Medical marijuana has been in use for centuries (or millennia in some cases), but it was only within the past century that governments worldwide chose to ban it for various political agendas. Nonetheless, the last several years have seen an enormous resurgence in the use and popularity of this age-old drug to treat numerous medical conditions. The USA, in particular, has seen a considerable change in how it treats the substance. While it remains a controlled substance at the federal level, almost all states agave some form of legislation that decriminalizes its use for either medical or recreational use. Florida is one such state where the law remains fractured between medical and recreational but is legal in some cases for the former…with some stipulations. This post will explore who can get access to the drug and how it might help them.
Who Can Get A Medical Marijuana Card In Florida?
In order to gain access to the medical varieties of cannabis, a number of prerequisites must be met. Without being what is known as a “qualified patient,” you will be unable to receive a Florida medical marijuana card which is a necessity if you wish to get access to a registered dispensary to purchase the stuff. So with that in mind, let’s examine what qualifies individuals for medical marijuana cards.
Be A Resident Of Florida Permanently Or Seasonally
If you want to get a medical marijuana card in Florida, one of the prerequisites is that you must be a resident either permanently or seasonally. To meet these requirements, you’ll need to provide your valid government-issued ID and proof of Florida residency, including either a utility bill, lease agreement, bank statement, official letter from an employer stating your status as a Florida resident, or another acceptable form of proof. Once you can prove these points, you can move on to the next step.
A Qualified Physician Must Diagnose You With A Qualifying Medical Condition
If you wish to get hold of a medical card, you will need to speak with a qualified and registered physician who understands which conditions qualify for treatment with cannabis. However, it’s not simply up to their personal judgment, but the conditions must be approved by the state and supported with professional assessments. Nonetheless, the list of qualifying conditions is numerous, so it’s essential to know if your condition would qualify you for a medical marijuana card before you make an appointment with your doctor. Some of the illnesses include the following:
- HIV or AIDS
- Crohn’s disease
- Certain neurological disorders like Parkinson’s
As you can see from that list, the idea is that marijuana can provide a holistic form of therapy without the need for conventional; pharmaceuticals which could cause further harm when taken regularly.
You Must Be Entered Into The Medical Marijuana Use Registry
Once you have gone through the previous steps, you must first be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry if you want to proceed. This is an online database administered by the Florida Department of Health and keeps a record of your application in the event you need to renew anything or make sure everything is in order. Moreover, this database registry alerts law enforcement that you have been approved to use medical marijuana and are in compliance with Florida’s laws in case you ever get pulled over or are questioned by the police (however, you should still practice good judgment and avoid carrying it around with you unless necessary).
Get Your Card And Purchase From Licensed Dispensaries
After jumping through the previous hops and finally obtaining your card, it is now possible for you to purchase medical cannabis and use it for health purposes. However, you must know that you can only buy medical cannabis via a state-registered and fully licensed dispensary if you want to remain legal. These are otherwise known as medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTC), and you will need to fill out an order that your doctor has approved.
There is another interesting wrinkle to the medical marijuana system whereby because patients under 18 years old are unable to purchase medical marijuana themselves, they can designate a caregiver to buy it on their behalf. However, only a doctor has the ability to add a caregiver to an underage person’s medical card, and they must undergo a caregiver course biyearly that outlines the ins and outs of the program. Luckily, this course is free and pretty straightforward. Once they have passed the course, they will be legally allowed to buy whatever amount the doctor has prescribed for the person in their care.
What Are The Benefits Of Medical Marijuana?
As mentioned in the introduction, marijuana has been used for hundreds of years as a medicine to treat a variety of ailments. The main component that alleviates many conditions is what is known as cannabinoids. It is these cannabinoids that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and helps to reduce pain, increase appetite, and have other beneficial effects. In fact, extensive evidence suggests that cannabis is just as effective as conventional pain medications and, in some cases, even more so. Moreover, it can help reduce nausea and increase one’s appetite, which is particularly advantageous for patients suffering from HIV or cancer. So aside from those advantages, how else can cannabis help treat certain conditions?
In spite of the lack of robust evidence, marijuana use is associated with a reduction in anxiety symptoms. Moreover, CBD is more likely to alleviate this issue than THC, so it’s best to test before obtaining a medical card to see if CBD will work.
Decrease Opioid Use
Opioid addiction is a terrible affliction, and while plenty of addicts wish to reduce their use, the withdrawal effect is often powerful enough to render any chance of that to zero. However, cannabis has been shown to be highly effective t reducing these effects and helping people wean themselves off opioids.
The anti-inflammatory effects of both THC and CBD are well-known and, consequently, make them useful for people suffering from illnesses like colitis and Crohn’s disease.
As you can see, obtaining a medical marijuana card in Florida is relatively straightforward. If you suffer from one of the approved qualifying conditions, you should have no problem getting a card and benefiting from the medicinal effects of marijuana. Of course, as with all medications, it’s essential to consult with your doctor prior to use and understand the potential risks or side effects associated with using medical marijuana.