US States With Access To MMJ Have Seen 20% Drop In Certain Opioid Use

There are many health crises currently affecting the United States. But one of the deadliest is the opioid epidemic, which has wreaked havoc across the country. In 2019, more than 130 people died every single day from opioid-related drug overdoses. That amounts to a shocking 47,600 deaths every year.

While the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared opioid abuse a public health crisis in 2017, great strides have not been taken to appropriately tackle the issue.

However, in an effort to decrease opioid usage (mostly through legal prescriptions from physicians), some medical professionals are recommending their patients use medical marijuana (MMJ) products in place of opioid prescriptions to manage pain symptoms. A recent study indicates that US states with access to MMJ have seen up to a 20% drop in certain opioid use.

What is the MMJ effect on opioid use?

Doctors are increasingly suggesting their patients switch from highly addictive prescription opioids to MMJ products because they are much safer, and they are not addictive. The above-mentioned study specifically focused on orthopedic surgeons (who are the third-highest prescribers of opioids); it noted that, in states where MMJ products are legal and available, up to 20% fewer opioids were prescribed.

The fact that MMJ products are accessible makes a huge difference. In states with more restrictive MMJ laws and access to low-THC products only, there wasn’t much of a decrease in opioid prescriptions. So, when MMJ laws are less restrictive and dispensaries are easily accessible, patients have a much easier time using MMJ products to treat their symptoms versus relying on the riskier option of opioids.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ bud

Image by Christina Winter on Unsplash: States with access to MMJ have seen decreases in their opioid usage.

Does MMJ decrease opioid use?

If doctors are willing to suggest MMJ products to their patients in lieu of prescribing opioids, MMJ usage can end up decreasing overall opioid usage in the health care industry. Several studies have shown that MMJ products could affect the opioid epidemic; when switching to a cannabis regimen, many patients are able to reduce or completely stop taking their opioid prescriptions.

This means that the cannabis effect on opioid reliance could start to turn the tide of the epidemic – the more people who aren’t introduced to taking opioids in the first place, the fewer incidences of opioid addictions and overdoses will take place. Additionally, opioid users who become addicted often end up turning to even more dangerous drugs (such as heroin) in order to get their fix. This leads to even more deaths – which could be prevented at the outset if a patient were presented with an MMJ option instead of an opioid prescription.

Could MMJ replace prescribed opioid use?

Although there will always be some physicians who prefer prescribing opioids to their patients, it’s possible that MMJ products could replace these more dangerous medications for a lot of people in the future.

Let’s take a look at three main reasons why MMJ products can be a much better alternative to opioids.

MMJ products are much safer

Opioids are highly addictive and frequently result in fatal overdoses. Marijuana isn’t physically addictive, so patients don’t need to ingest more and more to feel the effects. Additionally, individuals don’t have to taper off when stopping MMJ usage; there’s no danger in stopping cold turkey.

Aside from not being addictive, there’s another main physical benefit of MMJ products – there are no side effects! Aside from feelings of euphoria and relaxation, and sometimes an increased appetite, MMJ products don’t have any of the nasty side effects that opioids do (anything from nausea and dizziness to constipation and loss of appetite). Overall, using MMJ products is a much safer, more natural treatment option for pain management.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ edibles

Image by Margo Amala on Unsplash: Different forms of MMJ (like edibles) make it easier for patients to treat their symptoms without side effects.

MMJ products are easy to use

There is a lot of versatility when it comes to using MMJ products versus opioids. MMJ products can range in their potency and in how they’re ingested (smoked, vaped, in edibles, tinctures, etc.) so that they can be used in a more personalized way for each individual patient.

Each person can work with their physician or with an expert at their local dispensary to come up with an MMJ regimen that works for their particular symptoms and needs.

MMJ products are cheaper

Even though opioids are sometimes covered by health insurance, a month’s supply of pills (such as Oxycontin or Vicodin) can cost anywhere between $40 and $550! People addicted to opioids can go through a month’s supply much more quickly, leading to an incredibly costly habit.

MMJ products can be much cheaper, especially depending on the form that’s most helpful to the patient. Some states also offer discounts for people who own MMJ cards. For example, in California, MMJ cardholders don’t pay sales tax on any of their MMJ purchases, making MMJ a much more cost-effective option than opioid drugs.

As more studies are conducted in the future, it will likely become even more evident that relying more on a cannabis-based treatment regimen can lead to a decrease in opioid usage (and in overall addictions and deaths in the US). Therefore, states that are more supportive of MMJ usage will see opioid cases continue to decrease. Turning to MMJ products could be the catalyst needed to finally end the fight against the opioid epidemic in this country.

Featured image by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Medical Marijuana And Epilepsy: All You Need To Know

Can medical marijuana treat epilepsy? This is an important question that needs to be thoroughly explored by any patient or carer of a person with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a serious medical condition that can be dangerous if not properly treated. Treatment of epilepsy is complex, but there are some signs that medical marijuana may offer benefits to some epileptic patients.

It’s important for those with epilepsy to remember that proper treatment and symptom management are paramount. No treatment should ever be tried without detailed consultation with a medical professional who has expertise in epilepsy.

Is epilepsy a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana card? Is medical marijuana safe for epileptic patients? Can MMJ benefit people with epilepsy? These are all complex questions with nuanced answers. In this article, we will detail some important things you need to understand about medical marijuana and epilepsy.

 

MMJRecs - epilepsy

Image by geralt on Pixabay: Epilepsy originates in the brain.

 

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the U.S. It is a chronic condition that affects the nervous system and can affect people of all ages. The condition is characterized by recurrent, often unprovoked, and unpredictable seizures that can vary in intensity and duration and are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain.

The History Of Epilepsy

The word ‘epilepsy’ comes from the Greek word “epilepsia”, which means “to seize”. The first mention of epilepsy from antiquity is in a Babylonian textbook from at least 2000 BC. This ancient text records several types of epileptic seizures and suggests that the cause of seizures is evil spirits.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) was one of the first people to realize that epilepsy was a brain disorder, but his accurate view of the condition was not generally accepted until the 19th century. Throughout the intervening 2000 years, people with epilepsy were generally viewed with fear and superstition.

In the 19th century, neurology became a serious medical discipline, and as epilepsy began to be better understood as a brain condition, drugs began to be used to treat it successfully.

The Symptoms Of Epilepsy

The main symptom of epilepsy is seizures. Epileptic patients can experience a number of different types of seizures, classified as focal onset, generalized onset, or unknown onset seizures. These different types originate in different parts of the brain, have different symptoms and effects on the body, and require different types of treatment.

While seizures can affect any part of the body, they always originate in the brain. The cause of epilepsy can be a brain injury, genetic factors, family history, metabolic causes, brain structure, or, often, causes unknown.

 

MMJRecs - medication

Image by dgoapb16 on Pixabay: There are several epilepsy medications available.

 

Usual Epilepsy Treatment Plans

There are several types of medicine available to treat epilepsy. For most people, one of these medicines will be effective at preventing seizures. It is crucial that an epileptic patient gets the right medicine for their version of the condition.

For around 60% of patients, the first one or two medicines they try will work. For some other patients, a third or fourth medicine, or a mixture of medicines, may do the trick. But for approximately 36% of patients, none of the medicines they try will work to fully prevent seizures.

