unlike the experience in an ordinary pharmacy.
Forms of medical marijuana
The first thing that comes to mind with the mention of marijuana, is the bud or flower and how it could be rolled up and smoked. But that is just one form of marijuana.
Other forms of medical marijuana sold in cannabis dispensaries include:
Oils, extracts, and concentrates: This form of medical marijuana is refined and usually vaporized. An example is full extract oil which takes a few minutes for the effects to kick in.
Tinctures: A weed-infused liquid dropped under the tongue. It’s the best form of cannabis to determine the exact dosage. A popular example is the green dragon tincture.
Edibles: Cannabis edibles come in many forms such as cannabis chocolates, gummies, candies and cookies.
Topicals: Used to treat localized pain and are applied to the affected area. Usually comes in the form of gels, lotions, and creams.
Transdermal patches: This form of marijuana is stuck to the skin and slowly releases cannabinoids into the bloodstream. Similar to a nicotine patch.
Pills and capsules: These are digested and it takes a while to notice the effects, however, once you do the effects last longer than other forms of administering cannabis.
All these options are bound to overwhelm first-time patients. But a good cannabis doctor will provide you with a ‘marijuana prescription’ to help you identify the best strain and form of medical marijuana to meet your medicinal needs. Including the specific dose, when and how often you should take it. Our caring doctors are here to help you.
- Marijuana is not prescribed but recommended.
- Cannabis isn’t a prescription drug and is only available in marijuana dispensaries, not ordinary pharmacies.
- Cannabis doctors are qualified medical professionals specialized in using marijuana to treat debilitating illnesses.
- You can get a medical card without medical records if you are genuine about your needs with your MMJ doctor.
- You can get your marijuana prescription (MMJ certification) online through telemedicine.
- A state-issued medical marijuana card gives you access to medical cannabis in your state plus extra legal protection.
- For all its benefits, MMJ does have side effects.