Medical marijuana legalization is catching pace worldwide. Once stigmatized for causing the opioid crisis, marijuana is finally getting the legal free rein to cement its therapeutic importance. Still, some hoops and hurdles remain. The biggest problem is that not all patients have access to doctors who can prescribe medical marijuana in legalized states. But can an online medical marijuana card solve this problem? Let’s find out.
However, people living with arthritis and other debilitating conditions can benefit from technological advancements that allow them to reach out to doctors online for cannabis evaluations. This way, they can get a medical marijuana card virtually without worrying about time or distance.
Thankfully, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you get a medical marijuana card online in the easiest way possible.
What is a medical marijuana recommendation?
A medical marijuana recommendation is a legal document verifying that the patient has a condition that requires medicinal cannabis use. Patients need these recommendations to sign up for the state’s medical-marijuana program that provides them with a medical marijuana card.
When you have this state-issued ID card with you, you can buy medical marijuana products from your nearest pharmacy or a medical marijuana delivery portal. In some states, patients cannot enter a marijuana facility unless they can show a medical marijuana card.
First steps to getting a medical marijuana card
The first step is the doctor’s appointment.
The patients need first to meet a qualified physician to ascertain whether their underlying conditions warrant medical marijuana use.
During this visit, you have to provide supporting documentation, including but not limited to health records, prescriptions, and any other information that would help a doctor evaluate your condition.
If the doctor gives you the green light, you are given a state-provided form that you have to submit with an online application. Once your application gets approved, concerned state authorities issue you your medical marijuana card.
What is the application process like?
Medical marijuana regulations are different in states. This is why the application process also varies.
For example, with an Oregon or Colorado medical marijuana card, you’re legally allowed to purchase various cannabis products. However, the qualifying conditions of these states are demanding.
There are also stricter medical marijuana states, such as Texas, but they have only lesser qualifying conditions.
That said, most states follow similar protocols for issuing medical marijuana cards.
First, patients must meet a state-appointed doctor and have their condition evaluated. If everything goes well, the doctor signs a recommendation, including critical information, such as dosage, delivery systems, and how long the patient can take medical marijuana.
Then, the patient must upload scanned documents online. These include proof of residency and an application form, along with application fees, a caregiver form, and the doctor’s signed recommendation. The concerned authorities associated with the state’s medical-marijuana program assess the application and mail a medical cannabis card on approval.
Most cannabis recommendations last for a year from the issuance date, after which the patient must repeat the entire process to renew their card.
What types of doctors can prescribe medical marijuana?
No doctor can prescribe medical marijuana. The FDA regulates prescriptions, and only those medications can be prescribed that have been approved by the FDA for specific health conditions. To bypass this technicality, the doctors offer recommendations to patients who need cannabis.
The type of doctor qualified to recommend marijuana varies by state. A medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy (OD) can give medical marijuana recommendations in most cases. However, some states allow patients to get these recommendations from nurses, doctor’s assistants, and other low-level healthcare providers.
Telemedicine has changed the way doctor’s appointments work. Now, whatever medical advice patients need, they can do it through virtual meetings via Zoom and other teleconferencing technologies. This saves patients the trouble of making an in-person visit.
Not all states allow evaluation of medical cannabis use via telemedicine. But, in those that do, the process is the same. The doctor sees the patient via video and determines whether he or she would benefit from medical marijuana. If so, the patient gets a signed recommendation to obtain a medical marijuana ID card.
The significant difference between in-person and online recommendations is the physician’s inability to thoroughly understand the patient’s condition via teleconferencing technologies. The doctor is at the mercy of patient testimony, which makes the entire process relatively ineffective. Thus, some states believe an in-person visit is necessary to decide about the patient’s medical future. That said, doctors have the right to deny a recommendation if they think the information provided is not enough to justify medical cannabis use. Either way, it’s in your best interests to check your state’s policies to see how things work and what you should expect.
How to find a Medical Marijuana Health Provider?
There are several ways to get in touch with a medical marijuana doctor who can give you a recommendation. Our advice is to go with telemedicine. This way, you won’t have to travel, which can be too physically and mentally tolling if you suffer from a condition that affects your mobility.
Marijuana science is still in its early stages. The two most popular compounds of the medicinal plant are CBD and THC. While CBD is relatively safe and doesn’t have any potential for substance abuse, the same cannot be said for THC. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that induces a high. It has also been linked to adverse psychological effects, such as hallucinations and delirium. Before using marijuana, make sure you have a recommendation from a doctor who can evaluate you comprehensively. After the Farm bill of 2018, CBD is widely available in pharmacies and online stores. But, the whole plant — Marijuana— is still illegal at the federal level. Unless you have a medical marijuana card, you can’t purchase the plant legally. It’s essential to know these subtleties to prevent legal pitfalls. Consult your state’s medical marijuana department to understand the legal status of medical marijuana in your locality.