For people who do not respond to early medicines, a process of trial and error is required, under close supervision from their doctor, neurologist, or epilepsy specialist. For these people, a combination of medicines or alternative treatments will often be the best course of treatment.

Is Epilepsy A Qualifying Condition For A Medical Marijuana Card?

The qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card vary state by state. But in most legal MMJ states, seizures brought on by epilepsy are a qualifying condition for an MMJ card.

Can Medical Marijuana Be Effective At Treating Epilepsy?

Is medical marijuana effective for epilepsy? While it is legal to prescribe MMJ for epilepsy in most legal-MMJ states, the jury is still out on the extent to which medical marijuana can help epilepsy patients. Epilepsy is complex, and each person’s version of the condition is somewhat unique. Some treatments can do some patients more harm than good.

Medical marijuana may help some epilepsy patients. MMJ should be tried as a treatment under strict supervision and direction from a patient’s doctor. Epidiolex is a CBD-derived drug that is FDA-approved and can be an effective treatment for epilepsy. CBD and MMJ can have significant interactions with other drugs used to treat epilepsy, so caution is essential.

Some patients have been able to ween off other epilepsy medications because Epidiolex or MMJ has proven so successful a treatment for them. But this does not happen for everybody.

Treatment of epilepsy is complex and different people respond differently to various treatments, so while MMJ can be effective, it is essential that it is tried tentatively and under the strict supervision of a doctor, neurologist, or epilepsy specialist.

How To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Card

The best way to apply for a medical marijuana card is to have an online consultation with a local MMJ physician through MMJRecs. This way you can talk with a professional from the comfort of your own home and get an MMJ card recommendation quickly and easily.

The Benefits Of An MMJ Card Over Recreational Marijuana Access

Many U.S. states now allow recreational marijuana use. In these states, it is still beneficial to have a medical marijuana card, because it enables you to choose from the widest range of MMJ products possible and in many cases to purchase, possess, and cultivate larger amounts of cannabis than would be allowed for recreational use.

Featured image by CBD-Infos-com on Pixabay

Which States Have The Highest Percentage Of Medical Marijuana Users In The U.S.?

Is MMJ use common in the U.S.? The answer is an emphatic yes! Medical marijuana is bringing life-enhancing symptom relief to people who suffer from a wide variety of medical conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, muscle spasms, cancer symptoms, and glaucoma. The popularity of MMJ is increasing steadily, with new MMJ states coming on board regularly. So which states have the highest percentage of medical marijuana users in the U.S.?

Which states consume the most MMJ is an interesting topic, because the answers provide an interesting insight into how cultural mores and attitudes, as well as legislative and business practices, differ state by state. Finding out which state has the highest percentage of medical marijuana users in the U.S. is a valuable learning experience that can teach us a lot about life in America in 2020.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant. It consists of the dried fruit, flowers, leaves, and stalks of the cannabis plant. Marijuana has been taken for thousands of years for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual purposes. The drug has mind-altering properties as well as physically relaxing and energizing properties. Many forms of marijuana are available that have different effects, generally dictated by the amounts and ratios of the most active compounds, THC and CBD, present in the strain.

MMJRecs - MMJ in hand

Image by StayRegular on Pixabay: MMJ use is common in the U.S.

A Brief History Of The Legal Status Of Marijuana In The U.S.

How popular is MMJ use in America? The answer to this question has varied greatly over time – mainly because legal status, and therefore availability, has changed over time.

The cannabis plant is native to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent and it has been used in and around that part of the world for at least 5,500 years. Marijuana was introduced to the western world by an Irish doctor called William Brooke O’Shaunessey, who brought it to Britain from Bengal in 1842.

Marijuana was used commonly in the United States for medicinal purposes until 1911, when states began to make it illegal. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act essentially prohibited marijuana use at the federal level. In 1973, states began to tentatively decriminalize the use of marijuana while maintaining its illegal status. After this, more and more states began to decriminalize the drug. But it wasn’t until 1996 that the first state legalized marijuana for medical use, and not until 2012 that the first state finally made marijuana fully legal for all purposes again.

Which States Legalized MMJ First?

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. The first state to fully legalize recreational marijuana, in 2012, was Washington State, closely followed in the same year by Colorado.

Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions

As of 2020, 33 states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized medical marijuana, and 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. In medical marijuana states, the qualifying conditions and available product ranges vary state by state. They range from the highly liberal – such as Oklahoma, which allows MMJ usage for any medical condition for which a doctor deems it beneficial – to the more restricted, such as Delaware and Alaska.

MMJRecs - nurse

Image by Voltamax on Pixabay: MMJ qualifying conditions vary state by state.

Which States Have The Highest Numbers Of MMJ Users?

How popular is MMJ use in America? This is a question that depends greatly on which state you are talking about. California has the highest number of medical marijuana users in the U.S. by a long way, with approximately one million users. Michigan comes in second place with over a quarter of a million users. Oklahoma, which only recently legalized MMJ, deserves an honorable mention because it has a very high per capita usage, which is growing all the time thanks to its liberal, well-implemented and competitive medical marijuana program.

Which States Will Legalize Marijuana Next?

Several states seem to be near to fully legalizing marijuana in the next few years. The most likely to fully legalize next are Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and Missouri. The states that seem most likely to legalize medical marijuana in the near future are Wyoming and Kentucky.

Is There Any Progress Towards the Legalization Of MMJ On A Federal Level?

Legalization on a federal level is a matter of when, not if. It’s not a huge political issue at the moment, and probably won’t ever be again, because states have made their own marijuana laws, and so legalization on a federal level is really not essential anymore. However, the disparity between out-of-date federal law and the reality that well over half of all states have legalized medical marijuana (and an increasing amount of states also have legal recreational marijuana) means that legalization on a federal level is certainly on the horizon.

How To Apply For A Medical Marijuana Letter

The best way to apply for a medical marijuana letter is to arrange an online consultation with an MMJ doctor in your state on MMJRecs.com.

Featured image by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

8 Things You Need To Know About THC And How It Works

What is THC? How does THC work? Is THC the same as CBD? Is THC effective at treating pain? Is THC the same as MMJ? These are just some of the questions that people have about THC and how it can benefit them.

There is quite a lot of confusion in the general public about what exactly THC is, as well as how it relates to medical marijuana and the more well-known compound CBD. In this article, we will discuss THC, what it is, how it works, its benefits and risks, and how it can help to treat various medical conditions and their symptoms.

 

Image by 7raysmarketing on Pixabay: THC is found in the cannabis plant.

What Is THC?

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is one of the active compounds found in medical marijuana. THC is responsible for most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects. Different strains of medical marijuana contain different levels of THC. The amount of THC present in an MMJ strain will have a profound impact on how powerful the strain is and on the type of psychological effects it induces.

Is THC The Same As CBD?

THC and CBD are both compounds found in medical marijuana. They are the two most active compounds found in the cannabis plant and the two biggest contributors to the physical and psychological effects of MMJ. THC and CBD are not the same thing, and they have different effects.

THC and CBD both interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, but they induce very different physiological and psychological states. While CBD mainly affects the body and creates a physically relaxed feeling, THC affects the mind and induces the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana.

How Does THC Work?

THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. When THC binds to these receptors, it activates them, and this impacts memory, thought, emotion, concentration, and coordination. THC can stimulate feelings of pleasure and euphoria, bring on vivid hallucinations, and encourage novel mental associations. It also distorts sensory and temporal perceptions.

Is THC Effective At Treating Pain?

THC is very effective at treating various kinds of pain. It does this primarily by activating cannabinoid receptors in the brain and throughout the nervous system, which has the effect of lowering pain.

The other way THC reduces pain is by stimulating a psychoactive response in the brain. The euphoria, pleasure, distorted sensory and temporal perceptions, and hallucinogenic effects of THC often stop the brain from focusing on pain, greatly reducing the patient’s awareness and experience of pain.

 

MMJRecs - abdominal pain

Image by Derneuemann on Pixabay: THC is effective at treating pain.

How To Consume THC

There are several different ways to consume THC. The most common way is to smoke it in a marijuana joint or pipe. The downside of this method of ingestion is that it is associated with various health risks caused by smoking.

Other, healthier ways to consume THC include vaping; eating, in the form of marijuana-infused candies, cakes, or meals; and drinking, in the form of marijuana-infused teas, juices, and soft drinks.

What Strength Of THC Is Considered An Average Dose?

Different strains of medical marijuana contain different amounts of THC. Also, the method of ingestion will affect the amount of THC released into the system. Raw cannabis contains very little active THC, as the compound only becomes effective once it has been heated, which results in the activation of the compound – a process known as decarboxylation.

When smoked or vaped, THC enters the bloodstream quite rapidly, and the effects are felt almost instantaneously. When eaten, THC takes a lot longer to take effect, as it is processed by the liver first. This can mean that a person must wait between 30 minutes and two hours after they have eaten MMJ-infused foods for the effects of THC to take hold.

The average recommended dose of THC from edibles for a beginner or low-tolerance patient is 5–10 milligrams.

Can THC Be Dangerous?

Like any chemical compound, THC can be dangerous if abused or consumed in too large quantities. Some of the possible side effects of consuming THC include anxiety, increased heart rate, increased appetite, dry mouth, memory loss, inability to sleep or increased drowsiness, exacerbated schizophrenic symptoms, red and watering eyes, loss of coordination, and slower reaction times.

While using THC in moderate doses is usually safe and has many health benefits, it is certainly not advisable to operate machinery or to drive a vehicle while under the influence of THC.

How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card

If you have not yet gotten an MMJ card, the easiest way to get one is to apply online at MMJRecs. MMJRecs will set up an online consultation between you and a medical marijuana doctor in your locality who can examine you and write a medical marijuana recommendation letter. The process couldn’t be easier!

Featured image by gjbmiller on Pixabay

Coronavirus And Medical Marijuana: Everything You Need To Know

As the situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic develops, all of us are trying to determine how it affects our day-to-day lives. The pandemic might be affecting your work schedule, your family time, and your social life. But you might also be interested in the situation with coronavirus and medical marijuana patients. Of course, things are changing daily as more information is shared and recommendations are made, but here’s everything MMJ patients need to know about CV19 at this time.

What is coronavirus?

The word “coronavirus” refers to a group of viruses rather than one particular illness. There are several different strains of coronavirus, the newest of which is responsible for the current outbreak. It was officially named “COVID-19” in February by the World Health Organization (WHO). The abbreviation comes from CO for corona, VI for virus, D for disease, and 19 since the first outbreak occurred in 2019.

COVID-19 is an upper-respiratory-tract illness that was not seen in humans before 2019. It’s believed at this time to have originated in Wuhan, China, but has now spread to many other parts of the globe. The hardest-hit areas seem to be Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and the United States (although cases are present in many other countries).

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and how is it spread?

The main symptoms of COVID-19 seem to appear within two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus. They generally include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. The elderly and people with pre-existing conditions (especially those affecting the heart, lungs, or kidneys) are all at a higher risk than the rest of the population. This is likely because their immune systems are weaker, so it’s harder for their bodies to fight off the infection.

Researchers believe COVID-19 is primarily passed from person to person through close contact. It’s spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes; the droplets can then end up in the mouths or noses of a nearby person or can be inhaled into their lungs. It’s possible that a person can contract the virus by touching a surface or object that has been touched by an infected person and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. People are thought to be the most contagious when they are showing symptoms (or when they’re the sickest); however, it is possible for some spread to occur before people begin exhibiting symptoms.

 

MMJRecs - COVID-19

Image by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash: COVID-19 is believed to be spread primarily through person-to-person contact.

What does it mean now that COVID-19 is a pandemic?

A pandemic occurs when a disease has spread across a large region, such as multiple continents or worldwide. Because COVID-19 has appeared in a variety of countries, it is now considered a pandemic, which means that steps need to be taken to prevent further exposure. Restrictions on travel have been implemented to try to prevent and/or slow down the virus from spreading.

What do MMJ patients need to know about COVID-19?

If you’re a person who uses medical marijuana, you could be affected by the spread of COVID-19 in several different ways. Because of the fear associated with COVID-19, many people have begun to stockpile their MMJ products. Every state differs in the amount that’s allowable for MMJ patients to have at any one time. Some states, such as Massachusetts, are allowing their patients to purchase up to a 60-day supply so that they’ll have enough product in case of an extended quarantine. You should have no problem at least getting two weeks’ worth if you need to do a 14-day self-isolation. To make sure you’re still in compliance, look up your individual state’s regulations before you purchase large quantities of MMJ products.

Can I still get access to MMJ products?

This is the trickier problem for MMJ patients to navigate because there’s so much unknown right now. Most suppliers don’t have a very clear idea of what will happen to their stock in the near future. Some dispensaries and distributors are running out of product because people have stockpiled in a panic. Many companies have noticed significant boosts in sales because of the outbreak. Some people are also stocking up because they believe it might be easier to get MMJ products than their prescription medications (in case shipments are stopped from other parts of the world). It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to buy a little bit more than normal to avoid running out of your product.

How can I purchase MMJ products right now?

Because of social distancing (and some stores having to close temporarily in lockdown areas), many marijuana companies are offering curbside pickup of products so you can avoid being around people. There are other delivery companies that offer door-to-door service, so you don’t even have to leave your house during the pandemic. Each state’s regulations regarding selling MMJ products are different too, but you’ll probably be able to find at least one practical way to get your MMJ while still practicing social distancing or a self-quarantine.

 

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Image by Bench Accounting on Unsplash: You might be able to get your MMJ products delivered to your door.

Will MMJ patients be prioritized over recreational users in legal states?

At this time, it’s unclear if MMJ patients will be prioritized over recreational users. It’s likely that each state will try to ensure patients have access to their medicine, but there isn’t anything set in stone at the moment. An MMJ advocacy group called Americans for Safe Access is currently proposing that officials take immediate action to ensure that MMJ patients have access to products during this time. Typically, states allow MMJ patients to own more product than recreational users anyway, even if they don’t end up getting prioritized.

Is it safe to continue taking MMJ during the HCoV-19 pandemic?

