Medical marijuana card (also known as “MMID” or “cannabis card”) is an identification card used by patients to enter medical dispensaries (or “cannabis clubs”) and purchase the plant to treat their corresponding health ailment or symptoms. It also allows for the patient to grow at home and use medical cannabis delivery services.
The cards are issued by the state, but the patient must first get a signed recommendation from a licensed physician to qualify. The patient and doctor need to agree that cannabis would be an effective treatment option, and the patient’s condition must be an approved condition by the state. With the doctor’s recommendation, the patient then needs to apply through the state and pay a fee, which will also vary depending on the state. Doctors can’t simply prescribe cannabis to patients due to the plant’s federally illegal status.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Medical Cannabis Card in a Legal State?
As states across the nation begin to fully legalize adult-use cannabis, many may be wondering what this means for the medical cannabis dispensaries and card holders. What does it mean to be a medical cannabis patient in a world where anyone can walk into a recreational dispensary, present their state ID, and legally purchase cannabis? Is the hassle of visiting a doctor for a medical card still worth it? Are there any real benefits? The answer is yes—there are many real benefits for medical cannabis card holders. From dosage to access and affordability, patients will find plenty of support for their ongoing care on the medical side of cannabis legality.
A major benefit offered by many states’ medical dispensaries is lower cost for patients, which is extremely important for people who rely on cannabis for medical issues. Imagine needing life-improving medication, but not having it covered by your insurance—that is the reality of medical cannabis patients all over the country.
Dosage is extremely important when it comes to medical cannabis, and many patients need access to high-strength cannabis to alleviate symptoms. However, while recreational shops may have to abide by potency limits, medical dispensaries sometimes have more leeway. A MMID can help you to buy marijuana beyond the recreational potency limit of your state
Recreational shops are permitted to sell cannabis to anyone who is over the age of 21. While this makes sense for the general populous, children who are also cannabis patients wouldn’t have access. A medical Marijuana card allows those who are age 18 under to legally access the cannabis medicine they need for their healthcare when treating cancer, epilepsy, or other ailments.
While not every medical state allows patients to grow their own medicine, many do. And the amount that one can grow is often higher for medical patients than it is for recreational consumers. In fact, the majority of states with both recreational and medical cannabis laws allow at least some wiggle room for patients to grow additional cannabis as needed. For example, in Oregon, recreational growers are permitted up to four plants, while medical growers are permitted six plants. This is important for patients, who unlike recreational consumers, are dependent on the plant for their well-being and can better offset dispensary costs with their own homegrown supply. Recreational legalization will continue to grow, often in states that have already eased into legalization with medical programs. As this progress continues, it is important not to brush the medical programs aside or forget about the patients who depend on cannabis as an integral part of their health.
Most Common Qualifying Conditions Authorized for Medical Cannabis
The following conditions are among the most commonly approved for use of medical cannabis. If you’re looking to acquire a medical cannabis authorization, be sure to check the state law you are living to see if your condition is approved in your state
While research is still exploring the ways cannabis may treat cancer itself, most states now acknowledge its ability to abate symptoms relating to cancer and chemotherapy, including pain, nausea, and appetite loss. For cancer-related symptoms, many patients prefer cannabis products that contain a balance of THC or CBD.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Some of the strongest advocates in the cannabis movement are patients with multiple sclerosis, as they’ve experienced firsthand the benefits cannabis has to offer. Cannabis has been found to alleviate many symptoms associated with MS, including pain, insomnia, inflammation, muscle spasms, abdominal discomfort, and depression.
Glaucoma is a an eye condition that can lead to permanent damage in the eye if left untreated. While some ophthalmologists are still lukewarm on the use of cannabis for glaucoma, healthier non-smoked forms are becoming increasingly available, especially in legal states.
Some of the earliest and most effective medical cannabis advocacy in the US was rooted in its ability to treat HIV/AIDS symptoms. It makes sense, then, that so many states have approved the condition for HIV/AIDS patients suffering symptoms like appetite loss, nausea, and fatigue.
Medical cannabis has become widely approved for neurodegenerative diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. For many suffering these debilitating diseases, cannabis can help restore quality of life by improving cognition and mobility, relieving spasticity and rigid muscles, and more.
Although there are several different types of pain, many are approved by states as a qualifying condition. Check to make sure your state has approved the specific type of pain you experience, and note that cannabis affects each type of pain uniquely. However, many doctors and patients have found that cannabis products combining both THC and CBD tend to be most effective.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is often expressed in panic episodes and hypervigilance, in addition to mood and sleep disturbances. In the right dose, and most often with high levels of CBD, cannabis can ease PTSD-related anxiety. Cannabis before bedtime has also been known to help patients fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and suppress nightmares.
Renew Your Medical Marijuana Card Online
The technicalities of how to get and renew an MMJ card and what it provides you will vary depending on the specific state’s laws and policies. As cannabis legalization expands, the process for patients continues to evolve, especially with more states legalizing recreational (adult-use) cannabis. Here you can see a generalized process of renewing your MMJ card online for patients in the state of California: