Medical Marijuana Cards And Your Privacy: Are MMJ Cards Confidential?

Medical marijuana (MMJ) programs are continuing to improve and expand across the country. The majority of US states now have some form of MMJ treatment available to their citizens, and each year new states are joining the medical marijuana revolution and implementing their own MMJ programs.

States such as Oklahoma, which were once skeptical about MMJ, are now reaping the rewards that come with having a liberal, well-run MMJ program. Medical marijuana has massive medicinal value and provides enormous improvements to the quality of life of MMJ patients. MMJ is also big business and MMJ-friendly states are enjoying big economic benefits.

While medical marijuana is legal in most states, it is not yet legal at the federal level. So it is understandable that MMJ patients have concerns and questions about confidentiality. Are medical marijuana cards confidential? Does having a medical card show up on a federal background check? Can my employer find out I have a medical card? Does having a medical card go on your record?

Let’s find out the answers to these questions and discuss all you need to know about medical marijuana cards and your privacy.

MMJRecs - MMJ in hand
Image by StayRegular on Pixabay: Are MMJ cards confidential? For the most part, yes.

MMJ Is An Essential Medical Treatment For Millions Of Americans

While marijuana is now legal for recreational use in an ever-increasing number of states, it is crucial to remember that medical marijuana is an essential medical treatment for millions of Americans.

Medical marijuana treatment is not an exotic luxury for MMJ patients. It is a necessary treatment that enables them to experience a massively improved quality of life.

Medical Marijuana Cards And Your Privacy

Because medical marijuana treatment is an essential medical intervention for millions of Americans, privacy is a crucial issue. A person’s medical situation and history is their own business, and there are laws in place that protect the privacy and confidentiality of people’s medical records.

The main law that protects peoples’ personal health information is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA prevents protected medical information from showing up on a background check.

Are MMJ Cards Confidential?

Medical marijuana cards are an integral part of many people’s health and wellness arsenal. Most MMJ card holders rely on their MMJ to get through the day relatively pain-free and to live a normal life. For this reason, medical marijuana cards are confidential in the large majority of cases, apart from certain specific scenarios related to employment.

Normally, only you, your doctor, your dispensary, and any other people you choose to tell will know you are an MMJ patient. However, certain jobs will want to know if you use medical marijuana because they have a legally protected policy of not hiring MMJ patients.

Do Employers Have To Know About Medical Marijuana Cards?

States laws differ on the question of whether an employer has to know about an employee’s MMJ card. Most jobs will have no requirement for employees to provide information about MMJ treatment. In the majority of jobs, the only stipulation will be that the employee not dose at work to the extent that they cannot fulfill their job.

However, most states have a list of jobs that are considered “safety-sensitive” and these jobs can have a “no MMJ” policy. Safety-sensitive jobs include:

  • Nurses and medical practitioners
  • Childcare
  • Jobs that involve firearms
  • Jobs that involve operating heavy machinery or driving

Safety sensitive jobs are entitled to have a policy of not hiring medical marijuana patients.

Can My Employer Find Out If I Have A Medical Card?

Your medical information is confidential, so an employer cannot demand access to it. However, for safety-sensitive jobs, most employers will insist on a drug test. If you refuse to undergo a drug test or fail a drug test, then you will not be hired.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana plant
Image by RexMedlen on Pixabay: MMJ treatment is part of your protected, private personal health information.

Does Having A Medical Card Show Up On A Federal Background Check Or Any Other Records?

Medical marijuana cards will not show up on a federal background check because they are protected under HIPAA legislation.

Your medical marijuana card will appear on your personal medical records, which will be accessible to medical professionals who treat you. Your name will also appear on your state’s MMJ card registry. However, both your personal medical records and your state’s MMJ registry are confidential.

How Do You Apply For An MMJ Card?

If you would like a confidential medical marijuana card, the easiest way to apply is through MMJRecs. The team will set up an online consultation between you and an MMJ doctor in your state. Once the doctor has verified your suitability for treatment with MMJ, they will fill in the relevant sections of an MMJ card application form and email it to you. You can then submit the completed application form to your local MMJ authorities.

Featured image by Tim Mossholder on Pixabay

Can My Employer Find Out If I Have A Medical Marijuana Card?

If you’re looking for a new job or if you think your current employer might be doing a background check on you, you could be concerned that your medical marijuana usage will show up. This is a rather complicated issue, because there are a lot of unknowns at play (including your state’s current laws, the type of job you’re applying for, and so on), so here’s some general information that can help you answer the question “Can my employer find out if I have a medical marijuana card?”.

Will my medical marijuana card come up on a background check?

A lot of companies require you to go through a background check before you’re hired. This can include a general report that will show if you’ve been convicted of any crimes, what your educational background looks like, and/or your previous work history. It’s possible for potential employers to do more extensive background checks, such as into your credit history and some specific health inquiries, if you’re applying for more stringent careers in areas like law enforcement, the military, or anything with children. In a straightforward background search, your medical marijuana (MMJ) card will not turn up.

 

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Image by Free to Use Sounds on Unsplash: It’s possible for you to not get a job you’ve applied for if the employer learns of your MMJ card.

Can jobs see if you have a medical marijuana card?

At this time, there is not a specific database that lists MMJ cardholders (other than the one used by your state to issue you a card). Employers do not generally have access to a government database like this, and even that one typically issues you a user ID so that your personal info like name and address are not listed. Additionally, because marijuana is becoming legal recreationally in more states, there isn’t a quick way for employers to determine if you’re a cannabis user (other than a drug test, of course).

Can I be discriminated against if I have an MMJ card?

If for some reason your potential or current employer discovers that you have an MMJ card, there aren’t any specific laws that protect you against discrimination. MMJ users are not a protected class under the law. It is up to the discretion of your employer to determine if they want to keep you on as an employee or still hire you.

Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the many benefits of MMJ products and how they can help with a number of both physical and emotional medical conditions. Because the laws are changing constantly surrounding medical marijuana usage, it’s possible that more legal protections will be put into place in the future (although these could also vary from state to state). At this time, prospective employers can legally decide not to hire you just because you have an MMJ card.

Can I get fired for having an MMJ card?

It is possible for you to lose your job because you have an MMJ card. This can happen if employers somehow discover you’re using MMJ products (perhaps through a drug test you aren’t able to pass). If this happens, you can try to explain why you use the products, although because of HIPAA protections, you’re not required to disclose any personal medical info to your employer. If you feel comfortable providing your employer with more information, you can try showing a doctor’s note to indicate that you’re using these products under the direction of a physician.

There have been cases of some individuals who sued their employer for discrimination because they felt they were unfairly terminated due to their MMJ usage. You always have the option of seeking legal advice if you think you’ve been treated unjustly.

 

MMJRecs - medical cannabis use

Image by Thought Catalog on Unsplash: Be discreet in your MMJ usage and you could keep your MMJ card ownership private.

How can I prevent my employer from finding out I have an MMJ card?

There are some steps you can take to retain some privacy surrounding your MMJ usage. First off, you can pay to do a background check on yourself. These services typically cost around $20 a month; it can be a useful process in order for you to see firsthand what potential employers will find when they conduct a background check on you.

You should also do a quick Google search of yourself. This can be really illuminating in what your web presence looks like (and is a trick that many employers are using these days to learn more about who they’re thinking of hiring). Within this same vein, do a thorough search of your own social media profiles to see if there are any posts or pics that suggest you use marijuana. Even if you use products solely for medical reasons, any pictures of you smoking or eating edibles could be interpreted in the wrong way by employers.

This probably goes without saying, but obviously, you should never use your MMJ products while on the job or come to work incapacitated. There are plenty of ways to fit MMJ products into your daily life without negatively impacting your job.

The good news is that if you’re fairly private about your MMJ usage, it’s likely that current or future employers will be kept unaware of you owning an MMJ card. However, since you’re not specifically protected under the law from discrimination, you could miss out on employment opportunities or be fired anyway. If this happens, you have options to explain your MMJ usage, or you can simply find another position that might work better for your situation.

Just remember that honesty is always the best policy – it’s never a good idea to lie about your MMJ usage if it comes up. Be as honest as you can without disclosing private information you don’t wish to share, and you might find that some employers can be more accepting of your MMJ card ownership.

Featured image by Hunters Race on Unsplash

Do I Need A Medical Marijuana Card To Buy CBD?

CBD has quickly become immensely popular in the U.S. Known for its calming properties, CBD can now be found in a wide range of trendy products – everything from body lotion to lattes. However, even with its popularity, people still have a lot of questions surrounding CBD usage. If you’re deciding whether to try out CBD products, you might be wondering, “Do I need a medical marijuana card to buy CBD?” Keep reading to find out the answer to that question and several others!

What is CBD?

Your first concern is probably to learn more about what CBD actually is. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabid sativa plant. It has some of the same elements of marijuana, but it does not contain THC, which is the main active ingredient in marijuana. Without THC, CBD products are not psychoactive, which means you won’t get high when you use them. So, if you’re thinking, “Is CBD in medical marijuana?”, the answer is yes – it’s just that CBD doesn’t have the element of THC to get you high, so you won’t feel sedated or like your behavior is altered in any way. CBD comes in a multitude of forms: oil, capsules, gummies, etc.

How does CBD help patients?

People report getting a variety of benefits from CBD products, including relief from pain, reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression, some alleviation of symptoms related to cancer, improvements with acne, and lower blood pressure. Many studies are currently being conducted to determine if CBD could help with any other conditions (such as diabetes and schizophrenia). There are patients whose symptoms will require additional intervention, so some may want to consider getting a medical marijuana (MMJ) card so that they’ll have access to the full benefits of MMJ as well.

 

MMJRecs - CBD oils

Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash: CBD products can be used to treat a variety of physical and emotional symptoms.

What are the laws surrounding CBD in the US?

In 2014, the Farm Bill passed, which determined that states can regulate the production of hemp and CBD. Recently, President Trump signed a new bill that made it federally legal to grow hemp. This means that consumers all over the country can grow and consume hemp and CBD legally. However, because there are some regulations set up individually by the states, these rules can vary widely.

There are currently 10 states where marijuana and CBD are completely legal for recreational and medicinal purposes. In 23 states, marijuana and CBD are legal for medicinal purposes. Another 14 states allow CBD oil only. There are three states that have completely banned CBD products: Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota. It’s important to note that CBD products are legal in some states where medical marijuana is not – and this could be helpful for people who are seeking relief from medical symptoms that don’t have access to legal MMJ products.

It’s also up to individual states to determine what quantities of CBD are legal; these can also vary from state to state. So it’s always a good idea to check the regulations of your specific state before you purchase any CBD products, especially if you’re going to be buying in larger quantities. Additionally, the Farm Bill does make it possible for people to legally travel between states with CBD products without any issues. Plus, CBD won’t show up on a drug test (as long as you’re buying authentic, third-party tested CBD with no added THC).

Do I need an MMJ recommendation for CBD?

At this time, you can purchase CBD products without an MMJ recommendation from a medical professional. In fact, using CBD products does not require you to consult with a doctor or to get any special paperwork from them. In the states where it’s legal, you can easily purchase products in stores and online without having to show that you have a medical use for it. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before trying out any new products to make sure they won’t interact with other medications you’re taking or with your current physical condition.

 

Image by CBD-Infos-com on Pixabay: You won’t need an MMJ card to purchase CBD products that are THC-free.

Do I need an MMJ card for CBD purchases?

Since you don’t need medical clearance for CBD, you don’t need an MMJ card in order to purchase CBD products in most states. As long as you’re purchasing CBD products that don’t contain THC, you’re allowed to purchase them without an MMJ card.

If you’re thinking you’d like to try the CBD products that do contain THC, you will need to know how to get a medical marijuana recommendation for CBD oil. This process can be fairly simple if you head to MMJRecs. We can help you complete an online application and a licensed doctor will then process your application after reviewing your medical history. Afterward, you’ll be emailed an MMJ recommendation to help give you access to MMJ products – and it’s all done virtually, so you don’t have to leave your home!

In general, you won’t need an MMJ card to buy CBD products, but be sure to do some research on the regulations for your specific state so that you can always stay in the legal realm of things. Then you can try out some CBD products to find what works to best alleviate or reduce your personal symptoms.

Featured image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Do Primary Caregivers Need An MMJ Card?

If you live in a state with legal medical or recreational marijuana, then you’ve likely run across the term “primary caregiver.” Have you ever wondered what a primary caregiver does and how that relates to medical marijuana? Here’s what you need to know about medical marijuana laws as they relate to primary caregivers, including how to get a medical marijuana recommendation as a caregiver.

Medical Marijuana for Primary Caregivers

A primary caregiver is defined as an adult who is legally able to buy, deliver/transport, and/or assist in administering medical marijuana to someone with a valid medical marijuana card. Caregivers may need to purchase medical marijuana for their patients and act on their behalf legally, so that means they must be aware of any and all rules and regulations surrounding MMJ recommendation for primary caregivers in the state in which they live.

Legislation in states with legalized medical marijuana protects both caregivers and medical marijuana patients from any criminal penalties, allowing for the use of a caregiver as long as both the patient and caregiver are abiding by all laws.

MMJRecs - MMJ dispensary

Image by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash: Primary caregivers for medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to purchase and transport medical marijuana, a valuable service for patients.

This protective legislation is different from state to state, but there are several legal stipulations that state laws have in common if you want to become a medical marijuana caregiver. In general, these stipulations for caregivers state that they must:

  • Be 21 years old or older
  • Be a resident of the same state as the qualified patient
  • Be a citizen of the United States of America
  • Legally agree to assist the medical marijuana patient with their use for medical purposes

You need to check with the caregiver laws surrounding medical marijuana in your particular state in order to find out what other stipulations may be required. In certain states, a caregiver must not have a criminal record and may only care for a maximum number of medical marijuana patients (usually five) at any time. They may also never buy or deliver medical marijuana to someone who is not officially their patient with a legal MMJ card.

How to Become an MMJ Caregiver

In most states, primary caregivers must fill out a separate application than the patient. These applications often include application fees and the responsibility of annual renewals in order to keep their status as an MMJ caregiver legal.

Do Primary Caregivers Need an MMJ Card?

In general, a medical cannabis card for a caregiver is a requirement. That’s because even in states where medical marijuana is legal, the caregiver who intends to buy and transport it needs to be licensed to do so – by having an MMJ card. You should note that this isn’t the case in all states, so it’s important to double-check with local laws to see what is required of you as a primary caregiver.

MMJRecs - mmj in hand

Image by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash: If you want to become a primary caregiver for medical marijuana patients, then chances are you need a medical cannabis card for a caregiver.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Recommendation as a Caregiver

If you’re a primary caregiver or are looking to become one, then it’s important to know if you qualify for your own MMJ card and how to get it. In many states, to get a medical marijuana recommendation for primary caregivers, you’ll first need to ensure you have a qualifying condition, which is something your doctor (or MMJRecs!) can help you with. It’s not so much of a specific diagnosis but an injury, illness, or disability that your doctor believes would benefit from the use of medical marijuana. Some common conditions that qualify include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer
  • PTSD
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Anorexia and bulimia

These are simply examples – talk to a doctor if you believe you have a condition that would benefit from the use of medical marijuana.

You’ll also need to prove your residency in the state you’re looking to get the MMJ card in. A passport or driver’s license will do the trick. Once you have identification and a doctor to sign off on it, you’ll need to fill out the proper paperwork through the government body in your state that controls medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana laws are meant to help people gain access to medication that assists them in dealing with a condition, and primary caregivers are a big part of getting patients the help they need. If you’re a primary caregiver, then it’s important to know the laws in your state surrounding your role so you can provide the best care to your patients.

Featured image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Making Sure Your Oklahoma MMJ Card Is Up To Date And On The Right Side Of The Law

Living in Oklahoma entitles you to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program. We’ve talked a lot about how to obtain a medical marijuana card, but once you have it, you might ask the question: “How do I make sure my OK MMJ card is up to date?” Here’s our helpful guide for everything you need to know in order to keep your medical marijuana card in good standing in the state of Oklahoma.

Medical Marijuana Cards: Why They’re Needed

It would be ideal if you were issued a medical marijuana card in Oklahoma and then never had to worry about it again. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in many states, including Oklahoma. Oklahoma MMJ card expiry comes around every two years. When that time period is up, you must renew your Oklahoma MMJ card.

Why must you renew? Monitoring authorities in the state want to make sure that medical marijuana is being used in a responsible way to treat conditions such as:

  • Terminal illnesses
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Muscle spasms
  • Cancer
  • Severe nausea
  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Inflammation
  • Crohn’s disease

In Oklahoma, there are no specific qualifying conditions. It is left up to your doctor to decide whether or not you will benefit from the use of medical marijuana. However, you must still renew your card so the state can make sure you’re using marijuana to treat your specific medical conditions. In other words, a doctor must certify that the medical marijuana is still needed. If your condition has improved, then it’s possible you may no longer qualify.

MMJ Recs - doc

Image by Online Marketing on Unsplash: See your doctor to update your Oklahoma Medical Marijuana card.

How Often Do You Need To Update An Oklahoma MMJ Card?

As mentioned, you must update your Oklahoma MMJ card every two years. Remember that you’ll need to renew it at least one month before it is set to expire. If you’re wondering “how to renew my Oklahoma MMJ card?”, don’t worry – the process for renewal is similar to the process you went through to get approved the first time. You must have an evaluation by a physician and then fill out a renewal application on Oklahoma’s Marijuana Authority website.

You will still need a government-issued ID to prove your residency in the state, medical records, and your original card. After your application is processed for renewal, it can take up to 14 business days to get your new card. This shouldn’t be an issue if you started the renewal process with enough time left on your current card before it expires.

If you fail to renew, you simply won’t be able to access medical marijuana products. It also won’t be legal for you have any medical marijuana in your home or on your person, and you won’t be able to grow your own plants if that’s something you were doing with an OK MMJ card. You can clearly see why it’s crucial to make sure your OK MMJ card is up to date.

MMJ Recs Can Help

People lead busy lives, and it might slip your mind when it comes time to renew your card. To help you stay on top of things, MMJ Recs has a newsletter that can help remind you each month when it’s time to renew your medical marijuana card. We also have a weekly newsletter you can sign up for on our website full of useful MMJ information!

MMJ Recs - medical marijuana

Image by Get Budding on Unsplash: Update your Oklahoma MMJ card so you can have access to the highest quality medical marijuana.

Why You Should Renew

Renewing your medical marijuana card in Oklahoma allows you to continue medical treatment for your ailments. Plus, MMJ cards provide access to safe, high-quality marijuana products regulated by the state of Oklahoma. They track each plant from seed to sale to ensure you’re getting the products at a price you can afford so you can continue your treatment. So, don’t get caught unawares and miss your Oklahoma MMJ card expiry – take steps to keep it legal!

Medical marijuana has opened so many doors or those suffering from illnesses, and Oklahoma is one of a growing number of states that provides its residents with the right to treat their medical conditions with marijuana. You’re lucky to live in Oklahoma, so take advantage of what the law affords you, get on the road to a better-quality life and a healthier you, and make sure your OK MMJ Card is up to date!

Featured image by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash

Can My Family Doctor Prescribe My Oklahoma MMJ Card?

Medical marijuana has only been available legally in Oklahoma for a little over a year, but already the state is making history when it comes to MMJ card prescription and usage. Approximately 3.5% of the entire state’s population has applied for and been approved for an Oklahoma MMJ card, meaning it has more medical marijuana patients per capita than any other U.S. state. MMJ laws in the Oklahoma medical community have not put a cap on the number of dispensaries or the number of growers that are allowed to operate in the state. You must apply for a license, but at the moment you are most likely to be granted one in Oklahoma. Their policy seems to be one of letting the market decide how many dispensaries and growers are enough. If your interest is piqued now, you might have questions about MMJ card prescription, including: Can a family doctor prescribe an MMJ card? And where can I find an Oklahoma doctor to prescribe an MMJ card? Read on – we’ll answer this question and more!

MMJ Recs - Oklahoma
Think you might benefit from using medical marijuana? Time to find an Oklahoma doctor to prescribe an MMJ card!

There are many different conditions and symptoms that can be helped or relieved with the use of medical marijuana. The list is almost endless, but some of the most common conditions treated include cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, arthritic inflammation, seizures, Crohn’s disease, and glaucoma.  Interestingly, in Oklahoma, you don’t have to have a specific condition in order to qualify for an MMJ card prescription. You simply discuss your symptoms with the relevant health care practitioner, who decides whether or not you might benefit from taking medical marijuana. If you’re wondering “How do I get my Oklahoma MMJ card?” and you’re not sure who to go to, the best place to start is with your family doctor.

It’s common to have a family doctor prescribe an MMJ card. The reason they can do this is because medical marijuana is seen to have general medicinal benefits. Any medical doctor is allowed to prescribe medical marijuana, but they obviously have to see you and give a reason for it. If your condition is something that your family doctor can diagnose without further investigation, they are the best person to write your MMJ card prescription. If, however, your doctor feels you need a referral to a specialist, then the specialist will be the one to write the prescription. This means, for example, that if you have cancer your oncologist is the one who will most likely prescribe it; if you’re suffering from glaucoma it will be your eye specialist; and so on. Any licensed medical health expert is allowed to recommend you for MMJ use. In fact it’s quite easy to get an MMJ card in Oklahoma.

Family doctors do differ in their knowledge and experience of MMJ. If you find that yours doesn’t have the necessary knowledge or is reluctant to grant you an MMJ card prescription, you can always apply with us online. We have medical experts in every U.S. state who can carry out a relaxed evaluation with you via telemedicine. This is particularly useful for people who find it difficult to leave their house and travel, don’t like face-to-face consultations, or would rather not have their family doctor prescribe an MMJ card, for whatever reason. All you have to do is complete a standard medical form online. Information required will include your relevant medical notes, your reason for applying for MMJ, and why you think it might help. All applications are always treated with the utmost privacy and respect.

MMJ Recs - MMJ plants
Have your family doctor prescribe an MMJ card or consult with a specialist through MMJRecs. (Image by CMElixirs from Pixabay)

Once approved, your card will be sent to you by mail and you can start using it right away. Your online expert will even be able to advise you on the type and amount of medical marijuana to use for your particular condition or symptoms. According to the MMJ laws in the Oklahoma medical community, the qualifying conditions are the same when applying online as if you were to visit a specialist or an Oklahoma doctor to prescribe an MMJ card for you. It’s definitely a stress-free way to pursue your MMJ card prescription, and probably cheaper and quicker than paying to visit your family doctor.

If you feel that you might benefit from an MMJ card prescription, and you’re thinking “OK, now I want to get my Oklahoma MMJ card!”, you can visit your family doctor in the first instance for advice. Alternatively, contact us online for an evaluation or simply to ask some questions. We’re here to help! If you’re approved for an Oklahoma MMJ card, you’ll be on your way to joining the other 151,000 Oklahomans who experiencing the benefits of medical marijuana!

Now That Recreational Marijuana Is Legalized, What Does That Mean For MMJ Patients?

Marijuana in America is a tale of two strains. On the one hand, there is medical marijuana, or MMJ for short, which has been gaining traction as a progressive new health care option for the last two decades. On the other hand, there’s recreational marijuana, which has recently seen an upsurge in support, and has been legalized in nine states and Washington D.C. The question on many users’ minds, especially MMJ patients, is do they hurt or help each other? And while it might be still too early in the game to say definitively, we can make some educated guesses based on the states that have incorporated both so far.

Recreational marijuana is set to have its biggest year in 2018. It started out on the wrong foot, when President Trump’s Department of Justice, headed up by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced that it was repealing a key Obama-era memo that prevented federal meddling in each individual state’s marijuana laws. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, meaning that the feds can still come down hard on the drug, even in states where it’s legal to use it recreationally.

MMJRecs - Street Signs

Many MMJ users might be wondering how newly introduced recreational marijuana laws affect them.

However, as with much of our current administration, the rescinding seemed to amount to posturing and nothing more. There is little evidence so far that the government will do anything to combat marijuana on a federal level; it seems content to leave it well enough alone in states that have already legalized the drug. If you think it seems contradictory that the drug can be prosecuted on a federal level while legal on a state level, don’t worry; the majority of the Justice Department might just think so too. Federal prosectors around the country released vague statements soon after the rescinding, stating that there would be no new crackdown in recreationally legal states.

This is great news for California, the state that opened the world’s largest legal marijuana market to date on January 1st. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana way back in 1996. Since that time, it’s always had a remarkably liberal policy towards marijuana in general, and cemented that status on November 9th, 2016, when it took the plunge and made recreational marijuana fully legal too. The state gave itself fourteen months to get the legislation together and prepare its citizens for a full move to legality, culminating in the January 1st, 2018 deadline.

Though California was certainly not the first state to legalize marijuana recreationally, it is definitely the most important yet. The state constitutes the world’s sixth largest economy, and of course, is the largest state in the U.S. Some four hundred businesses were approved to licence, and many cities all over the state have passed laws allowing local businesses to sell marijuana. Despite this, there have been some teething problems with the new legislature, and it’s with these discrepancies that we can measure the impact of recreational marijuana against medical marijuana.

Essentially, despite all the good will in the world, California is not ready to implement such a large recreational program of marijuana. Medical marijuana has been legal for 22 years, and although it’s largely been smooth sailing, there are still some lingering issues. It’s a tall ask for a state to bring together a previously black market industry (which, despite being a black market, is undoubtedly huge), and signs are that it’s not as straightforward as some in government would have hoped. For a start, every city in the state has to come up with its own distinct rules on what exactly can be sold and where, and to what degree. This makes for a confusing situation, as there’s no one rule to bind them all.

MMJRecs - Downtown Los Angeles

Marijuana laws for both medical and recreational use still differ from state to state.

In terms of MMJ patients who might be worried that their medical marijuana ID card is invalid because recreational marijuana is legalized, there’s a simple answer: don’t be. MMJ, procured from licenced dispensaries, is still the safest and most effective way to alleviate the symptoms it has been prescribed to you for. Your doctor will know which strain is best suited to your particular ailment. It’s not a good idea to attempt to self-medicate, nor is it a sure thing that all MMJ strains will be legally or immediately available in a recreational capacity.

As if to underline the importance of MMJ, the government of California has introduced a sales tax break to medical marijuana patients, indicating its continued commitment to the MMJ cause and legislature. If we take what’s currently happening in California as a microcosm for the whole of the U.S. we see that MMJ and recreational marijuana will undoubtedly continue to co-exist simultaneously, and even benefit from each other as they do. While the future is a little cloudy, especially when it comes to the number of states that have legalized medical but not recreational marijuana, there is no doubt that both strains will continue to exist harmoniously in the U.S. for a long time to come.

6 Benefits of Having a California MMJ Card in 2018

Although recreational marijuana is now legal in the state of California, there are still plenty of reasons that you should obtain an MMJ card in 2018. With major bonuses of saving money and having less restrictions, there are so many advantages to having a cannabis card. Read on for all of the ways you can benefit from having a California MMJ card.

1. Continuous care

Let’s say you already have a cannabis card. One of the benefits of renewing it (despite the new legality of recreational marijuana) is that you can continue your consumption of cannabis products without any interruption. Similar to switching health insurance plans, if you discontinue using your MMJ card, you could face obstacles in obtaining your products. You would also likely face an increase in the amount you spend to obtain your cannabis. By keeping your California MMJ card (or renewing it annually), you can be sure that you won’t face any interference in your cannabis purchases or consumption.

2. Lower age limit

Now that recreational marijuana usage is legal, users still must be over 21 years of age to purchase or consume cannabis products. However, with a California MMJ card, you only have to be 18 years old to use medical marijuana. This advantage can be very helpful if you’re under 21 but still need to use cannabis products for medical treatment.

Even though recreational marijuana is now legal in California, you’ll be entitled to a lot more benefits if you have a California MMJ card.

3. More access to dispensaries

With a California MMJ card, you never have to worry about buying your product from a disreputable seller. Cannabis card holders have access to a large number of dispensaries (that often offer better quality products). Instead of purchasing cannabis products from an unknown seller, most medical marijuana dispensaries provide customers with higher-grade strains with a variety of THC:CBD ratios, so you’ll be getting product that is much more effective.

4. Opportunity to grow your own plants

If you’re interested in growing your own marijuana plants in your home, an MMJ card provides you with less limitations than a recreational grower. If you’re solely growing for recreational uses, you are only permitted to have six mature marijuana plants on your property at any one time. However, with a California MMJ card, you are allowed to grow more plants in any 100-square-foot area on your property. In addition to being able to skip the lines at a dispensary, growing your own plants also gives you the opportunity to grow a variety of strains (whichever best fits your particular medical needs) and ends up saving you money in the long-run.

5. Less overall restrictions

Although marijuana is now legal in California, there are still many restrictions in place in regards to using and growing cannabis products. If you’re solely using marijuana for recreational purposes, you can’t carry and use your cannabis products as freely as you can if you own an MMJ card. For example, recreational users are limited to one ounce of flower (or eight grams of cannabis concentrates) at a time, while users with an MMJ card can buy and carry as much cannabis as their treatment requires. Even edibles have restrictions for recreational users (with only 10mg of individual doses allowed at a time). If you have a California MMJ card, however, you’re able to buy and grow more product, in addition to having access to higher strength and better quality cannabis.

Having an MMJ card can help you save money in so many ways.

6. Can save you money

Last, but not least, perhaps the biggest benefit to having an MMJ card is the ability to save lots of cash. There are some minimal costs upfront to get a cannabis card, but it’s well worth it. If you’re interested in obtaining an MMJ card, you can apply for one for around $66 (or just $50 if you’re enrolled in Medi-Cal). There can be slight differences in price depending on the county you’re in, but there’s a cap of $100 for the entire application process. Then, you can either make a visit to a doctor’s office or do an online assessment for around $45-$150. Once you’ve completed the initial application, every year after, you’ll only pay between $25 and $40 to renew your MMJ card annually.

After you’ve obtained your MMJ card, you’ll be able to access major savings since you don’t ever have to pay sales tax on your medical marijuana products. Without a cannabis card, you’d be paying around 14–20% more for your cannabis purchases. For example, with a purchase of around $250 of product, you’d be charged a sales tax of 15% – which adds up to an extra $37.50 to your total! Cannabis card holders, on the other hand, can nix the sales tax and see their savings add up quickly.

MMJ card holders can also discover savings when they shop at medical marijuana dispensaries. These dispensaries (versus recreational stores) often give their customers a multitude of ways to save money, with everything from coupons and special deals to store credit bonuses and rewards programs. Being a loyal customer can often mean you’ll rack up even more significant savings. Some dispensaries even offer discounts for customers that refer other shoppers to them. So, with these extra savings and skipping the sales tax, having an MMJ card just makes financial sense!

There are many significant benefits to owning a California MMJ card in 2018. You can save money and face less restrictions on your usage. Plus, with a super-easy application process and minimal upfront costs, there’s basically no reason you shouldn’t obtain a cannabis card right away!

A History of California MMJ Policies (And What the Future Might Hold)

California might just be the leading medical marijuana state in the country. It has consistently been ahead of the curve when it comes to marijuana legislature, both recreational and medical, and its liberal approach to the medicine has no doubt eased many patients’ suffering in the 21 years it’s been legalized. As the number of states who have legalized MMJ tips over the halfway mark (29 and counting), the question is, will California retain its frontrunner position as the leading state in the medical marijuana arena? And what exactly does the future hold at this critical juncture in marijuana law, when the state’s government tries to introduce a recreational rollout against the well-established and successful California MMJ program?

California’s liberal leanings towards marijuana started way back in 1975, when it was among the first states to decriminalize the drug, under the Moscone Act. In 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger added further measures to decriminalization in the form of State Senate Bill 1449, which further reduced the charge of possession on one ounce of cannabis or less, levelling it with an infraction, which constitutes a small fine and no court appearance.

MMJ Recs - Californian Highway

California has always paved the way when it comes to MMJ legislation and progress.

The 1975 decriminalization program paved the way for the California MMJ bill to be passed in 1996. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, passed with a narrow 55% majority, making California the first state to legalize medical marijuana for people suffering from cancer, AIDS, migraines glaucoma, arthritis, and other chronic illnesses, demonstrating a remarkable range of qualifying conditions, even back in 1996. Over the years, the wording surrounding this law has been strengthened and clarified, and in 2010, the limit of possession on medical marijuana was lifted after the California Supreme Court ruled in People vs. Kelly. The key wording now lists a number of conditions, followed by the phrase, “and any other condition for which marijuana provides relief.” While other states have faltered in their ascribing of qualifying conditions, California has made the medicine accessible to every single patient who can possibly benefit from it, and in turn has reduced the pressure on doctors, who may worry about breaking the law if their patient’s illness doesn’t adhere to the qualifying conditions.

The passing of Proposition 215  was a watershed moment in the history of medical marijuana, and paved the way for many other states to follow in California’s footsteps. In the intervening 21 years, as a further 28 states have come on board the MMJ train, California has never wavered in its commitment to its program, and has gone to great lengths to implement a successful dispensary rollout across the state. The result is a program which is much more progressive than many other states, including the likes of New York, which implemented a surprisingly regressive MMJ bill in 2014.

Under Proposition 215, patients with a physician’s recommendation, and their primary caregivers, are allowed to cultivate their own strains of MMJ, and as an alternative, SB 420 allows patients to come together in collectives to grow their own medicine. The amount of medical marijuana grown must be in concordance with the size of the collective, and growth that exceeds this number is still liable for prosecution. However, this setup is set to change at the end of 2018, and all collectives must be licenced within the state. This gives patients a large range of options for growing and acquiring their medicine, and makes access easy for any patients that wants (or needs) to avail of the drug.

MMJ Recs - San Francisco Skyline

With changes afoot for both recreational and medical marijuana, what does the future hold for California?

On January 9th 2016, California voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Although they’re not the first state to do this, they have long been proponents and advocates of marijuana in general, so it came as little surprise to most people that they were among the frontrunners to legalize. Many people wondered how the recreational program would line up against the well-established California MMJ program, and indeed, that is the question that dominates conversations about the future of marijuana in the Golden State.

California has a lead-in time of 14 months to roll out their recreational program, with recreational marijuana becoming legal on the 1st January 2018. However, this proved to be too little time to completely overhaul a previously underground and decidedly massive industry; as it stands, it is actually impossible to purchase recreational marijuana anywhere in California, and that looks to be the case for some time.

A medical marijuana card is still the best way to procure the medicine in 2018, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Just because both forms of marijuana are legal, it doesn’t mean that MMJ will become obsolete; in fact, it’s quite the contrary. The government actually imposed sales tax rebates on California MMJ when they passed the recreational law, renewing their commitment to the long-established MMJ program and providing patients with a cheaper cost for their medicine in the process. Ultimately, California looks set to continue being the shining example of MMJ progressiveness that it has always been.

Why California Medical Marijuana Patients Still Need an MMJ Card in 2018

Now that California has officially legalized recreational marijuana, many people are wondering if they should still be using an MMJ card in 2018. The answer is yes! There are tons of reasons that you should be hanging onto your medical marijuana card in the new year. Not only will you be able to escape all the limitations placed on recreational users, you’ll also be able to save money! Read on for the main reasons you should use an MMJ card in 2018.

1. Saves you money

Probably the most important reason for getting a cannabis card is to help save you money in the new year. First, if you don’t have a medical marijuana card yet, you can easily apply for a card for around $66 (just $50 for Medi-Cal enrollees). Sometimes the rate can differ between counties, but there’s a cap, so you’ll never pay over $100 for the whole application process. You’ll also have to make a visit to the doctor (or find ones who do online assessments) for about $45-$150. But, after that, you only have to pay between $25-$40 to renew your cannabis card every year.

Once you have your MMJ card in 2018, you’ll find huge savings because you don’t have to pay sales tax on your medical marijuana products. Recreational marijuana users do have to pay the tax, which could end up costing them between 14-20% more than medical marijuana. Let’s say you’re buying recreational marijuana without an MMJ card. With a purchase of about $250, you’d be charged a sales tax of 15%. That equals an extra $37.50 added to your bill! If you’re a regular user of medical marijuana, you could see huge savings by avoiding the sales tax.

2. Continuity of care

Anyone who’s had to change healthcare plans knows what it’s like to switch to a different provider in the new year – it can be such a complicated process! Hanging onto your medical marijuana card means you can escape the red-tape of changing your cannabis consumption and habits. With your cannabis card, you won’t have to worry about switching up your routine. You’ll have the same access to high-quality cannabis products that you wouldn’t necessarily have if you switched to buying recreational marijuana products instead. You’ll also be guaranteed lower prices with your MMJ card than with recreational marijuana purchases. If you want to maintain the type of product and costs that you had in 2017, keeping your MMJ card in 2018 is the smart thing to do.

MMJ - medical marijuana

Even though recreational cannabis is now legal in California, you shouldn’t throw away your MMJ card.

3. Lower age limit

With recreational marijuana, individuals must be over 21 years of age to purchase or consume cannabis products. However, if you have an MMJ card, you only have to be 18 years old to access medical marijuana products. This factor can be significant to users who have medical issues that are treated with the usage of cannabis. With an MMJ card, you don’t have to worry about being under 21 if you need these products.

4. More freedom

When you have a cannabis card, you are permitted to carry and use your marijuana products freely. There are many restrictions to using recreational marijuana (like where you can consume it and how you can transport it), but an MMJ card allows you more freedom with your cannabis usage.

5. Access to a larger number of dispensaries

Because California is brand-new to the legalized marijuana game, there is some uncertainty about how recreational shops will be set up. However, it is likely that medical marijuana users will have access to a larger number of dispensaries that offer higher quality cannabis. For example, most medical dispensaries offer products grown from high-grade strains with various THC:CBD ratios, resulting in better and more effective products. With access to more dispensaries and better cannabis, medical marijuana users are definitely at an advantage over recreational marijuana users.

MMJ - marijuana and medicine

There are so many benefits to being an MMJ cardholder in California – don’t give them up!

6. Less restrictions

There are several disadvantages to being a recreational marijuana user versus an MMJ card holder. Recreational marijuana users are limited to having only one ounce of flower or eight grams of cannabis concentrates, while MMJ card holders can purchase, carry, and consume as much cannabis as is prescribed for their treatment. Edibles are restricted for recreational users as well – they’re only permitted to have 10 mg of individual doses. With a cannabis card, individuals are able to access more potent and higher strength products with no cap on the doses available to them. MMJ card owners are also able to grow more plants (in any 100 square-foot space) than recreational users, who are limited to six plants at a time.

To access all of these advantages, make sure you get your MMJ card in 2018. Although some individuals will benefit from recreational marijuana being legalized in California, to truly have flexibility and to spend less money, it’s essential to still obtain a medical marijuana card in California.

MMJ Sales Tax: Why Having an MMJ Card Could Save You Thousands of Dollars in 2018

There are many benefits to having a medical marijuana card in California. Now that 2018 has arrived, recreational marijuana use is now legal in the Golden State. However, even though you can obtain cannabis legally without an MMJ card, there are actually many advantages to owning a cannabis card – everything from saving money to being able to grow more plants. If you want to avoid that pesky MMJ sales tax, make sure you get your cannabis card in 2018.

If you’re interested in saving thousands of dollars every year (and who isn’t?), having a medical marijuana card in California could help you do just that. If you’ve never had a cannabis card, it’s a fairly easy process to get one. First, you apply for a card, which will usually cost you around $66 (or $33 if you are on Medi-Cal). Sometimes this fee can vary depending on the county you live in, but there is a cap, so you’ll never pay over $100 (or $50 for Medi-Cal enrollees) for the entire application. Once you’ve applied, you need to find a doctor who can prescribe medical marijuana – there are also sites where you can do online assessments and wouldn’t even need to visit a doctor’s office in person. These visits usually cost somewhere between $45 and $100. Once you’ve completed the process, it’s only between $25-$40 to renew your card every year after that. Although these costs can add up, in the end, you’ll still be seeing major savings by getting an MMJ card rather than buying for recreational use.

MMJ - Cannabis plant

There are so many benefits to having an MMJ card in California!

Don’t pay sales tax

The number one way to save money on your marijuana usage is to avoid paying the sales tax on your cannabis products. Individuals paying for recreational marijuana products have to pay a standard 15% tax on all orders. To avoid the MMJ sales tax, you can get a cannabis card and skip paying the tax. Let’s say you spend around $250 for one order (on average Californians pay around $250 per ounce for high-quality cannabis or about $200 for one ounce of mid-quality product). If you don’t have an MMJ card, you would face paying an added cost of $37.50 in taxes. With your cannabis card, you could completely avoid the MMJ sales tax, while possibly paying less for your actual product as well. Usually, 1/8th of marijuana, or 3.5 grams, would cost around $90 for recreational users, while MMJ cardholders would probably pay only around $50. If you calculate your savings on your actual product plus skipping the MMJ sales tax, you could see major savings right away by using your cannabis card.

Have access to more dispensaries

Since marijuana has now been legalized in California, there will likely be many more dispensaries popping up throughout the state. There are already over 3,000 dispensaries in the state that provide medical marijuana to consumers. While recreational users are limited to regular dispensaries, anyone holding a medical marijuana card in California has access to many more dispensaries that sell MMJ. Access to more dispensaries means you’ll be able to shop around for the products that best fit your budget. You can find the cheapest products in the variety or strain you need for your treatment. Instead of being stuck with just a few options, your medical marijuana shopping can be much easier with access to a wider selection of products. More access definitely means you’ll find more opportunities to save money.

MMJ - medical marijuana plants

Interested in growing your own marijuana plants? Read on…

Grow your own plants

Another way to save money on your medical marijuana is to grow your own plants. Recreational users are now permitted to grow plants since marijuana has been legalized, but there are still restrictions on what they’re allowed to grow. If you don’t have an MMJ card, you are only allowed to own six mature marijuana plants at any one time. With a cannabis card, you’ll actually be permitted to grow more plants in any 100 square-foot section. By growing your own product, you can save money by growing a wider selection or different varieties. You can also avoid any annoying markups that dispensaries include in their sales. Along with avoiding the MMJ sales tax, this can result in a lot more savings for your wallet.

Get deals or bonuses from dispensaries

With an MMJ card, there is also the opportunity for you to access deals and bonuses from some dispensaries. Do your research and see if any of the medical marijuana dispensaries in your area offer bonuses for frequent shopping trips. If you’re a loyal member to a rewards program, many dispensaries offer deals, coupons (like a percentage off your first purchase), or monthly store credit bonuses. Many dispensaries also provide their customers with benefits if they refer other MMJ card holders to the store. It’s easy to rack up savings if you keep your eye out for ways to maximize your savings during each shopping trip. If you’re a frequent shopper, you can see your savings add up quickly.

If you want to make sure that your marijuana costs stay low, you definitely need to take advantage of all of the benefits of having an MMJ card. Skip the MMJ sales tax, and you’ll immediately be able to see the savings. If you regularly purchase medical marijuana products, you could end up saving thousands of dollars in 2018 by having a cannabis card.

Why an MMJ Card Will Probably Always Be Necessary in the US

Medical marijuana has a long and fascinating history in the United States of America. It was first legalized in California in 1996, and since then, 29 states across the country have embraced the legalization of it by residents owning an MMJ card. It’s been a tough road, but if the trend continues, more and more states across the country will vote the medicine though in due course; many of the twenty nine swinging to legalization in the last few years.

The process by which a patient can avail of medical marijuana differs in each state, but one thing that unites all medical marijuana procedure is the crucial MMJ card; you have to procure one if you want to avail of the medicine.

These MMJ cards can be obtained from a registered healthcare professional like your GP, or even online, from professional health outlets on the internet. It’s quite a straightforward process in most states to sign up for the MMJ card, and it doesn’t take too long to start using medical marijuana legally.

But interestingly, running parallel to the country-wide debate about MMJ legality is a debate about recreational marijuana legality. Indeed, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California have all legalized recreational MJ as well as medical MJ; the question now becomes: If marijuana is legal, do patients have to bother with an MMJ card at all?

MMJ Laws and Medical Marijuana Cards

The good thing about an MMJ card is that it can be obtained from a registered healthcare professional and even online.

Like every controversial topic, the answer isn’t straightforward. In Colorado for example, the answer is no and yes. You aren’t required to have an MMJ card to buy marijuana in the state of Colorado; anyone over the age of 21 is allowed to purchase the drug for recreational use (which of course, can include medical by default) in doses of 1/4 ounces maximum.

However, without an MMJ card, you can only purchase marijuana from recreational stores and not the licensed dispensaries. So the onus is on you to ‘self-medicate’ as it were, and forgo the insight and advice that you might avail of at medical dispensaries.

California MMJ Laws

In California, the issue as it stands in mid-2017 is even more thorny. Cali legalized recreational marijuana last November 8th, on the same night that Donald Trump was voted President-elect. Some thought that they could throw their MMJ cards out of the window and immediately start availing of recreational marijuana, but things didn’t prove to be so simple.

Though the recreational bill passed, it’s going to take the guts of a year to set up, with the first marijuana being projected to be sold legally in early 2018. So until that time, it’s MMJ cards all the way; though when the law does kick in down in California, the same logic as Colorado applies. It’s much better to have an MMJ card and avail of the medical practicalities that one affords, rather than dish out recreational doses to yourself.

What Cannabis Cards Are Used For

An MMJ card is strictly for state-use only, and is exclusively available to those residing in the state in question. All you need is a qualifying condition as described by each state’s respective MMJ bill, proof of residence in the state, and a doctor who can sign your forms and validate you.

If you suffer from a serious condition, it is absolutely worth availing of an MMJ card, even if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal. This is one of the big reasons why an MMJ card will probably always be necessary in the U.S.; the fact that it’s used to treat such a large range of conditions – some which require large doses and some which require separate carers to procure or even home-grow medical marijuana for their patients.

MMJ Recs - Weed

Medical marijuana cards will always be useful for those with qualifying conditions like anxiety, cancer, glaucoma and so much more.

This spectrum of ailments goes all the way from the vague and mild of ‘chronic pain’ (or in California’s exceptionally lax case, ‘any condition for which marijuana provides relief’) to the specific and severe of Parkinson’s or cancer.

When you’re dealing with that amount of ailments, you should absolutely consult with a doctor before procuring any medicine and get licensed up with a legitimate MMJ card. That way you know you’re benefitting the most from the medicine, rather than self-medicating with recreational stock.

It’s also useful to know what form to take MMJ in; smoking, oil and edible forms can all be prescribed and covered under an MMJ card. Again, your personal doctor is the best person to advise you.

So ultimately, for the eight states and counting that have legalized recreational marijuana, the question is not really ‘Will an MMJ card always be necessary?’ but something more like, ‘Am I better off with an MMJ card?’ The answer is almost always yes.

So if you live in a legalized state and suffer from a condition that you suspect MMJ can help with, then talk to your doctor as soon as you can about registering for a legitimate and simple-to-procure medical marijuana card.

Why New York MMJ Patients Will Need a Medical Marijuana Card After 2018

Compared to its sister on the west coast, New York is surprisingly conservative when it comes to medical marijuana. Since 1996, the Golden State has allowed people with a range of illnesses and conditions access to this miracle drug, and it has improved countless lives since then.

However, New York has only legalized medical marijuana in 2014, and the conditions that you must meet to qualify are long and strict. Coming into 2018, there are several things that you’ll need to know if you’re a New Yorker who wants to use medical marijuana.

Conditions for Medical Marijuana Use

MMJ Recs - Hopsice Patient and Worker

If you live in New York and want to use medical marijuana, make sure your condition is on the approved list set by the government.

Firstly, the list of conditions that render you eligible for MMJ is quite limited in New York. There are only certain ailments that qualify you to receive medical marijuana, and the laws are very strict in adhering to the recommendation of MMJ to them.

If you suffer from cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord damage with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, chronic pain, chronic nausea, severe muscle spasms, cachexia or Huntington’s Disease, you will be eligible for treatment with medical marijuana, but depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions are sadly not covered.

The good news is that, effective in 2017, medical professionals will be able to recommend treatment of medical marijuana to patients online, and they will not have to undergo an in-person consultation in order to receive their medical marijuana card. However, it is not the only documentation that you will need in order to receive an MMJ recommendation.

MMJ Recs - Medical Doctor

Effective this year, medical professionals can recommend treatment of MMJ to patients online.

As well as the recommendation from a healthcare professional, you will need to gather your medical records, outlining that you suffer from one of the approved conditions for treatment by medical marijuana. You then have to submit these documents, along with proof that you are a resident of the state of New York, to the state authority. Then you will receive your medical marijuana card, which will allow you access to state dispensaries.

Another thing to remember when applying for a medical marijuana card in New York is that your medical professional will have to recommend the strain for your treatment and you will only be able to buy this specific strain. This eliminates any chance for experimentation with different treatment types and forms.

It is very important to have a clear and honest discussion with the medical professional who is carrying out your consultation so that they can decide what is the best course of treatment for you.

All About MMJ Laws in New York

Since bringing in its laws in 2014, New York is slowly but surely relaxing them. Certain conditions have been added since the laws were brought in and there is no limitation on the potential of conditions that can be added. This is at the discretion of the state governor, so depending on the politics of upcoming politicians, more conditions may be added to assist citizens of New York.

Campaigners are fighting for looser laws that will help more patients, but this will take time and is dependent on sympathetic legislators taking medical marijuana seriously as a legitimate treatment for numerous ailments.

MMJ Recs - MMJ Rolled

Dispensaries in New York, which are limited in numbers, can only dispense certain forms of medical marijuana to patients.

Laws regarding dispensaries in New York are also very strict. Dispensaries can only dispense certain forms of medical marijuana to patients depending on their recommendations, and there is a limit on the amount of dispensaries that can be operated by the same owner. Dispensaries must also be fully registered with the state and will undergo regular inspections to ensure that they are operating to the full letter of the law.

It is also very important to remember that the personal cultivation of medical marijuana is still illegal, despite medical marijuana being legal. If you are able to access medical marijuana in New York, you are still unable to grow it for yourself. All MMJ must be accessed and purchased through a state-sanctioned dispensary through the form recommended for you by a medical professional. You will be liable for legal consequences if you grow your own medical marijuana.

MMJ Recs - Smoking Shisha

As more people become educated about the benefits of medical marijuana, more states will start to legalize it.

While these limitations are frustrating, especially given the much more liberal laws in other states, the future is likely to be easier for medical marijuana patients. As stigma is reduced and the world at large becomes more educated about the benefits of MMJ, legislation will follow.

The public are mostly sympathetic to patients being treated with medical marijuana and the stereotype of stoners trying to circumvent the legal system is slowly but surely being demolished. The best thing to do if you live in New York is to live to the letter of the law, carry on taking your medication as advised, and hopefully as time goes on and the law is relaxed, everyone who needs treatment with MMJ will be allowed to access it in New York.

Why You’ll Still Need an MMJ Card After Weed is Legalized

Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, when the medical cannabis program was first approved. It was the number one state to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. Since then, many people with a debilitating illness have applied for and have been successful in receiving a California MMJ card. Once in possession of this cannabis card, owners can buy medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries, order it online from specialized and protected sites, and even grow their own plants. This has made life a little more palatable for those suffering from such conditions as arthritis, MS, AIDS and cancer – to name but a few of the 50 qualifying conditions.

Twenty years later in November 2016, the people of California passed Proposition 64, which legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes for adults over the age of 21 in the state. So, you might think that your 420 card is now redundant right? Well, you’re actually wrong. There are many reasons why you will need to retain and renew your MMJ card, once the law becomes effective in 2018.

MMJ Card Legalization Process

For the remainder of 2017, you will most definitely need to hang on to that California medical card. The Proposition will not come into effect until January 2018 at the earliest. The process of implementing this new law is pretty elaborate, so it’s safe to say that it won’t all happen overnight as we’re all celebrating the countdown to the New Year – there’s a lot of bureaucracy to get through first. Dispensaries will be allowed to start serving recreational users starting in January, but you can bet they won’t all be ready to do that – and some may delay or choose not to do so.

Even once we’ve reached 2018, when the state is required to give recreational weed shops their license, different localities within the state can set their own rules, so it’s not necessarily going to be a clear-cut done deal.

Recreational Use of Medical Marijuana in Public

One of the most important reasons why you will still need your MMJ card is that recreational use of MMJ will not be allowed in public places, even once the Proposition becomes law. However, if you have a California marijuana license, you will still generally be allowed to smoke medical cannabis where tobacco smoking is allowed. Remember to carry that card with you at all times!

MMJ Card Medical Needs

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If you’re a long-term medical weed card user, you will still have the respect of the medical professionals once it is legalized.

Some long-term MMJ card users are naturally worried that, with the legalization of cannabis, their medical needs may be belittled or forgotten about. They feel that the drug won’t be respected in terms of their requirements and how it benefits their lives. While it’s true to say that this may happen in a few cases, cannabis card holders should be assured that they will still be able to speak in confidence with doctors regarding their medical marijuana dosage, and use and that they will still have the respect of the medical professionals.

Growing Medical Cannabis at Home

Another obvious benefit of hanging on to your card once cannabis is legalized in California is that the new law will allow people to grow up to six plants only in their own home. As a cannabis card holder, you will still be allowed to harvest up to 100 square feet of marijuana plants on your own land.

The Price of Medical Weed

The final bit of good news and another reason why you will still need your card is that however the new proposition affects the price of marijuana, with a California medical marijuana card, you won’t have to pay more as you are exempt from paying sales taxes. Good news, huh?

Steps to Get an MMJ Card

Hopefully we’ve shown you some good reasons why you’ll still need your MMJ card after cannabis is legalized. If you don’t yet have a card, here’s how to apply for one:

If you think you may qualify for MMJ, then the easiest way to get a card is to buy your medical marijuana card online, via MMJ Recs. You just need to complete a standard medical form online and upload any relevant medical documents onto the site. One of our medical marijuana specialists will then evaluate you over the phone or via Skype. This takes just a few minutes; the physician will need information about your qualifying condition and your medical history, and will ask you why you believe taking medical marijuana may benefit you.

You can ask the specialist doctor any questions you like, and he or she will be available to advise you on the best strain and optimum amount for you disability. All benefits and any associated risks will be outlined to you. Once approved, your medical marijuana card will be sent to you in the mail. Be assured that MMJ Recs will treat any information you give us with the utmost privacy.

MMJ Recs - Hippie Van

At MMJ Recs, we will offer the best service and respect to anyone applying for an MMJ card.

If you are already in possession of a cannabis card, it’s important to remember that you need to reapply for your card every year.

So, our advice is don’t let the new law stop you from applying for a MMJ card or renewing it if you’re already in possession of one. The benefits of owning a card will remain, even once all the red tape has been gotten through, all the issues and concerns have been ironed out and the law is fully operational.

Is it Safe to Consume Medical Marijuana Around Children?

As the medical marijuana card revolution spreads across the United States, MMJ-using parents are now facing the tough question of whether or not they should consume the plant around their kids. Although MMJ isn’t as mind altering as other legalized substances like alcohol, there are still risks associated with consuming medical cannabis around children.

While other safe consumption methods may be up for debate, we can categorically tell you that smoking medical marijuana around your children is bad for them. Like cigarettes, when you smoke cannabis around children, you’re compromising their air quality through your own selfish decisions.

There is no amount of secondhand smoke that is not harmful to children, and breathing it in can lead to them developing a number of serious health issues like asthma, respiratory issues, ear infections and even sudden infant death syndrome.

Study on Children and Secondhand MMJ

Just like smoking tobacco is harmful to children, so is the secondhand smoke from medical cannabis.

According to Dr. Karen Wilson, a pediatrician and author of a study on the effects of secondhand marijuana consumption in children, parents and guardians need to take serious precautions to make sure kids aren’t left susceptible to ingesting or inhaling MMJ.

During her study, Dr. Wilson found that “there is a strong association between those who said there was someone in the home who used marijuana or a caretaker who used marijuana and the child having detectable marijuana levels”.

The children in the study had their urine samples sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which tested it for traces of marijuana. In children who had been expose to marijuana use, 75% had traces of marijuana in their urine.

Vaping Around Children

As vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, researchers are still unsure about whether or not children are at risk of being exposed to medical marijuana consumed via vaporizer. While there is no cloud of harmful smoke produced through vaporizing, a plume of mist does take its place, so it is reasonable to assume that this exhaled vapor may contain traces of MMJ.

As vaporizers need nothing except a firm pull to be ignited, if left unattended, you could find an eager child trying to copy you by sucking on the mouth piece. To avoid this, always make sure your vaporizer – and all your other MMJ equipment – is well out of the the reach of little, curious hands.

Medical Cannabis Edibles and Children

Initial research for MMJ edibles suggests that even low levels of THC exposure can have a negative effect on children.

Nothing is more tempting to a child than a tasty treat lying just within their reach. While an MMJ packed brownie might be just the thing that you need to ease the symptoms of your ailment, if it falls into the wrong hands, you could be making an unplanned trip to the Emergency Room.

If you’re consuming MMJ edibles around kids, make sure to keep them out of their reach. To avoid any arguments, you’re better off to consume them out of their line of vision too. Any refusals to share your delicious treat will be met with a volcanic temper tantrum, so do your best to avoid this situation.

Research into whether or not exposure to smokeless medical marijuana is bad for children is still relatively inconclusive, as there hasn’t been enough studies on the topic yet. Although there is still uncertainty, initial research would suggest that even low levels of THC exposure can have a negative effect on children, particularly affecting their development. These negative effects have been observed in every age bracket, from babies to teenagers.

Better Safe Than Sorry

To avoid exposing your little ones to the harmful effects of medical marijuana, it’s advised that MMJ card holders opt to consume the plant through ‘less exposable’ methods. These methods would include the use of tinctures, patches and MMJ infused drinks and edibles (once kept out of the reach of little hands). These methods, once administered correctly, won’t expose anyone but yourself to the effects of your medical marijuana.

Always set your MMJ doses out early and never have more on you than you’ll need if you know you’re going to be around children.

Although there are perfectly safe ways to consume medical marijuana around children, it’s prudent to remember not to consume too much. If you consume too much MMJ, you’re jeopardizing your ability to properly look after children, thusly potentially putting them in serious danger.

Though most MMJ card holders are fully aware of safe dosage levels, it can be easier than you think to consume too much, especially if your mind is distracted by looking after little ones. If you’re around kids and are worried about accidentally consuming too much MMJ, make sure to set your doses out early and to never have more MMJ on you than you’ll need in that day.

Consuming medical marijuana around children is no problem, once it’s carried out under the right circumstances. In any situation, the safety of the children should be paramount and where possible, should take precedence over your need to consume. If you’re still unsure on this topic, or if you’d like to know more about getting a medical marijuana card, get in touch with us and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

The Beginner’s Guide to Vaping Medical Marijuana

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’re probably aware of the omnipotence of vaping. Not just reserved for show-off teens making trick videos on YouTube, vaping has become more and more commonplace in recent times, and is now fast becoming the most popular method of consumption for medical marijuana card holders across the state of California.

For those of you who may not be quite au fait with what exactly vaporizing is – or you’ve been too afraid to ask – here’s a simple beginner’s guide to the phenomenon, without the jargon.

All About Vaporizing

So, what is vaporizing? How do you do it? It should come as no surprise to you that vaporizing is done with a … vaporizer! Simply put, a vaporizer works by heating your MMJ and creating a vapor cloud, which you then inhale and exhale, like you would with a joint.

For those of you want a bit more detail, here’s the science stuff. When you put your MMJ into the vaporizer, it’s heated to around 400 °F, which quickly releases the all important THC in the plant. A vapor cloud is created below the cannabis chamber of the vaporizer, which mixes with all the MMJ goodness above it. When you pull on the vaporizer, you inhale this THC-laced mist cloud, sending it flying through your body to target the symptoms of your ailment. As none of your medical marijuana is burned, there’s no smoke created.

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Plant

One of the benefits of vaping: no medical marijuana smoke is created.

Benefits of Vaping

There are plenty of reasons why MMJ card holders would choose to vape over other consumption methods – especially smoking. Unfortunately for MMJ card holders, smoking MMJ is no different to smoking anything else when it comes to exposing you to smoke-related dangers. When you smoke medical marijuana, you’re burning the plant, which then produces tar, carcinogens and other nasty products that should be kept well away from your body. When you vape, the plant isn’t being burned, so there’s no harmful smoke or carcinogens produced.

As most medical marijuana card holders will know, the cannabinoids in the plant are the most important players when it comes to tackling the symptoms of your ailment. These cannabinoids work to tackle pain and discomfort by mimicking the work of the naturally occurring endocannabinoids found in the body. These endocannabinoids are vitally important to your health, as they regulate immunity, pain and sleep so when they’re depleted, you can be in big trouble.

By replacing these endocannabinoids with the cannabinoids in MMJ, you’re restoring your body’s equilibrium, so it’s important that you consume as many of these wonder cannabinoids as possible. Thankfully for MMJ card holders, when you vaporize the plant, you’re inhaling approximately 95% cannabinoids, each one jam packed with the healing power necessary to get you feeling better.

A big reason that more and more medical marijuana card holders are opting to vape is that vaporizing your MMJ is delightfully discreet. The plume of mist created by a vaporizer doesn’t have an unpleasant weed smell. Any smell that may be created by the vaporizer is masked by the flavor of the oil, so people around you are none the wiser that you’re consuming – for all they know you’re just using a regular ‘ol tobacco vaporizer!

The plume of mist created by a vaporizer doesn’t have an unpleasant weed smell, unlike when you smoke a joint using medical marijuana.

Types of Vaporizers

Choosing which vaporizer to buy all depends on what you want out of it. Need something handy and portable? Then opt for a pen vaporizer. These are similar to the e-cigarettes that are currently on the market. The small size of these vaporizers mean they can be carried around discreetly and with ease. Although pen vaporizers can be great, some MMJ card holders would attest that they don’t provide you with the same amount of medical marijuana that more robust vaporizers would create.

If you’re looking for something slightly more durable but with the same portability, get yourself a portable vaporizer. These are slightly larger than pen vaporizers so they pack more of an MMJ punch.

If you cherish effectiveness over portability, then you should consider investing in a good quality stationary vaporizer. Though these machines don’t come cheap – they retail between $400-$700, depending on the model – they are unrivaled in their ability to produce MMJ-packed vapor.

It’s worth noting that although vaping is a great, handy way to consume medical wee, you do need to put some effort into the upkeep of your vaporizer. Try to clean your vaporizer at least once a week to avoid any old residue building up. No one wants to take a pull of their fresh MMJ, only to be met with the foul taste of some weeks-old buds. If your vaporizer is one that needs to be charged, make sure to do this regularly – perhaps overnight – to make sure you don’t get caught needing to consume, without the working equipment to do it.

Although vaping is an undeniably great method of consumption, sometimes even the best methods just don’t work for some people. If you’re not sure of whether vaping is for you, try out a vape or two at your local dispensary to see if it’s a good fit. If you think it’s right for you don’t worry, there are plenty of other consumption methods available to you.

6 Conditions That Medical Marijuana Can Treat

The ever-growing list of ailments that medical marijuana has been proven to treat seems like it’s never going to stop expanding. From menstrual cramps to bowel cancer, MMJ seems to have an ameliorative effect on just about any illness that can target a human body.

If we were to list every disease, illness or condition that could be helped by the drug, we’d be here all day. Instead, take a look at these six conditions that medical marijuana card holders across the country have seen effectively combated by MMJ.

Epilepsy

Medical marijuana is increasingly being used as a credible and effective treatment for a number of neurological conditions, particularly epilepsy. The active component of medical marijuana that is integral to fighting the symptoms of epilepsy is cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive part of the plant. The positive testimonies given by MMJ card holders with epilepsy have been mirrored by numerous studies on the potent effectiveness of the drug in its treatment.

During these scientific studies, seizures were reduced by a whopping 54% in those who had been previously unresponsive to other available treatments. Medical marijuana’s success in controlling epilepsy is often at the forefront of the argument for legalization in non-MMJ card states – a testament to its effectiveness.

Crohn’s Disease

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More doctors are seeing that MMJ helps Crohn’s disease sufferers get their appetite back, and it reduces inflammation of the intestinal tract.

Inflammatory bowel conditions, like Crohn’s Disease, are a popular qualifying ailment for a medical marijuana card. Crohn’s Disease is a chronic, painful and uncomfortable disease that affects the intestinal tract. As the disease is sadly incurable, patients with it are unfairly destined to suffer from it in some capacity for the rest of their lives. Symptoms present with Crohn’s disease include rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea, drastic weight loss and chronic abdominal pain. Medical marijuana works to combat these symptoms in a number of ways.

Predominantly, MMJ tackles Crohn’s by significantly reducing the inflammation of the intestinal tract, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. As well as this, MMJ is the ultimate appetite booster, meaning that those with an aversion to eating when their Crohn’s flares up will get a reinvigorated hunger. Finally, medical marijuana is an unrivaled pain reliever for the unrelenting and excruciating pain that comes with Crohn’s Disease.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term neurodegenerative disease that attacks the central nervous system. The onset of Parkinson’s is slow, but the results can be devastating. Unfortunately, early detection of Parkinson’s is nearly impossible, as the symptoms come on ever so slightly over a prolonged period of time. As the disease is incurable, treatment for it is based solely around making the patient as comfortable as possible. Brain surgery is of course an option, but most people don’t want the invasion and the risk that comes with it.

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Medical marijuana is an alternative to medication that is know to cause nasty side effects.

There are some prescription medicines on the market, but these can come with debilitating side effects like extreme nausea and depression. Medical marijuana is an effective and kind treatment for Parkinson’s, as it comes without side effects – a dream for those on harsher meds. The tremors, jerks and pain associated with Parkinson’s disease all respond positively to MMJ treatment, enabling the patient to live a fuller, more independent life.

Multiple Sclerosis

Like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis is a devastating condition that attacks the central nervous system of the body, particularly going after the immune system. Our immune system is hardwired to fight off unwelcome bacteria that presents itself within our bodies. Unfortunately, for those of us who suffer with MS, the disease confuses our immune system, making it turn against our natural body tissue, particularly our brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of MS include numbness, slurred speech, and in more serious cases, paralysis.

As 200 new cases of MS are diagnosed in the US every week, more and more people are turning to medical marijuana cards to help treat the unrelenting disease. Most MS patients find their medication too vital to substitute it completely with medical marijuana, instead opting to use it as a way to help them deal with the symptoms of the disease. MMJ also helps with the nasty side effects that come from taking medication.

HIV

In former years, a Human Immunodeficiency Virus diagnosis would be a death sentence, stripping the patient of any prospect they had of a future.  Thankfully, with the dawn of wonderful new medicines and technologies, HIV can now be effectively controlled and the patient can live a full and happy life. As there is no known cure for HIV, patients must take measures to ensure they can live comfortably.

Consumed alongside antiretroviral medications, medical marijuana works effectively at easing and ameliorating any pain or discomfort associated with the disease, as well as tackling unwelcome side effects from prescribed drugs.

A study conducted in 2005 found that a staggering 60% of HIV patients across the country consumed medical marijuana in addition to their medication. All MMJ friendly states recognize HIV as a qualifying ailment for a medical marijuana card, so all those in need of the drug can access it with ease.

Depression

Medical marijuana has lovingly been dubbed ‘green Prozac’ by those MMJ card holders who use it to treat their depression. The plant is an effective, natural alternative to antidepressants, which can sometimes come with a whole host of nasty side effects. The reason behind MMJ’s effectiveness at treating depression has to do with a little something called endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are naturally-occurring chemical compounds within our brains that regulate our emotions and behavior. When our endocannabinoid production is compromised, we’re left feeling dejected, lethargic and most of all, depressed. The chemical makeup of endocannabinoids is very similar to that of medical marijuana, meaning that when someone with depression consumes MMJ, they’re replacing the depleted endocannabinoids, thus significantly lifting their mood and restoring their emotional equilibrium.

While there’s no doubt that medical marijuana can be an effective treatment plan for any one of these conditions, it’s vitally important that you consult with your doctor before you opt to use it. If you’re unsure of your suitability for an MMJ card, they’ll be able to advise you and talk you through whether it will benefit to your condition.

Why Getting an MMJ Card in New York is Harder Than in California

It’s pretty safe to say that California medical marijuana card holders have it pretty easy. MMJ laws in the Sunshine State are famously lax, meaning that acquiring a cannabis card can be done in a few short minutes from the comfort of your own home. Soon, California’s marijuana laws will become even better when state wide legalization is introduced – way to go Cali!

Unfortunately, on the east coast, New York MMJ card carriers aren’t afforded the same weed friendly legislation. Since its legalization in 2014 by Andrew Cuomo, medical marijuana in New York hasn’t been easy to come by. Acquiring an MMJ card has been a legal minefield fraught with uncertainty. As a result, many people suffering from medical marijuana compatible illnesses have had to go without the miracle plant.

New York’s Case Against Medical Marijuana

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Governor Cuomo and his department don’t want the New York Medical Marijuana Program to be abused, so they’re making it very difficult to get a MMJ card.

The legislation of medical marijuana in New York came as a surprise to some as Governor Cuomo does not support the decriminalization of the plant. It is thought that the tough MMJ laws could be as a direct result of this. Although Cuomo does recognize the usefulness of medical marijuana as a form of treatment for certain illnesses, he is vehemently opposed to decriminalization, so it’s natural that he would want to keep MMJ laws as tough as possible to safeguard them from abuse.

Interestingly – and in spite of Cuomo’s beliefs – New York state lawmakers recently submitted two bills which could potentially pave the way for a state wide legalization of marijuana for recreational use. The bills – namely the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act – would create a system whereby marijuana would be taxed and regulated in the same way that alcohol is, creating a new market and providing millions of dollars in Revenue for the state.

Under this law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana would be legal for people aged 18 and over, and people aged 21 and over could legally buy cannabis from state licensed dispensaries, regardless of whether they had an MMJ card or not.

Until total legalization is introduced, it’s unlikely that getting a medical marijuana card will become much easier. Cuomo and his department don’t want the New York Medical Marijuana Program to be abused and thus, make getting the card particularly difficult. While these conservative views are restricting access to the plant for those in need, they see this as a necessary evil to stop people who they think shouldn’t be consuming it.

New York’s MMJ Laws

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One thing that majorly irked medical marijuana card holders in New York: the state banned edibles.

New York’s stringent MMJ laws are none the more evident than in the fact that smoking medical marijuana is strictly forbidden within the state. While smoking is not the consumption method of choice for most MMJ card holders – due to the obvious detrimental health effects – for the few users who prefer to smoke, this is problematic.

Edibles are similarly banned in New York, which irked medical marijuana card holders further. When this news was announced, some cannabis card holders were at a loss as to why these strict rules regarding consumption methods were enforced. It’s likely that the New York MMJ Program wanted to distance itself from recreational cannabis use as much as possible, thus outlawing methods of consumption that are more typically associated recreational users.

Type of Conditions

In the same vein, the list of qualifying conditions that deem you suitable for a medical marijuana card is considerably shorter in New York than it is in California. By and large, to obtain an MMJ card in New York you must be suffering from a life-threatening illness such as HIV or cancer, and your ailment must present you with associative and complicating conditions like seizures or chronic pain.

Thankfully, these laws have become slightly more lax in recent times, as PTSD and chronic pain have been added to the list of qualifying conditions.

Access to a Licensed MMJ Physician

Due to the uncertainty of New York’s MMJ Laws, unless you live close to New York City, it can be hard to find you a doctor who will happily recommend you for a medical marijuana card. Prospective MMJ card applicants across the state have consistently been disappointed, as their own trusted physicians refuse to recommend them for the program should, they step out of line and potentially lose their practice.

The best way to overcome this problem is to apply for your medical marijuana card online. This way you can complete your consultation with a state licensed physician from the comfort of your own home, and have it posted out to you within a few short days.

Essentially, it’s harder to get an MMJ card in New York than in California because the New York Medical Marijuana Program is still in its infancy. California legalized medical marijuana all the way back in 1996 – nearly 20 years before New York – so it’s no wonder that Cali is more weed-friendly than the Empire State.

Thankfully, New York is catching up fast, and it looks likely that we’ll see the full legalization of marijuana within the next five years. Until then, if you need access to MMJ in New York, it’s prudent that you apply for you medical marijuana card online today!

The Difference Between California and New York Medical Marijuana Laws

The advent of the medical marijuana card is fast spreading across the U.S. From California to Colorado to Alaska, more states are becoming more MMJ-friendly as the world starts to wake up to the innumerable benefits that the plant provides. Following the thinking of other like-minded progressive states came New York. Although most people would think of New York using the same terms that they’d think of California — modern, liberal, diverse — what comes as a surprise to most people is that their medical marijuana laws are among the strictest in the country and a far cry from the super-relaxed laws of the Golden State.

CA vs. NY: Medical Marijuana Cards

In California, acquiring a medical marijuana card could not be easier. You fill out a short questionnaire and are then transferred to a doctor who will carry out an online assessment from the comfort of your own home. If they think you’re suitable for an MMJ card, your certification will be posted out with a day or two. Simple huh!?

In New York, it’s a slightly more convoluted process. First, you must book an appointment with you doctor to present them with the illness you think makes you a suitable candidate for medical marijuana treatment (we’ll get into qualifying illnesses later). It’s important to note that the doctor you go to must be registered with the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. If they’re not, they won’t be able to provide you with medical marijuana certification. This doctor will carry out an assessment to determine your suitability for the program. If they think you satisfy all necessary criteria, they’ll provide you with your New York MMJ certification.

When you have this part of the process done and dusted, you must then apply for your Registry ID Card. This is the identification card you must bring with you when you visit the dispensary. This card is acquired by submitting an application to the Department of Health’s Online Patient Registration System. Once your application is rigorously processed, you’ll receive your ID card in the mail.

CA vs. NY: Qualifying Conditions

MMJ Rec - headache

In New York, you must suffer from a life-threatening illness to get a medical marijuana prescription.

California medical marijuana laws are pretty relaxed when it comes to for what you can be prescribed MMJ. If your doctor thinks you have a genuine case for a prescription, then you’ll get it regardless of your ailment.

New York’s medical marijuana laws aren’t quite as embracing. In New York, you must suffer from a life-threatening illness such as HIV, Parkinson’s or ALS to get a medical marijuana prescription. Even then, your illness must exhibit significant symptoms such as chronic pain or seizures. These medical marijuana laws are becoming slightly more lax, with post-traumatic stress disorder thankfully getting added to the list of qualifying ailments, but doctors cannot and will not prescribe for anything other than the few illnesses that the law allows.

CA vs. NY: Medical Marijuana Consumption Methods

If you ask a Californian medical marijuana card holder what their favorite way to consume MMJ is, they could give you any kind of answer: smoking, edibles, teas, tinctures. You name a way and you can bet that Californian MMJ card carriers have tried it.

Unfortunately for their New York counterparts, the same level of flexibility is not accommodated. Under New York law, only liquids and oils (for inhalation and vaporization) and capsules are allowed to be used to consume medical marijuana. This means no edibles, no smoothies and absolutely no smoking. If you’re caught smoking medical marijuana in New York, you’ll find yourself in trouble with the law regardless of whether you have a medical marijuana card.

CA vs. NY: Home Cultivation of Medical Marijuana

Not only are certain methods of consumption illegal, but home cultivation is also illegal in New York — another contrast to California. On the Pacific Coast, you can grow up to six mature MMJ plants or 12 immature ones once you have a grower’s license. Although it is likely that New York will relax their medical marijuana laws to mirror California’s, this may not come to fruition for a while.

CA vs. NY: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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New York law only allows for five companies to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana

Although California dispensaries could not be easier to find — and with new ones popping up all the time — New York law only allows for five companies to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. This will soon be changing as a law was passed late last year to bring this number up to 10.

CA vs. NY: Recreational Marijuana

Probably the biggest and most noticeable difference between Californian and New York medical marijuana laws is the fact that smoking marijuana for recreational reasons has been legalized in the Golden State. New York is likely to follow suit eventually, but until then, cannabis smoking is strictly for those with medical marijuana cards.

Although both states’ willingness to embrace medical marijuana should be lauded, we can’t forget that the plant is actually still illegal at a federal level in the United States. Thankfully, due to the federal government’s laissez-faire attitude on the topic, this is rarely ever an issue for medical marijuana card carriers in either state.

It’s easy to chastise New York and its draconian medical marijuana laws when we compare them to California’s, but we should refrain from doing so. Any sort of legalization is a step in the right direction, and once we see states moving progressively like this, we should be embracing them for it.

5 Medical Marijuana Accessories That Can Help Patients

Today’s medical marijuana card holders have it better than ever. Thanks to the advent of the MMJ card, we now have a booming medical marijuana market that not only provides users with the miracle plant, but also gives them a whole host of handy accessories to consume it with.

Long gone are the days where you’d have to roll a joint with some paltry papers and a cardboard roach to be soothed by MMJ. Nowadays, with a little help from these excellent accessories, you can consume medical marijuana in more ways than you can count.

Let’s take a look at some MMJ accessories that are helping out patients across the country.

Medical Marijuana Card

First and foremost, the most important medical marijuana accessory that MMJ patients need is their medical marijuana card. Without this, you won’t be able to access MMJ and thus, you won’t have any need for any of the other accessories on this list!

Getting your California MMJ card is a really easy process. First, you fill out a simple questionnaire about things relate you to and your ailment. After this, you’ll be connected to MMJ Recs’ HIPAA telemedicine platform to complete an online consultation with one of our state licensed physicians. This consultation is an easy and noninvasive process, and you’ll find out then and there if you’re eligible for your medical marijuana card.

If you’re found to be suitable for the medical marijuana program, you’ll be emailed your MMJ card recommendation right away, with the embossed official copy being sent to you the next day. For information on how to get a medical marijuana card in New York see our article here.

Vaporizer

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There are many types of MMJ vaporizers, including basic, cheaper models that look like cigarettes, to expensive, state-of-the-art balloon vaping machines.

Vaporizers are fast becoming the most popular way for medical marijuana card holders to consume MMJ. The main appeal of vaporizers is that they don’t force the user to inhale smoke the way that smoking does. As well as this, when you vape your MMJ – as opposed to smoking it – you’re not destroying any of the all-important cannabinoids inside the plant. These cannabinoids are what make your MMJ ease your pain, so you want to keep as much of them jam-packed into your cannabis as possible.

The way a vaporizer works is by heating the MMJ to just below 400°F, releasing the THC inside. This creates a plume of MMJ-infused vapor, which is then quickly inhaled by the user as they pull on the end of the vaporizer. As there is nothing being burned, no smoke is created – meaning that not only is vaporizing better for your lungs, it’s also a lot more discreet.

Vaporizers come in all shapes and sizes, from ones disguised to make them look like a cigarette, to bigger balloon vaping machines. We suggest that you take your time choosing you vaporizer and that you invest in one of good quality.

A Good Container

While it may seem obvious, investing in a good container for your medical marijuana is really important. MMJ is a very sensitive plant that needs to be kept in a secure place in order to stay in good condition. If weed is kept in an unsuitable carrier, it will either be lost, damaged or gone stale before you realize it.

Medical marijuana containers come in many diverse forms. Some people like the idea of keeping it in a simple wooden box, which can also store all of their other accessories. Although these are great for keeping at home, they’re not ideal for carrying around with you while you go about your day-to-day business.

Another container popular with MMJ card holders is the Medtainer, a purpose-built medical marijuana holder that is airtight and portable. This will keep your MMJ nice and safe when you’re out and about, and its design means it’s not obviously a weed container – important when you’re trying to be discreet.

If you’re looking for something even simpler, opt for a Stink Sack. These plastic pockets are smell proof and come in a childproof variety, making them very popular among MMJ card carriers with kids.

Pipe

Regardless of what your preferred method of consumption is, it’s always handy to have a pipe. Pipes can easily be thrown in your pocket and carried around – should you be struck with the urgent need to consume some MMJ. Unlike other consumption methods, all you need to do with a pipe is pop in some MMJ, light it up and you’re good to go.

Like vaporizers, pipes come in all shapes and sizes, and can be made from glass, metal, wood and plastic. Although plastic pipes are in circulation, we would strongly advise that you never use one, as you’re risking inhaling harmful toxins.

The Monkey Pipe is a simple, handy pipe that is perfect for keeping in the bottom of your bag. Another healthier option would be the Perfect Pipe, a pipe that is similarly easy to carry around, and one that maximizes on THC transfer.

It’s prudent to shop around when deciding on what pipe to use. Although it’s not as important as choosing a vaporizer, you should still choose your pipe wisely to give your body the best it deserves.

Rolling Machine

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Rolling the perfect marijuana joint takes experience, so it may be better for you to invest in a rolling machine.

If you’ve ever tried rolling a joint with no experience, you’ll know exactly how hard this seemingly easy process can be. Learning how to roll can be a long, drawn out process, and even those well-versed rollers can have bad days where their joints leave a lot to be desired.

While this may not be a major problem for recreational users, for medical marijuana card holders, it’s important not to waste your plant in poorly constructed joints. To avoid any rolling-related stress, it’s advisable to invest in a rolling machine. Rolling machines, like this one from RAW, make it so you don’t have to worry about rolling the perfect joint. This can be of immeasurable benefit for arthritis sufferers whose dexterity has been depleted by their ailment.

Although this is only a short list, there are still tons of other great products out there, each designed to make the lives of MMJ patients all the more easy. As the world continues to become more MMJ-friendly, we’ll see even more useful medical marijuana accessories come onto the market.

When it comes to choosing what accessories are best for you, shop around, consider everything and choose wisely.

How to Get Your New York MMJ Card: 3 Easy Steps

In July 2014, New York became the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana, following a ‘lengthy and emotional’ debate in the Senate. It ultimately saw the Compassionate Care Act bill being supported by a 49-10 Senate vote.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has made no secret of his staunch anti-marijuana stance in the past, signed the bill into law, opening an 18-month window for the New York Department of Health to come up with a viable and complicit MMJ program. The completed program was subsequently launched on January 7th.

While this was great news for suffering patients who were desperately awaiting the legalization of MMJ, the bill raised a few eyebrows due to it being one of the most restrictive in the country. For the usually forward-thinking New York, it was a concerning conservative move, and one that seemed regressive in the face of pioneering MMJ states like California and Colorado. Only five MMJ producers were licensed by the DOH, and only twenty dispensaries were permitted state-wide.

It was also pretty tough to get your hands on an all-important MMJ card, as the list of qualifying conditions was limited to severe illnesses like cancer, ALS, and Parkinson’s. This made doctors wary of prescribing MMJ; if the patient’s condition was seen as borderline or questionable, the doctor could be prosecuted for illegal distribution.

Thankfully, in the months that followed, leading up to the present, mid-2017, progress was made due to near constant campaigning from MMJ advocates. It is now much easier to secure an MMJ card in New York, as the blanket term ‘chronic pain‘ was added to the list of qualifying conditions. Obviously this has a medically broader reach and gives doctors more freedom in prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment plan.

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There are a few basic steps to follow before you get your New York MMJ card.

But there are a few hoops to jump through before you can access your medicine:

Step One

The first step in getting your MMJ state ID card, the all important key to the kingdom, is finding a certified medical practitioner who can recommend you medical marijuana as a remedy. Locating a doctor is quite simple in 2017; you can visit one in real life, or even avail of handy online caregivers, who will happily certify you legally for an MMJ card, as long as your condition meets the state’s requirements.

Once you have that, there’s a little bit more due process to get through; but fear not, you’re almost there.

Step Two

Once certified, you head on over to https://my.ny.gov/ and find the ‘Health Applications’ icon. Once there, locate the ‘Medical Marijuana Data Management System’ link to register yourself. Bear in mind, you will need an NY.gov account to set up your registration; if you don’t have this, it’s simple to create one, and you can follow the link from the MMJ registration page.

Another important thing to keep in mind during the registration process is that you’ll need to provide proof of identity and residency in New York state. An NY-issued driver’s license is pretty perfect for this as it works for both requirements, but if you don’t drive, you can still use a passport photo taken within the last thirty days, and an official document like a utility bill or government-issued letter sent to you within the last two months.

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An NY-issued driver’s license can be used to register for a MMJ card in New York.

The Compassionate Care Act states there is a $50 filing fee necessary for all applications, but the kind folks at the Department of Health are currently waiving that fee for all patients and caregivers. If you select the ‘Bill Me Later’ option during this stage, the fee will be waived and you’ll be relieved of this particular financial burden.

If your illness or condition incapacitates you, the next and final stage of the application process allows you to designate up to two caregivers who can collect your medicine for you. These caregivers have to be registered, and must bring their registration with them when collecting the MMJ, as well as their patient’s certifications.

Step Three

Once you’ve completed that step, the only thing left to do is sit back and wait for your ID card to be delivered to you!

After your card arrives, there are a few things to keep in mind as you begin benefiting from your medicine. One important point is that you must keep your MMJ ID card on you whenever you’re carrying medical marijuana, not just when you buy it at the dispensary. The safest bet is probably to keep it on you at all times, like you would a bank card. That way you’ll never be caught short if someone happens to question you on your MMJ.

Also, if you change addresses, or for some reason your name, you’ll need to notify Medical Marijuana Program as soon as possible so they can issue a new card.

MMJ is still finding its feet in New York, but the signs are good that things are changing for the better. As more conditions are added to the qualifying list and it gets easier for patients to benefit from medical marijuana, distribution and dispensaries across the state should grow and multiply, making MMJ available to all who require it.

7 Things a New York Medical Marijuana Patient Needs to Know

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed medical marijuana legalization into law in July 2014, he made New York the 23rd state to do so. Although this was most definitely a step in the right direction, New York’s medical marijuana laws are still among the strictest in the country, so it can be hard for medical marijuana card holders to keep up with what’s allowed and, more importantly, what’s not. For those of you who may not be au fait with the MMJ 411 in the Empire State, we’ve made a list of seven things that all New York medical marijuana patients need to know.

Acquiring Medical Marijuana in New York Takes a Few Steps

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If you are specifically interested in getting medical marijuana, it’s important that you choose a physician who is registered with the New York Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program.

The process of getting medical marijuana in New York isn’t quite as straightforward as it is elsewhere. The first step in doing so is going to your doctor to discuss with them the issue you think might qualify you for medical marijuana certification.

If you are specifically interested in getting MMJ to treat this ailment, it’s important that you choose a physician who is registered with the New York Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. This doctor will do an assessment of you and your illness, and if they think you are suitable for it, they will issue you with a medical marijuana certificate. After this, you need to register with the Department of Health’s online Patient Registration Program. This will get you your Registry Identification Card, which will enable you to acquire MMJ.

You Can Only Get Medical Marijuana at Registered Dispensaries

Once you have your Registry Identification Card, bring it to any one of the registered dispensaries that are dotted around the state to acquire your medical marijuana. It is important that you bring your certificate with you, too, or else you will be denied service. If you are acquiring MMJ as a caregiver, you must bring your caregiver’s registry identification and your patient’s certification. To find out where the nearest registered dispensary to you is, see this list.

New York Medical Marijuana Laws Are Much Stricter Than Elsewhere

Although any kind of legalization should be welcomed with open arms, New York’s medical marijuana laws are unfairly restrictive. Unlike California, in New York, you must be suffering from a life-threatening illness such as cancer, ALS, HIV or multiple sclerosis to receive medical marijuana certification. Even then, your ailment must have “associative or complicated conditions” such as chronic pain or persistent muscle spasms.

Additionally, some methods of medical marijuana consumption have been banned (more on that later), and you cannot deviate from the method of administration appointed to you by your doctor. When you’re at the dispensary, you can only acquire 30 days or less worth of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, unlike other states, you cannot grow your medical marijuana at home.

Different MMJ Strains Help Different Ailments

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to marijuana strains. Every strain is different, and different strains relieve different ailments differently. Choosing the right strain of medical marijuana to use to treat your ailment is a vitally important part of the treatment process, and you and your doctor should put a lot of consideration into it. Although this can be a long and boring process, it’s well worth the benefits you’ll be reaping once you find the right one. For more information on what strains are best to tackle different types of pain, check out our blog post on the topic.

You Cannot Smoke Medical Marijuana in New York

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Medical marijuana card holders are safe in the knowledge that they have access — albeit restricted access — to the plant that brings them so much relief.

Unlike other states that have legalized the use of the plant, New York has banned all smoking of medical marijuana. This bizarre news came as a surprise to just about everyone who had been campaigning for legalization. Although smoking is not often the preferred method of consumption for medical marijuana card holders — due to the obvious detrimental health effects — it is still annoying for those who are most comfortable consuming this way.

Medical marijuana card holders are still somewhat at a loss as to why exactly this strange rule was brought in with many speculating that it could be because smoking marijuana is typically more associated with its recreational use rather than its medical use. Although this is likely to change eventually, until then, medical marijuana card holders are strictly advised to stick to other methods of consumption.

There Are Several Ways You Can Consume Medical Marijuana

Unfortunately, the New York restrictions on medical cannabis don’t just disallow smoking, but the use of MMJ edibles to treat your ailment is also prohibited. Although this does limit medical marijuana card holders somewhat when it comes to how they can consume, there are still other options available.

The main method of consumption that New York medical marijuana laws allow is the use of liquids or oils for vaporization or inhalation. Vaporization — or vaping as it is more commonly known — is a very popular method of consumption even outside of New York. With vaping, you use a vape pen which heats up your MMJ and creates a cloud from it that you then inhale. Vaping doesn’t overheat cannabis, which means that you’re benefiting from every one of those all-important cannabinoids, which would be destroyed by other methods such as smoking. Alternatively, you could inhale the MMJ liquid using a purpose-built inhaler, which can be easily obtained at a dispensary.

New York medical marijuana laws also allow for the use of MMJ capsules, which can be taken orally. This is a great option for those medical marijuana card holders who might not be comfortable with inhaling MMJ.

You Can Consume Medical Marijuana Anywhere in New York

Like in other states, the key to the consumption of medical marijuana in New York is discretion. Although you may be completely within the realms of the medical marijuana laws by consuming in an obvious manner, this won’t be taken well by the local authorities, and you could find yourself in a spot of a bother anyway.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure you’re always discreet. Consuming discreetly is pretty easy to do in New York as the only methods of medical marijuana consumption allowed here are discreet ones. Most vapes come with a scent to mask the weed smell from vaporizers so those around you while you’re using will be none the wiser.

Although New York is slightly more restrictive than other states when it comes to their medical marijuana laws, as the world becomes more marijuana friendly, these laws will become laxer. Whether we’ll eventually see full recreational legalization, we won’t know for a while, but for now, at least medical marijuana card holders are safe in the knowledge that they have access — albeit restricted access — to the plant that brings them so much relief.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in California

For many people, the thought of getting a medical marijuana card in California can be very intimidating. As marijuana has been thought of and classified as illicit for so long, it can be difficult to change your mind and ignore the stigma to realize that medical marijuana is a necessary and helpful medication that can massively alleviate symptoms caused by a range of illnesses. If you suffer from anxiety, chronic pain, depression, anorexia, multiple sclerosis or a variety of other illnesses, using medical marijuana may prove very helpful in reducing your symptoms.

If you’re a resident in the state of California, it’s not just the great weather for which you can be grateful. California is one of 29 states in the U.S. that will allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons. California was the first state to pass a medical marijuana law. Ever since Prop 215 passed in 1996, patients have flocked to the Golden State to take advantage of its patient-centric medical marijuana laws that allow doctors to help patients manage their chronic symptoms. The medical marijuana law is flexible and allows patients to seek assistance from medical professionals in many ways.

Steps to Getting Your 420 Card

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As marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, doctors are not allowed prescribe it. The letter that your doctor will provide you is called a recommendation.

There are some steps you’ll need to follow to get your medical marijuana card in California. You will need a letter from a doctor, but this is not a prescription. As marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, doctors are not allowed prescribe it. The letter that your doctor will provide you is called a recommendation.

You do not have to go to your normal physician if you don’t want to. There are several physicians who work specifically in medical marijuana, and you can even attend an online consultation to get the necessary paperwork.

An online consultation is often the easiest way to get your recommendation. You will have to fill out a consultation form and questionnaire, detailing your reasons for requiring medical marijuana. It is important to pick an online physician that places high importance on your safety and security as a hack or leak of sensitive medical information would be disastrous.

After completing your questionnaire, you will then have a short consultation with a doctor who specializes in medical marijuana. After speaking to you, you will then receive a PDF of your medical marijuana recommendation, and a 420 card and hard copy letter will then be mailed to you, arriving less than a week later.

You will need to have an official form of U.S. identification, but it’s better to use a California ID as some dispensaries will not give medical marijuana to out-of-state residents. Although it is not a legal requirement to be a Californian resident, it is better to be safe than sorry and to comply with the request of your MMJ dispensary.

If you decide to go for an online consultation, it is important to be open and honest with them. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to and to ask if they have any feedback about particular medical marijuana strains that may be more helpful for you and your symptoms. Different medical marijuana strains work on different symptoms. For example, if you have insomnia, you may benefit from a strain that will be completely unhelpful for someone with chronic pain.

Now Plan a Trip to an MMJ Dispensary

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It is very important that you choose an MMJ dispensary where you feel comfortable speaking to the employees and seeking advice so that you can get the best medical marijuana strains for your symptoms.

Now that you have your 420 card, what’s next? You’ll need to visit an official MMJ dispensary to collect your medical marijuana. Before making a purchase, make sure to ask the dispensary if they accept an online letter printed out or if you’ll have to return when your official letter and 420 card have been delivered.

Different dispensaries have different requirements, and you are not obligated to go to any one MMJ dispensary, so feel free to shop around. It is very important that you choose an MMJ dispensary where you feel comfortable speaking to the employees and seeking advice so that you can get the best medical marijuana strains for your symptoms.

Although the process of getting a medical marijuana card in California may seem troublesome, you just need to remember that you can attend doctors and dispensaries that are comfortable for you.

Although the use of medical marijuana may still be stigmatized, the people who provide marijuana recommendations are medical professionals who want to assist patients in getting the best relief possible for their symptoms. You don’t have to go to a sketchy MMJ dispensary or a dodgy doctor. Online providers will give you an open and safe space to get your recommendation.

You also can pick and choose the best dispensary that meets your needs and allows you to use your medication to live your best life. Get online, get your recommendation and blaze up without fear of prosecution. California will protect you and your rights to manage your condition in the best possible way: with medical marijuana.

10 Health Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card

Medical marijuana and the issuing of MMJ cards in California has made the drug one of the most mainstream medicinal and social forms of treatment in the United States. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the biggest benefits of medical marijuana and what having that all-important California medical marijuana card means for you. Cannabis has been a very tricky plant to study, but as the U.S. relaxes its attitude toward the drug, the indisputable benefits of medical marijuana are starting to come to light. With an MMJ card, you can benefit from them, too!  

Lose Weight

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If you have a medical marijuana card, you might actually start to slim down.

Many people associate marijuana with the munchies and eating food that you really shouldn’t be eating, so this might sound crazy, but MMJ can actually help you lose weight. Numerous studies have shown that not only are marijuana users slimmer than non-users, but marijuana is also capable of reducing insulin levels in your body, which can, in fact, promote weight loss. Marijuana users have a lower obesity rate than non-MMJ users, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine.

Treat Bowel Problems

The key components of marijuana THC and cannabidiol can combine with the cells in your body to improve the function of your gut and even immune responses. The cannabinoids in marijuana are actually capable of making your intestinal cells form a tighter bond, which, in turn, helps keep bacteria out and protects your immune system from bowel diseases.

Prevent Spread of HIV

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Studies show medical marijuana can help prevent the spread of HIV.

The main component of medical marijuana — tetrahydrocannabinol, or the much easier to pronounce THC — can help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS. The cannabinoids within marijuana contain powerful anti-viral compounds that help prevent the spread of the disease. For those already suffering from HIV, these compounds have helped to reduce nausea, neuropathic pain and body weakness.

Relieve Arthritis Pain

Patients who have a medical marijuana card have seen severe reductions in pain compared to those who have not been treated with medical marijuana. MMJ has actually proven to be a more effective form of treatment compared to any other form of conventional medicine.  

Reduce Chemo Symptoms

Suffering from cancer is one of the hardest things to do in life. The process of chemo is mentally and physically draining. Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy typically suffer from loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Medical marijuana is commonly used to help treat these side effects and to increase appetite, reduce nausea and cope with pain.

Help with Effects of Strokes and Epilepsy

Numerous studies have proven that medical marijuana can help to protect your brain after suffering from a stroke. MMJ reduces the size of the area of the brain affected by the stroke and, as a result, helps to prevent future strokes from happening. It has also been proven to reduce convulsions and minimize them for people suffering from epilepsy.

Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Studies have shown that medical marijuana is not only an effective way to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s but can actually help prevent the disease altogether. This is because the cannabinoids found in MMJ are able to reduce the neurodegenerative process that occurs when someone has Alzheimer’s. For those who suffer from the disease, it’s a great method of reducing the effects, and for those who don’t, it’s a great way of preventing it.

Deal with Anxiety

The best of the best at Harvard medical school have performed studies that show that medical marijuana can help to reduce and prevent anxiety for both small and large scale sufferers.

Treat Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is the late-stage scarring of the liver, and symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, easy bleeding and bruising. Marijuana has been used to help treat and alleviate some of the more severe symptoms of cirrhosis. The two major cannabinoids found in medical weed — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — bind with or influence the cannabinoid receptors in your body. The theory is that this acts as a fusing mechanism and helps to replicate the role of a person suffering from liver damage. Although medical marijuana is not thought to repair the damage, it is believed to have a beneficial effect on containing it.

Treat Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a nasty eye condition that can lead to blindness. With the legalization of medical marijuana, studies have illustrated how it can be used to treat glaucoma. The THC in marijuana helps lower the intraocular pressure in your eyes. Because glaucoma is caused by an excess buildup of pressure, it can be used in conjunction with other medications.

These are only a few of the many benefits of becoming a California weed card holder. With your MMJ card in hand, you can visit your local dispensary, and you may find that the owner has an almost pharmacy-like knowledge of how medical marijuana can help you.

Why Traditional Medicine Is Finally Coming Around to Medical Marijuana

Attitudes toward marijuana within the United States have been dramatically changing throughout recent years. As each voting cycle passes, an increasing number of states have legalized marijuana: 28 states and Washington, D.C., permit the use of medical marijuana, and eight of those states also allowing recreational consumption.

In 2016, a Gallup survey found that 60 percent of American citizens support complete decriminalization of marijuana for any purpose and a larger percentage support marijuana exclusively for medicinal use.

Although the public at large now has favorable views on the drug, what about those within the fields of traditional medicine?

WebMD, a popular site used by health professionals, conducted a survey in 2014 asking 1,544 doctors across 48 states and 12 specialties if they support the legalization of medical marijuana. The survey found overwhelming support for legalization. Most doctors said the drug should be legal in their states or, at the very least, an option for suffering patients.

With this support for medical marijuana, why is there still a significant lack of scientific research being conducted? Unfortunately, marijuana is still outlawed by the federal government, designated a Schedule I substance with “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.” Due to the strict federal oversight of medical research, making progress is easier said than done.

Many credentialed doctors have come forward to express their issues with the government standing in the way of important medical research in relation to marijuana.

“Millions of patients are using this plant, and we need to understand it,” says Sue Sisley, a doctor and researcher at the University of Arizona. “It is negligent for states to go selling cards to marijuana patients without actively conducting rigorous medical marijuana research that’s necessary.”

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A Gallup survey found a majority of Americans support medical marijuana.

So why are experts in the field of traditional medicine finally coming around to medical marijuana?

Although research into the drug is far less extensive than it should be, a number of studies have shown findings that suggest marijuana holds the potential to treat a plethora of medical problems — and often more effectively than traditional medicine. The list of ailments that can be treated with the use of marijuana is wide-ranging. Below we examine some of the most promising of treatments.

Nausea and a Loss of Appetite

According to the Institute of Medicine, medical marijuana can greatly assist with nausea and a loss of appetite. Evidence supporting this is obtained through studying those going through treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy. Common side effects of cancer treatment are rapid weight loss, along with a loss of appetite. A study out of St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, found that through the use of medical marijuana, patients’ nausea and appetites improved by an average of 38%.

Parkinson’s Disease and General Pain Relief

Parkinson’s disease and general pain relief are often cited as the most common reason why patients choose to consume medical marijuana. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that the psychoactive properties of marijuana could be particularly helpful in treating Parkinson’s. A different study published in Neuropsychopharmacology found that the pain experienced by patients with HIV dropped by 30 percent more than 50 percent of the time through the use of marijuana.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Medical marijuana is also used to support United States veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects about 8 million adults each year. Findings out of the NYU Langone Medical Center concluded that the chemical properties of marijuana are particularly poised for addressing PTSD. “We know very well that people with PTSD who use marijuana often experience more relief than they do from antidepressants,” says the study’s lead researcher, Alexander Neumeister.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression affect an estimated 12 percent of Americans. These conditions do not always stem from a traumatic incident but can occur based on the time of year. A research team from Brazil conducted a study surrounding seasonal affective disorder and found that marijuana treatment, when used in moderation, demonstrates a significant decrease in both anxiety and depression. These findings were supported by a separate study out of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennesee.

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The list of ailments that can be treated with the use of medical marijuana is wide-ranging.

Epilepsy and Seizures

Although scientific evidence remains limited to animal trials, various stories have circulated regarding those who suffer from epilepsy and seizures. Many of those affected claim that medical marijuana has helped their epilepsy. One woman went as far as to say, “Without medical marijuana, I wouldn’t be alive today.” Multiple families have even moved to Colorado to receive a special strain of marijuana to treat their children’s seizures.

Despite the evidence, marijuana remains a contentious issue in Washington, D.C. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a vocal about keeping marijuana illegal at a federal level. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” he says. Sessions also recently stated that marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. Needless to say, with extreme opinions such as these at the peak of government, laws are unlikely to be changed for the better any time soon.

Traditional medicine has come around to medical marijuana, even if some politicians don’t agree. The Epilepsy Foundation calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to relax its restrictions on marijuana so it can be properly studied is just one example of the countless groups of people offering their support. Let’s hope that in the years to come, organizations, members of the public, and politicians alike can find a common ground.

Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in California and How To Get One

The Compassionate Use Act, also known as Proposition 215, was passed in the state of California in 1996. This act allows citizens who qualify for a medical marijuana card to legally procure, possess and use medical marijuana. It also provides a safe environment for patients to talk to medical professionals about medical marijuana use and appropriate dosages for their specific needs. Furthermore, doctors are now able to prescribe MMJ for a range of disorders and illnesses. Anyone can apply for a medical marijuana card if they have an ailment they believe would be alleviated by MMJ use. It’s an easy process that can be done online via a quick survey and an interview with a medical professional.

What Proposition 64 Means for Californians

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Don’t get rid of your medical marijuana card just yet.

Recently, the California government passed another law, Proposition 64, which allows any citizen to legally possess and use cannabis recreationally (much like having a glass of wine with dinner). This has left many who rely on MMJ as a means of medication to wonder where this leaves them with regards to access to medical marijuana and the available treatment options.

Although this new proposition has passed and it’s now legal to possess and use cannabis recreationally, the law won’t come into full effect until at least 2018. This means that until the proper legislation is in place, it will still be illegal to purchase recreational cannabis, so citizens without a medical marijuana card will have to rely on being “gifted” the substance if they wish to partake. This new proposition also forbids the use of cannabis in public arenas, so consumers will have to be discreet and keep to private spaces to imbibe.

Why You Should Hold onto Your Medical Marijuana Card

Patients who qualify for and possess a medical marijuana card will not have these obstacles and will be allowed to dose in most places that tobacco use is allowed. Another limitation to Proposition 64 is that citizens can only be in possession of 1 ounce of flowers or 8 grams of concentrate while in public spaces and will be limited to growing just six plants in their homes. Those with a medical marijuana card, however, will continue to be allowed to cultivate up to 100 square feet of MMJ at any given time.

Although Proposition 64 expands the public’s rights to use cannabis, patients who require MMJ as a means of medication will still receive certain allowances that average citizens will not. Many believe that even when the full legislation is in place, patients with a medical marijuana card will be given preferential treatment in regards to access to MMJ. These rights will include the ability to dose in public spaces, the ability to cultivate larger amounts of MMJ, access to shorter waiting times at marijuana dispensaries, foregoing the state’s sales tax, and protection from the fluctuating market value incurred from marijuana being sold as a commercial commodity.

How To Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California

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Under Proposition 64, without a medical marijuana card, you can only grow six plants in your home.

As mentioned earlier, anyone with a medical condition who believes that access to MMJ will help to relieve their symptoms will be able to apply for a medical marijuana card from a licensed physician. This can be done in a clinic by asking your primary doctor, visiting a specialized 420 doctor at an evaluation clinic or, to speed up the process, via an online service such as that provided by MMJ Recs.

However, some doctors still don’t feel comfortable prescribing MMJ as a form of treatment, and specialized evaluation centers are often located in hard-to-reach places. With long waiting times and short evaluation time, patients leave feeling uninformed and uncertain about their new treatment plan. Online services not only cut down on wait times, but they also provide access to highly specialized medical marijuana doctors who are able to give patients a tailored treatment plan that outlines the best methods of dosage, the different strains available, and an outline of the different benefits and risks associated with this form of medication.

Medical marijuana is often prescribed to alleviate medical conditions that substantially limit a person’s ability to conduct one or more of life’s major activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act or, if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient’s physical and mental health. Some of the most common qualifying conditions include arthritis, glaucoma, AIDS, cancer, anorexia, chronic pain and migraines. There are nearly 50 qualifying medical conditions that MMJ Recs physicians recognize, you can follow this link.

If you apply online, you’ll need to fill out a standard medical form that you can upload along with any other relevant medical documents. The actual evaluation from the medical marijuana physician takes only a few minutes and involves a short phone call or Skype conversation where you’ll provide information about your current condition, medical history and why you believe that MMJ will help to improve your quality of life.

Once you’re approved, your medical marijuana card and official recommendation letter will arrive in the mail complete with your full name, date, patient ID, expiration date (a renewal of your medical marijuana card will be required every year), a doctor’s signature and an embossed seal. With this card, you’ll be able to buy MMJ from licensed marijuana dispensaries or order it online though protected marketplace sites.

Obtaining a medical marijuana card in California couldn’t be easier and is viewed as an appropriate treatment plan for a variety of ailments. If you feel that your life would be improved by the use of MMJ, then you’re just a few clicks away from obtaining your card and full rights to this powerful, life-changing medicine.

An Introduction to MMJ: The Where and What of Medical Marijuana Cards

Medical marijuana is almost 30 years old in the U.S., and is offered in 22 states and the District of Columbia, even though it is still prohibited (albeit ignored) at the federal level. The vast majority of states issue identification cards and require recipients of medical cannabis to enter their information into a registry. Each state has separate and unique laws regulating the cultivation and purchase of the product as well as the legal amount one is allowed to carry under the medical regulations. As the name indicates, a consultation with a medical or medical health professional is required before obtaining a medical marijuana card and purchasing and consuming legal MMJ (medical marijuana).

States Where it is Possible to Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card

Alaska

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Hawaii

Illinois

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Hampshire

Nevada

New Jersey

New Mexico

Oregon

Rhode Island

Vermont

Washington

How to Obtain a Card for Medical Cannabis

In all cases, one must visit and speak with a licensed or certified health practitioner. There is typically a fee involved in addition to the regular fees for office visits. Each card is generally issued for one full year, but some states offer shorter periods or longer periods, based on the condition or ailment for which it is prescribed. In all but three states, a physical identification card is required, as well as registration in the database(s) mentioned above. In California and Maine, cards and registration are voluntary, but offer greater legal protection. In the state of Washington, no cards are issued. Instead, a doctor, therapist or other authorized person issues a document stating that marijuana is a  recommended treatment option for certain symptoms and diseases.

The medical conditions that are covered under medical marijuana law vary from state to state, but they include:

  • Various forms of cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Crohn’s and other autoimmune and digestive diseases
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Anxiety and other panic disorders

Finding a Dispensary and Purchasing Medicine

Medicine (marijuana for smoking or vaporizing and other cannabis-based products like edibles, lotions, oils or teas) is available at dispensaries in most cities and towns in states where it is legal to purchase and consume. Finding a dispensary is easy. Most medical offices that offer MMJ cards also make available lists or brochures with locations and addresses of dispensaries in the area. It is also possible to find dispensaries online, and often one can read reviews, check prices and even find specials or deals on products.

With almost half of the states having already legalized and regulated medical marijuana, and some even decriminalizing or legalizing recreational marijuana use, the medical value of cannabis is growing in popularity and validity. It is losing its negative stigma, and as long as it is recommended and monitored by a health professional has shown to benefit the physical and mental health of many individuals.

-Frank Delgado

Medical Marijuana in the Treatment of Migraines

Migraines are one of the most common presenting complaints for medical marijuana doctors in California. Migraines can be debilitating, rendering their victims incapacitated for hours on end. They are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting and patients often have a strong aversion to any bright lights. While pharmaceuticals can improve migraines, they cannot get rid of them completely. For this reason, more and more patients are attempting to get their medical marijuana card in California for treatment of migraines headaches. But does medical marijuana improve the symptoms of migraines?

Unfortunately to date, there have been no randomized clinical trials to evaluate cannabinoids as acute or prophylactic therapy for migraine headaches. While there have been attempts to coordinate such clinical trials by well respected neurologist Dr. Russo, the federal government has so far refused to fund any such clinical trial. Thus, we are left with anecdotal and observational evidence.

Doctors have been treating migraines with cannabis since the 1800’s, as described in the writings of such historical medical luminaries as Sir William Osler, M.D. (considered the father of modern medicine) and Dr. Morris Fishbein (long-time editor of JAMA) as the best treatment for migraines. In more modern times, medical marijuana doctors in California have been noting anecdotal improvement in migraine symptoms in thousands of patients. Recently, in the Whittier Times, medical marijuana doctor, Dr. Demney, reported ‘Cannabis is one of the best medicines for migraines. It’s so effective – it works rapidly, and it has limited toxicity.” In addition, there has been recent review of literature by the Healthcare Center at the Cleveland Clinic that suggests cannabis has potential benefits in treated headache disorders, including migraines. In their review, they looked at 38 studies and found that 71% concluded that cannabinoids had empirically demonstrable and statistically significant pain-relieving effects.

The potential effects of medical marijuana can also be seen when looking at the most commonly prescribed class of drugs to treat migraines, triptans. These specialized drugs act on certain serotonin receptors in the body, a system with extensive connections to the endocannabinoid system. It has also been postulated by Dr. Eric Baron, of the Cleveland Clinic (who coincidentally is a pain management doctor and not a medical marijuana doctor) that endocannabinoid deficiency may cause migraines and other pain disorders. With such a close relationship between the endocannabinoid receptor system and pain and headaches, it is no wonder that hundreds of medical marijuana doctors have recommended medical marijuana to their patients with excellent relief of symptoms. However, even with this anecdotal evidence it is still important for researchers to conduct high quality studies and, until this happens, medical marijuana may never gain acceptance in the mainstream treatment of migraines.

Now that you know the evidence, let’s discuss how the best way to receive relief of your migraine headache with cannabis. We talked with several medical marijuana doctors at MMJRecs.com and the majority of doctors recommend smoking cannabis for fast relief and the first sign of a migraine. In addition to pain relief, the euphoric effects of cannabis may calm the patient down and relieve any stress or anxiety associated with the migraine. It is important to remember, just like any medication, there are risks to smoking medical marijuana that can include obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. Please consult your medical marijuana doctor prior to treatment with medical marijuana for a full list of risks, or view our previous blog post on risks of medical marijuana use.