If you’re wondering, “Should I stop smoking during COV19?”, the answer is complicated. If you’re completely symptom-free, there shouldn’t be much harm in smoking MMJ or using other products such as edibles. However, if you’re sick (whether it’s just a cold or a case of COVID-19), smoking can be harmful. Inhaling hot smoke can irritate your lungs and make your symptoms worse. If you’re sick, you can try other methods of dosing if you feel it’s still necessary to use MMJ products to help ease or alleviate other symptoms you’re having. Bottom line: always talk to your physician about using MMJ products, especially if you’re sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

We’re all learning how to cope with coronavirus every day. Your best bet is to be cautious about your MMJ usage – only use it if you have your doctor’s OK, and try to keep a somewhat larger stash at home in case of a quarantine. It might take a little more effort to purchase your product, but ordering from a delivery service or through curbside pickup might help you implement social distancing measures while still allowing you to have access to the MMJ products you need.

Featured image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Should Medical Marijuana Have A THC Cap?

Because medical marijuana (MMJ) is still a fairly new enterprise in the U.S., lawmakers are continually coming up with new regulations to better monitor its safety for consumers. One of the biggest questions that has come to the forefront is “Should medical marijuana have a THC cap?”. Lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would answer this question to help more closely regulate MMJ products.

What does a THC cap mean?

First off, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical found in marijuana plants that is responsible for its psychoactive effects. Basically, it’s what gives people a feeling of being high, often accompanied by a relaxed or euphoric state. Some people feel that THC caps should be implemented so that MMJ products’ effects would be limited (with the goal of decreasing a too big of a high in a person’s system). Several lawmakers tried to introduce a bill to cap THC, citing some research that indicated high levels of marijuana were linked to psychosis and/or schizophrenia in some marijuana users. They have also expressed concern that individuals under the age of 21 were consuming MMJ products with high THC content, which could create possible mental impairments.

Current law only restricts THC levels in edibles, which generally contain around 10 mg of THC per serving. Industry experts posit that this level is much higher than what most people would consume in a single dose anyway. Lawmakers were also trying to get a bill passed that would cap THC at 10% potency in smokable MMJ products as well as edibles. They also wished to put into effect a law that would prohibit doctors from prescribing full-strength MMJ products for patients under 21 (with exceptions for patients who are terminally ill, or whose doctors can make a case for them needing higher levels of THC because of their medical condition). None of these bills have been enacted into law yet.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ strain

Image by Christina Winter on Unsplash: MMJ products could potentially have a THC cap placed on them in the future.

Is there a THC cap for medical marijuana?

Because different states have varying laws regarding marijuana, you may be asking yourself, “What is the THC cap on medical marijuana in my area?”. Many opponents of the proposed amendment to place a THC cap on MMJ products say that if the bill passed, it would only hurt MMJ patients. They suggest that a cap could force prices up for MMJ users and drive individuals to buy black-market products in order to self-medicate with higher THC levels. The following states have all tried to push legislation through recently without success:

  • Colorado: Advocates tried to get a plan passed to push the limit of THC to 16%, but withdrew the plan in 2016.
  • Washington: A proposal to cap cannabis at 10% THC has stalled and likely won’t move forward.
  • Alaska: A proposal to cap marijuana at 76% THC was voted down.

Is there a limit on how strong medical marijuana can be?

It can be confusing to tell whether there is a THC cap for medical marijuana in each state or what the cap is, so the best thing for an MMJ patient to do is to research their individual state’s MMJ laws before purchasing or consuming products. A typical dose to treat symptoms of a medical condition is likely much lower than what the cap would be anyway.

Additionally, effective doses of MMJ also differ from person to person. One individual might find their symptoms are alleviated by a low dose of a cannabis tincture with 5% THC, while someone else might find that even less THC does the trick to give them relief. Patients should do their own experimenting (with the help of their doctor) to determine what form of marijuana and which dose would be the safest and most effective for their specific needs.

 

MMJRecs - medical marijuana grinder

Image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash: Patients should work with their doctor to determine which TCH level will be the most effective for them.

How can a patient get MMJ products?

People who are suffering from a physical or emotional medical condition (ranging from cancer symptoms to glaucoma to post-traumatic stress disorder) can find benefits in using MMJ products. They can get evaluated by a physician at MMJRecs to see if they’d be a good fit for an MMJ card. The whole process is done online, so it provides all the convenience of a virtual experience. Once the process is complete, the MMJRecs physician will provide the patient with an MMJ card that gives them access to legally purchase medical marijuana products in their home state.

Many MMJ advocates argue that a cap on THC would mean that patients who use MMJ products to treat their medical conditions would be facing an unfair limitation to a product that is helping them. They suggest that the government stay out of establishing a THC cap and let patients work with their own medical professionals to determine what will best help them. Perhaps physicians are much more equipped to help their patients determine proper THC levels or the right strains than lawmakers are. For the time being, most individuals will be able to find the MMJ products with the THC levels that they need. But there’s always a possibility that legislation could get pushed through to change this in the future.

Featured image by Gras Grun on Unsplash

What’s The Best THC Level For Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana has a lot of benefits. But before you dive headfirst into the world of MMJ, it’s a good idea to know what to be on the lookout for. Perhaps one of the biggest questions people have is “What’s the best THC level for medical marijuana?”. But before that question can be answered, you must first understand what THC is, how it works, and what effects it can have on you and the condition you want to treat. Here’s all you need to know about THC and medical marijuana to get you started.

What is THC?

THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s the chemical accountable for most of the psychological effects of medical marijuana. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, your body makes its own cannabinoid chemicals, and these are the chemicals that THC most closely acts like in the body.

THC is one of several compounds that can be found in the resin secreted by marijuana plants. Other compounds, called cannabinoids, are also found in the resin. CBD is another popular cannabinoid you may have heard of. It’s non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t produce the same effects on the brain as THC.

How Does THC Work?

In your brain, cannabinoid receptors are dispersed throughout certain areas of the brain, clustered together most densely in the parts of the brain associated with time perception, pleasure, thinking, coordination, and memory. When you take medical marijuana, the THC in it attaches to these receptors, activating them and impacting your movement, coordination, sensory perception, pleasure, and concentration.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ edibles

Image by Margo Amala on Unsplash: Wondering how to dose THC for MMJ? It depends on how you’re consuming it!

 

What Do Higher Levels of THC Mean?

The medical marijuana grown today is as potent as ever. In many strains of MMJ, THC potency can be around 20%, with some even as high as 30%. Considering that in the 1980s the potency of marijuana was around 2%, this is a pretty big leap.

In low doses, THC creates a euphoric state. If you take too much, you can experience some negative side effects such as anxiety and memory impairment. In fact, too much THC can even mitigate the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana, so it’s important to understand that less is definitely more when considering THC dosing for therapeutic and medicinal effects.

What’s the Best Dose for THC?

When considering how to dose THC for MMJ, microdosing is often recommended. This is when you start small and work your way up to a dose that has the effects you desire, such as pain relief, but without some of the side effects of higher doses of THC, such as anxiety.

To microdose, all you need to do is start with a small dose, such as one hit from a vape pen. Wait at least ten minutes and think about how you feel. If you think you need more, take another hit. Microdosing is a great way to figure out what dose is therapeutic for you.

 

MMJRecs - marijuana plant

Image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash: What is THC? It’s in the resin produced by the flowers of the marijuana plant.

 

Which MMJ Strains Have the Highest THC Levels?

