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The medical marijuana journey can be complicated to navigate alone. Our licensed medical marijuana doctors are here to simplify the process and partner with you to find a natural alternative to alleviate your symptoms.
Curious if You Qualify for Medical Marijuana?
Even though the federal law prohibits the use of cannabis, there are many states with their own medical marijuana programs. These programs allow patients with qualifying conditions to access cannabis from state-wide dispensaries once a medical card is obtained. We are here to help you learn more about your state’s laws and find out if your condition qualifies for a medical marijuana card.
It is possible to acquire medical cannabis even if it isn’t legal in your state. However, there are specific steps—and precautions—you’ll need to take to do so.
- Travel to a nearby state where medical cannabis is legalized.
- Obtain a valid medical cannabis card for that state.
- To acquire a medical cannabis card, you must provide medical documentation as proof of a qualifying condition, along with any other state-mandated requirements state.
- You may then purchase and consume medical cannabis in that.
It is absolutely illegal to transport medical cannabis between states, even if both states permit the purchase and consumption of medical cannabis. Federally, cannabis is still considered a Schedule I Controlled Substance. While many federal authorities will turn a blind eye to state-level operations, being caught crossing a state border with cannabis can result in serious legal repercussions.
It can be. Despite the insistence that cannabis is natural and non-addictive, research shows that excessive consumption of the drug can create problems for the user. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 10 cannabis individuals who use cannabis will become addicted. Among individuals who start using cannabis before the age of 18, the proportion increases to 1 in 6. The CDC also identifies a handful of signs that may indicate an addiction to cannabis:
- One or more unsuccessful attempts to stop using cannabis
- Prioritizing cannabis use over other activities, even enjoyable ones like hobbies and spending time with loved ones
- Using cannabis knowing that it interferes with their ability to fulfill daily responsibilities such as work, education, and chores
Yes. Not only is the method of consumption fundamentally different, but it can also produce different results.
Smoked or vaporized cannabis enters the bloodstream much more quickly than an edible, resulting in immediate and noticeable effects. The effects may also peak more quickly and last for a shorter amount of time. Conversely, cannabis drinks or edibles can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to take effect but will peak more slowly and can last for many hours.
It’s also worth noting that smoking cannabis will have a more dramatic effect on lung health, as combustion and ingestion can release some of the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
Medical cannabis users often report side effects such as:
- Increased heart rate or unusual heart rhythm
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth and/or eyes
- Decreased reaction time which may lead to impaired task performance
- Impaired coordination and/or motor function
- Altered perception of time and/or the senses such as touch, sight, and sound
- Difficulty with thinking and/or problem-solving
- Poor memory
- Lowered blood pressure, which can cause dizziness or faintness
- Inhibited digestion which can lead to constipation
A Budtender is a knowledgeable sales associate who works at a medical cannabis dispensary. Their role is to assist customers with making a purchase and ensuring that they are getting all the information they need to help them make a well-informed decision. Your local Budtender can tell you all about their dispensary’s selections, the different uses of each product, and the finer points of purchasing medical cannabis.
No. Doctors cannot technically ‘prescribe’ you medical cannabis as they would prescribe insulin or antidepressants, as it is illegal and federally classified as a Controlled Substance. The best a doctor can do for you is provide a letter of recommendation for medical cannabis use, and you would have to invest in your own medical cannabis card. For the letter of recommendation to be valid, the provider must also have a state license and state mandate certification, and these requirements can also vary from state to state.
Yes and no. Some research shows that cannabis use is likely to precede the use of other drugs, both legal and illicit, and has shown to be a precursor to addiction to substances including alcohol and nicotine. However, this may have less to do with cannabis itself and more to do with an individual’s lifestyle and social environment.
Certain studies with cannabinoids and adolescent rodents showed that early exposure to the chemical compounds found in cannabis could decrease the reactivity of brain dopamine reward centers later in life. In human biology and psychology applications, this could mean that early use of cannabis makes young people more vulnerable to addiction and drug use as adults. The scientific principle used in this research is called cross-sensitization.
However, cross-sensitization isn’t unique to cannabis: heightened sensitivity and responsiveness to substance use in adolescence could result from any kind of drug use. The implied conclusion here is that cannabis is no more a ‘gateway drug’ than any other kind of substance – it’s merely more accessible and considered more socially acceptable than other kinds of drug use.
Ultimately, it’s important to consider an individual’s social environment, which are strong indicators of potential risk for substance abuse. For example, youth who experience abuse, neglect, and trauma and those exposed to drug use and have easy access to it are at the highest risk for developing addiction issues.
There are a handful of different ways you can use medical cannabis:
- Smoking. Users can consume cannabis in the form of smoke through joints, pipes, or bongs. They work immediately, although they can be harsh and give off a strong odor.
- Vaping. ‘Vapes’ heat cannabis almost to combustion, turning it into vapor rather than smoke. Vapes are small, easy to conceal, and create less smell than smoking.
- Topical application. Creams and oils can be applied to the skin. However, they do not produce a high and are typically used to relieve aches and pains.
- Ingestion. Users can eat cannabis in the form of edibles or use sprays or tinctures, which are fast-acting and consumed by placing a small amount of the liquid under the tongue.
Finding the ‘correct’ dosage can often involve a bit of trial and error, as everyone processes the chemical compounds differently. Follow the instructions on the packaging, and/or consult with your provider for more details.