Different strains of medical marijuana have different amounts of THC in them. Often, you simply need to ask the dispensary where you purchase your MMJ what the percentage of THC is, if it’s not already clearly marked. If you get a strain with a high THC level and find that it’s not producing the desired medicinal effects, try a strain with a lower THC percentage or a higher percentage of CBD. If you don’t feel any impact from what you take, then that’s a good indication that you should choose a strain with a higher dose of THC.

What’s the Best THC Level for Medical Marijuana?

THC levels are subjective. That’s because everyone reacts just a little bit differently to THC, making it a unique experience for each person. As long as you start with a small dose and work your way up, as discussed above, you can easily find the range that suits you best and helps to address your medical concerns.

Remember that different products can affect you differently, too. Edibles may produce a different reaction at a different THC level than medical marijuana that is smoked. You should always read the label of any MMJ product you buy to see what the recommended dose is. Start off slow with a quarter to one half of the recommended dose the first time you take it and wait patiently for the effects to kick in, bearing in mind that it can take up to one hour.

If you’re ready to learn more about what medical marijuana can do for you, then let MMJRecs help you get your medical marijuana card so you can begin!

Featured image by Christina Winter on Unsplash

How To Decide Whether To Use CBD Or MMJ

If you’re suffering from specific physical or emotional symptoms, you might be interested in using medical marijuana (MMJ) or CBD products to help alleviate those symptoms. However, things can get confusing when it comes to how to decide whether to use CBD or MMJ. Both substances offer relief from some medical conditions, but a few aspects of their usage can differ. Keep reading for a breakdown of the differences between CBD and MMJ so you can make an informed decision.

What is marijuana?

Also known as cannabis, marijuana is a mixture of the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. It can be consumed in a ton of different forms, including cigarettes, water pipes, vaporizers, and even food products (called “edibles”). The main psychoactive or mind-altering chemical in marijuana is called THC. When it’s consumed, many people experience a feeling of euphoria and a sense of relaxation. Some people might also experience heightened sensory perception, an altered perception of time, and/or increased appetite. There are 11 states in the U.S. in which recreational marijuana is currently legal.

What is MMJ?

MMJ, or medical marijuana, is marijuana that is used for medicinal purposes. Currently, there are 33 states in the U.S. that offer legal medical marijuana. MMJ products are used to treat a variety of physical and emotional medical conditions, including but not limited to:

 

MMJRecs - marijuana plant

Image by Sam Doucette on Unsplash: Medical marijuana can help treat a variety of medical conditions.

 

Many people wonder, “Do I need a prescription to use MMJ?” The answer is technically yes. In order to get legal MMJ products, you are typically required to have a licensed physician in your state fill out a written form that verifies you have a valid need for MMJ. Some states also require you to apply for an ID card. The exact requirements for MMJ usage do differ from state to state, so it’s always a good idea to check with your individual state’s regulations before you act.

If you don’t have a physician who can help with the documentation you might need, MMJRecs is at your service! They can connect you virtually with a doctor who can assist you with your medical certification (as well as offer a way to get your ID card) so that you can get all set up to purchase MMJ products at your convenience.

What is CBD?

CBD comes from the word cannabidiol; it’s one of the two properties found in marijuana (the other being THC, the one that gets you high). CBD is extracted from hemp or marijuana products and is sold in many forms, including oils, gummies, and extracts. Because of its lack of THC, you won’t feel high when you use it, but you can still feel its many positive effects, such as relief from pain, reduction in symptoms of anxiety, and lower blood pressure.

So, is CBD the same as MMJ? They’re similar in that they treat many physical and emotional symptoms, but the main difference is that you won’t feel high when you use CBD. There are also a few things CBD can help with that MMJ products can’t, including reducing symptoms of depression, decreasing seizures, and helping with psychosis. CBD is legal in 23 states. Another 14 states do allow CBD oil to be legal. There are just three states that have completely banned CBD products: Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

What are the differences between CBD and MMJ?

If you’re asking yourself, “Should I use CBD or MMJ to treat my symptoms?”, there are some main differences you should keep in mind.

  1. You do not need any kind of medical intervention to purchase CBD products if it’s legal in your state. In fact, it’s possible to purchase CBD products in many stores and online. You might want to try CBD products if you don’t want to get evaluated by a doctor (like you would need to do in order to purchase MMJ).
  2. There are basically no side effects when using CBD. Marijuana can cause increased heart rate, coordination problems, dry mouth, red eyes, memory loss, and slower reaction times. High rates of THC use (and long-term use) can also result in possible long-term psychiatric problems.
  3. Not every drug test will result in a positive for CBD use, but all drug tests will result in a positive for MMJ products.

So, when considering whether to use CBD or MMJ products, research which would better treat your individual symptoms and best fit your needs. Some people might find that CBD products work well enough to treat their issues (including things like easing migraines, decreasing seizures, and working as an anti-inflammatory). However, MMJ products might be a good option if CBD products won’t do the trick. For example, CBD products won’t help with increased appetite, but MMJ products can.

 

MMJRecs - cannabidiol

Image by CBD-Infos-com on Pixabay: CBD oil has virtually zero side effects, so you can always use it safely.

 

Bottom line: Both CBD and MMJ products are safe to use and don’t need to be monitored by a doctor in order for you to use them. If you’d like to limit the amount of side effects or don’t wish to have the feeling of being high, CBD products will work well for you. CBD is also legal in more places in the U.S. However, MMJ products are great for people who want relief from their symptoms along with experiencing a euphoric and relaxed state.

Talk to your doctor before trying any of these products to make sure they won’t interact with any other medications you might be on or other physical conditions you have. Then you can start getting the benefits of these products as soon as possible!

Featured image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

CBD And Medical Marijuana: All You Need To Know

Medical marijuana, along with other cannabis products, is growing in popularity across the country. As a result, people are becoming more and more curious about the natural compounds found in marijuana and how it may be able to help them. Here’s what you need to know about CBD and medical marijuana, including how they are used and what each may be able to do for you.

What Is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical compound derived from the marijuana or hemp plant. It’s a natural substance that people use to help treat chronic pain and other medical conditions, since it can help to create feelings of calmness and relaxation in the user and treat other symptoms. CBD either does not contain THC or has only trace amounts, which means it doesn’t have the psychoactive properties many people associate with marijuana – making it legal in states where medical marijuana is not yet available. In these states, you do not need a prescription for CBD.

The Health Benefits Of CBD

Many studies have been done on CBD, uncovering a slew of health benefits associated with its use. These include:

  • Pain relief. CBD has been found to help reduce pain associated with certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, especially in combination with THC.
  • May reduce depression and anxiety. In both human and animal studies, CBD has been found to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Alleviation of cancer-related symptoms. Some of the side effects of cancer treatment, such as pain, vomiting, and nausea, have been found to be reduced with use of CBD.
MMJRecs - CBD oil

Image by Enecta Cannabis extracts on Unsplash: CBD and medical marijuana: It pays to know the pros and cons of each so you can harness their power in your life!

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is marijuana cultivated specifically for use in the treatment of medical conditions or diseases. The marijuana plant contains a chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC has a psychoactive effect on the brain, inducing the feelings of euphoria that many people associate with the plant.

Uses Of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been used to treat a variety of conditions, such as:

If you live in a state that has approved the use of medical marijuana, you can get an MMJ card that entitles you to buy, grow, and possess certain amounts of medical marijuana.

What Are The Differences Between CBD And Medical Marijuana?

CBD and medical marijuana have different side effects for different people. CBD has been found to be tolerated in very large doses, and the side effects that are possible usually occur due to drug interactions between the CBD and any medications you may be taking.

Medical marijuana and the THC it contains, on the other hand, is associated with several side effects. These may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Slow reaction time
  • Increased heart rate
  • Red eyes
  • Coordination issues
  • Memory loss

These side effects are due to the psychoactive effects of the THC – something you don’t find with CBD, simply because it contains much less THC. Rest assured that neither compound is fatal, but high THC use can have lasting effects, especially in adolescents who use large amounts of THC.

MMJRecs - cannabis plant

Image by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash: Should you use CBD or medical marijuana? Talk to your health care provider to find out more.

How to Get an MMJ Letter

The state you live in has its own procedures for obtaining an MMJ card. In most states, you need an MMJ letter from a doctor in order to qualify. This is something MMJRecs can help you with! All you need to do is get a medical evaluation online by filling out a form and uploading any required documents. Then you’re free to use the letter to apply for an MMJ card in your state.

The Final Word

If you’re still wondering “Should I use CBD or medical marijuana?”, the answer comes down to your personal circumstances. THC and CBD both have medical benefits and both are safe to use, but it’s important to consider how they may impact you, especially if you take other medications. Talk to your health care practitioner to find out which option is best for you, and put the power of CBD and medical marijuana to use in your life today!

Featured image by CBD Infos on Unsplash

Can Medical Cannabis Help Treat Lupus?

There are currently more than 240,000 people living with lupus in the US today. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues and internal organs (including the brain, heart, and lungs). The inflammation caused by lupus results in patients experiencing chronic pain, tissue swelling and damage, and extreme fatigue. There is currently no cure for lupus, but some of the symptoms are treated with prescription medications, including corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs. For people who don’t want to rely on medications that often come with significantly unpleasant side effects, or for whom medication is not effective, they’ve found they can treat Lupus symptoms with MMJ (medical marijuana). So, is it true that lupus patients and medical marijuana are a good match? Keep reading for more info about how cannabis can help treat lupus.

Can medical cannabis help lupus patients?

Lupus is often marked with periods of remission where symptoms are not as noticeable. But patients can experience what are called flare-ups, where their symptoms can be felt significantly (and which can lead to potentially debilitating physical issues). During these flare-ups, patients are often looking for any type of relief from the pain and discomfort they’re experiencing. To help combat these symptoms, doctors are always searching for what can be potentially helpful to lupus patients.

In recent years, researchers have found that cannabis helps in fighting inflammation that is present for lupus patients. It can decrease inflammation in the body by suppressing specific parts of the immune system. Cannabis actually lowers levels of interleukin-2 and raises interleukin-19 (an anti-inflammatory protein). Marijuana also has the added benefit of being able to alleviate pain, which is why so many patients with chronic pain are proponents of cannabis usage. Patients can ingest it in a number of different ways, and they often experiment to discover which strains and which forms help to give them the most relief from their lupus symptoms. These can range from edibles (like gummies) to tinctures or vaped liquids.

Does CBD produce the same effects?

CBD (cannabinoid) products are basically a component of marijuana that doesn’t have THC, which is the ingredient that makes you feel high. CBD has swept the country in recent years – you can find it in everything from oils and edibles to beauty products and caffeine drinks. Without the psychoactive effects, CBD can be used for a huge variety of reasons (including anxiety, nausea, insomnia, and chronic pain) without a person feeling high or unable to function.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ and CBD

Image by CBD-Infos-com on Pixabay: Hemp extract or CBD oil can be helpful in treating symptoms of lupus.

 

Researchers have begun to study the effects of CBD on lupus patients who are using it to reduce inflammation and decrease pain levels related to the condition. Although more research needs to be conducted, initial results seem to indicate that high levels of oral CBD can help alleviate some lupus symptoms in patients with the disease. Some researchers think that CBD products are the most effective when they’re used in combination with other marijuana compounds. This is known as the “entourage effect,” and many scientists note that taking an isolated chemical in pill form might be less effective than if a patient uses these products altogether. So, along with CBD products, the answer to “Can MMJ help lupus patients?” is yes!

Why is it useful to have an MMJ card?

If individuals want to try out CBD products, they don’t need any official documentation or intervention from a doctor. In fact, these products can be found in a ton of stores or online. However, if a person wants to obtain MMJ products, they’ll need an MMJ card, which can be obtained through MMJRecs. There are tons of benefits to owning a card (even if the person lives in a state where recreational marijuana is legal). For example, MMJ cardholders can:

  • Grow their own MMJ products at home
  • Possess more product at one time
  • Get tax benefits (like no sales tax in some states)
  • Have access to more licensed dispensaries

With an MMJ card, people are entitled to grow and possess more product so they can effectively treat their medical condition without having to worry about running out of the MMJ products they need.

MMJRecs - marijuana plant

Image by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash: Having an MMJ card means a person can grow their own cannabis plants.

How do I get an MMJ card?

A patient simply needs to have a qualifying medical condition in order to be eligible for an MMJ card. There are a large number of conditions that will qualify, ranging from eating disorders and cancer to glaucoma and chronic pain. To get started, MMJRecs can help by providing a complete doctor’s recommendation and an official MMJ card that can be shown at dispensaries or to law enforcement. It’s a super convenient way to obtain a card (without having to go through any government red tape) – and the entire process can be conducted online!

It’s important to remember that you should check with your doctor before starting to use any marijuana or CBD products, but if you’re wondering, “How can medical marijuana help lupus patients?”, you can always try this avenue of treatment to find out if you’ll be helped by MMJ or CBD products.

Featured image by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

Explaining the Science Behind MMJ And Joint Pain Relief

These days, most people in the United States are aware that Medical Marijuana, aka MMJ, can be used for pain relief – and more specifically, joint pain relief for conditions such as arthritis. But why does marijuana help joint pain? What’s the best strain of MMJ to use for this purpose? And how exactly can you seek out joint pain relief with medical marijuana? Here’s all you need to know.

How does marijuana help joint pain?

When it comes to MMJ and joint pain relief, medical marijuana has two active chemicals that play a role in the process: THC and CBD. THC is the most well-known active chemical since this is the psychoactive stimulant responsible for the “high” many people associate with cannabis. However, THC also very closely resembles cannabinoid chemicals that occur naturally in our body, meaning when you introduce THC to your system, it binds to the cannabinoid 1 receptors, reducing pain.

Like THC, CBD is a phytocannabinoid found in medical marijuana. However, unlike THC, it has no psychoactive effects. It binds very weakly, if at all, to cannabinoid 1 receptors, and can in fact stop THC binding as much as it normally would, reducing the psychoactive effects. Does this mean less pain relief? Actually, no. In fact, consuming the two together (as naturally occurs in marijuana) can actually help. CBD reduces some of the negative effects of THC like increased heart rate, while increasing its half-life (which in theory can increase the length of its effectiveness), while also having its own pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.

CBD and THC are by no means the only phytocannabinoids in MMJ to help with joint pain relief, but are certainly the most well-known and the most likely to be marketed at dispensaries.

MMJ Recs - woman holding MMJ

There’s a fortunate connection between soothing sore joints and MMJ.

Which strains and doses are best?

When it comes to the best strains and doses of medical marijuana for joint pain relief, it depends on many factors. As mentioned before, phytocannabinoids have been shown to work best when used together, as they are naturally found, which means individuals looking for general pain relief will probably be best off with a strain high in both CBD and THC.

However, due to the psychoactive effects of THC, this is not always possible, and so having MMJ high in CBD and low in THC could be a great option. This can have the same pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects – often the key problem for joint pain – while still allowing the user to get on with their normal day, uninhibited by the psychoactive side-effects of THC.

The dominant strains you will come across are cannabis sativa, which generally has a higher amount of CBD, and cannabis indica, which contains more THC. In addition to these, there are numerous hybrids with varying levels of phytocannabinoids, so the best option is to see what works for you as an individual.

Who does joint pain affect?

While we often associate joint pain with the elderly, it is something that affects many groups across a variety of ages. In fact, a national survey in the U.S. found that over a third of adults reported experiencing joint pain in the 30 days leading up to the questionnaire. It can be caused by aging, most commonly in the form of osteoarthritis, but also comes from the autoimmune condition of rheumatoid arthritis or any number of injuries and illnesses. This means that while the elderly or obese are most at risk, people who regularly play sports or do manual labor can also find themselves with severe joint pain.

MMJ Recs - elderly

Elderly people are most likely to suffer from joint pain, but others who experience it may also experience joint pain relief with medical marijuana.

How can I get an MMJ card?

If you’re interested in seeking joint pain relief with medical marijuana, the first thing you need to do is make sure you pursue it legally by obtaining a medical marijuana card. The requirements for an MMJ card differ from state to state, but generally speaking, if you have a condition that causes severe joint pain, you will be eligible. In California, for example, qualifying conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, which is what many people with joint pain suffer from.

The first step to acquiring an MMJ card is getting a letter of recommendation from a health professional that states that you would benefit from medical marijuana. While this can be done through your normal GP, many patients opt to apply online. Services like MMJ Recs allow joint-pain sufferers to carry out the whole process from their homes, first with an online medical form, then a video conference with a medical professional to determine eligibility. If accepted, you can get a recommendation almost immediately, allowing you to apply for your MMJ card.

Considering the possibly hundreds of phytocannabinoids that exist in medical marijuana, the exact science as to how it helps with joint pain is still being researched. However, there is a significant body of evidence that shows the impact of both CBD and THC on joint pain, so whether you are suffering from age-related arthritis or joint pain incurred from sports, it may be worth considering the connection between sore joints and MMJ!

How Is The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Boom Affecting The City’s Residents?

Oklahoma has always been known as a state that jumps headfirst into new ventures. Right after it became a state in 1907, it produced the most oil of any state or territory in the United States. Then, during the time of the Oklahoma Land Run, cities with as many as 10,000 residents popped up overnight. To say that Oklahomans take an enterprising idea and run with it in an understatement – and medical marijuana is no different. Here’s how the medical marijuana trade has impacted the state, and what may be in store now MMJ is legal in Oklahoma.

Medical Marijuana in OK: One Year and Going Strong

It may have been a shock to many people that Oklahoma was ready for a cutting-edge medical marijuana bill to pass, but pass it did. State Question 788 was passed in Oklahoma in 2018 with 57% support in the state.

At the end of the first year, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority reported that over 160,000 applications had been processed so far. Business has grown rapidly in the past year as well, with over 6,000 commercial business licenses issued across the state. The jobs that have been created as a result are still being measured.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana

The ways we see medical marijuana affecting Oklahoma have been positive so far.

The Tax Implications of 2019 MMJ Laws in Oklahoma

The first month that Oklahoma collected taxes on medical marijuana, which was November of 2018, they collected about $1,300 in sales tax alone. According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, that number has increased each month since – and in June of 2019, over $2 million in taxes had been collected on medical marijuana. That makes one thing clear: medical marijuana in OK is bringing in a lot of money.

Now MMJ is Legal in Oklahoma: Far-Reaching Impact

The boom experienced in taxes and medical marijuana licenses isn’t the only thing being impacted by 2019 MMJ laws in Oklahoma. In schools, restaurants, and other types of businesses we see other examples of medical marijuana affecting Oklahoma (in a positive way!).

Restaurants around the state are looking at ways they can get in on the MMJ action by including THC and CBD in the products they offer. Many restaurants are creating trendy products for consumption that marry the new marijuana laws with their culinary skills.

As far as schools are concerned, the law does not allow dispensaries to be within a certain distance of K–12 schools, but colleges and universities see no such restrictions. This had led to a number of dispensaries popping up very close to university property, which helps to draw customers to the businesses they are surrounded by as well.

Even the way doctors are treating their patients has changed since they now need to understand how best to treat their patients now that medical marijuana is an option.

MMJ Recs - Oklahoma college

Now MMJ is legal in Oklahoma, dispensaries have popped up all over, including near colleges and universities.

How to Get Your OK Medical Marijuana Card

If you live in Oklahoma and have not yet jumped on the medical marijuana train, then you might be missing out. The determination is made by your doctor as to whether you would benefit from medical marijuana; there are no formal qualifying conditions for an OK medical marijuana card, but some of the conditions that are commonly prescribed MMJ include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic Pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammation
  • Wasting syndrome
  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Severe nausea
  • Neuropathic pain disorders
  • Muscle spasms

Once you see a doctor about prescribing medical marijuana, then you can apply online through the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority website. You’ll be asked for proof of identity and residency of the state as well as personal information such as phone number, birth date, address, and physician information. You must also submit a small, full-face photo like those found in a passport. Once you submit the application and pay the $100 fee, then you wait to hear back within 14 days. If approved, your card is valid for two years.

What You Can Legally Obtain with an OK Medical Marijuana Card

Once you have your medical marijuana card in hand, you can go to a dispensary to legally purchase products of your choice. According to Oklahoma law, you can have:

  • Up to 72 ounces of edibles
  • Up to eight ounces of marijuana in your home
  • Up to three ounces of marijuana on your person when out of the house
  • Up to one ounce of concentrates
  • Up to six mature plants and six seedlings in your home

Oklahoma is once again leading the nation when it comes to change, and the 2019 MMJ laws in Oklahoma make that even clearer. Now MMJ is legal in Oklahoma, it may change the landscape even more than the oil boom!

Will Legalizing Medical Marijuana Bring More Money Into Oklahoma?

The process of rolling out medical marijuana laws has typically taken years for most states. California was the first to introduce provisions back in the late 90s, and was one of the pioneers of the medical cannabis movement. But in 2019, only 33 states have legalized the drug medically. New York is a prime example, where an exhaustive campaign for MMJ legalization has resulted in a stalemate of sorts, with neither side coming out on top. Other states have also seen legalization move at a glacial pace. Oklahoma, however, has proved to be an exception. MMJ laws have moved through the state at lightning pace, with the program largely established statewide since MMJ was approved in June 2018. Legalizing medical marijuana in Oklahoma has proved to be a surprisingly straightforward task; but will it bring in more money?

The laws introduced last June have proved to be some of the most liberal in the whole country. While other states have flip-flopped over the technicalities of dispensary numbers and smoking in public, Oklahoma has provided some of the most lenient guidelines to date. This is especially surprising seeing as Oklahoma has a reputation for being one of the nation’s more conservative states. Conversely, New York, with its more liberal reputation, has set up one of the most conservative MMJ programs so far. Even though consensus might have expected the reverse, Oklahoma has proved to be an MMJ hotbed, with business positively booming and showing no signs of slowing down.

MMJ Recs - Downtown Oklahoma

Despite having a more conservative reputation, Oklahoma has been one of the most progressive states when it comes to medical marijuana.

Retail outlets in the state opened just four months after the new Oklahoma MMJ laws were put through. Entrepreneurs and farmers were soon clamoring to start commercial growing operations. Licenses and MMJ cards are being issued to new patients at a frenetic pace, with the industry coming into its own completely independently. This stands in stark contrast to Oklahoma’s neighboring state of Ohio. They approved MMJ all the way back in 2016, but have yet to actually sell any officially. This is largely due to legal setbacks and manoeuvring. Even California, with its trailblazing record on the marijuana front, has not been able to roll out its plan as quickly and effectively as advocates hoped.

One of the keys to the rapid success of medical marijuana in Oklahoma is that lawmakers have not introduced a list of qualifying conditions. This list dictates which medical conditions can qualify legally for MMJ. Virtually every other state has them. By leaving these out, Oklahoma’s governors have expedited the applications process, opening the doors to thousands of residents as a result. 22,000 applications were approved in the six-month period following the legalization bill. Thousands more followed through in 2019. Close to a thousand dispensaries have opened up, and over a thousand commercial growers have been licensed. In other words, business is booming.

All this business is great news for Oklahoma’s government. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax have already been collected thanks to MMJ, with much more set to come rolling in as the program expands. A 7% portion of every medical marijuana sale goes to the state, with around $5 million of MMJ being sold since it was introduced last June. The government recently announced plans to first put a portion of this revenue back into the health department’s regulatory office budget. After that, 75% will be applied to education, while the remaining 25% will fund drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. This is great news for Oklahoma, who are proving just how valuable legalizing medical marijuana can be to states as a previously untapped stream of revenue.

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Plant

One of the keys to Oklahoma’s rapid success is that lawmakers have not introduced a list of qualifying conditions.

In addition, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is also seeing a huge upswing in revenue. The number of applicants for MMJ cards keeps on rising. As of February this year, the OMMA had taken a huge $13.2 million dollars in application fees. This money will be put back into the program, meaning more resources, staff, and initiatives for Oklahoma’s burgeoning MMJ scene. Combined with the Oklahoma MMJ tax, the state is setting an impressive standard for both efficiency and profitability in the MMJ arena. Other states, many of whom are stalling on their MMJ rollout and are seeing no taxation benefit because of it, will likely sit up and take notice.

The will of the people is clearly at work in Oklahoma. Although it’s considered a conservative state, when the idea of medical marijuana was put to vote, the right-leaning politicians in the state had to reassess their viewpoints. After the initial June ballot, which passed MMJ laws overwhelmingly, the Oklahoma State Board of Health attempted to introduce a series of restrictive measures. This was met with outrage from the general public. They rightly criticized their government for immediately trying to backtrack on a democratic vote with a clear majority. Even the state’s Republican Attorney General weighed in with an opinion that the Board of Health had gone too far.

As new patient numbers continue to rise and the government continues to see success from its MMJ taxation policy, we can all expect the success of medical marijuana in Oklahoma to continue. Hopefully other states will look to imitate OK’s rapid and effective implementation, opening the MMJ doors to more and more potential patients all over the country.

When Will Marijuana Be Legalized In Oklahoma?

One of the most pressing debates of our time surrounds the legalization of marijuana, and while many states are making progress, some still haven’t taken the full leap. Oklahoma recently allowed for medical marijuana – but when, if ever, could we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma fully, and how would this affect MMJ?

MMJ Laws in Oklahoma

Let’s start with the basics. Is MMJ legal in Oklahoma? The answer is yes – since last year, medical marijuana has been legal in Oklahoma, so long as you have an MMJ card. However, recreational marijuana is absolutely not legal! We’re going to take a look at when complete legalization might happen, how this has impacted other states that have taken the plunge, and what it could mean for MMJ card holders.

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma last year, the reception seems to have been pretty positive, with 151,000 residents having applied for MMJ cards and more than 170 dispensaries licensed. This actually means that Oklahoma has more MMJ cards per capita than any other state.

However, despite the relatively warm reception medical marijuana has received, Oklahoma still seems pretty strongly opposed to recreational marijuana as a whole. In fact, a recent SoonerPoll survey found that 59% of Oklahoma residents would oppose expanding legalization to include recreational use. That said, there are still considerable policy changes being implemented to safeguard medical users – such as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, which means that an employer cannot deny work to, discipline, or fire an employee based on the grounds that they are a medical marijuana patient. Nor can businesses fire a patient for a positive marijuana test, unless it has safety implications (such as the operation of heavy equipment).

MMJ Recs - marijuana plant
Will we ever see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma for recreational use?

What Are The Pros/Cons Of Legal Marijuana In Oklahoma?

There is much debate over whether both medical and recreational marijuana should be legalized in each state, but looking at complete legalization, what are some of the pros and cons that Oklahoma could face?

One of the biggest arguments given for complete legalization is that it will take the marijuana trade out of the hands of criminals. This will lessen the flow of money to organized crime and hopefully reduce violence. Additionally, it means that the money that would have gone to criminals can instead be levied as a tax to help benefit the state and, of course, fund small businesses (like the 170+ dispensaries now in Oklahoma for medical marijuana). Additionally, legalization means less burden on the state, since the number of arrests and court fillings will fall, along with the associated costs. This was clearly seen in Colorado, where marijuana arrests decreased by roughly 52% between 2012 and 2017.

On the other hand, legalization could make marijuana use more prevalent and have a knock-on effect for other crimes – DUIs, for example. This was also found in Colorado, where marijuana-related DUIs jumped from 12% to 15% of all DUIs between 2014 to 2017. Additionally, while having marijuana legalized in Oklahoma would reduce the bureaucracy of unwarranted court proceedings, it would open up a whole new issue of regulation. The overall debate is undoubtably far more complex than this, but is often focused around recreational use. The use of medical marijuana in Oklahoma is far more stable, but could this be changed by complete legalization? 

How Could Full Legalization Affect MMJ?

Complete legalization will of course make marijuana more ubiquitous in the state, but the real impact on MMJ card holders would be minimal. This is because the restrictions and options for card holders would probably remain the same, giving you the same benefits under complete legalization as you have now. Some of these include being able to use reputable dispensaries to acquire the best products for your condition as well as not having to pay tax on medical marijuana, which you’d likely have to do for recreational marijuana. Furthermore, the age restrictions would vary, with an MMJ card allowing anyone over to 18 access the products they need – not so likely with recreational marijuana.

How can you get an MMJ card in Oklahoma?

Whether we see marijuana legalized in Oklahoma entirely or not, the best option for most people will still be an MMJ card due to savings, higher-quality products, and fewer restrictions. In Oklahoma, you’ve been able to apply for an MMJ card since August of last year, and can do so if you suffer from a qualifying condition. These include cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more, so first check whether you fit into one of these categories.

If you meet the qualifying conditions, an MMJ card can be procured from your doctor. However, many people opt to get their card online, since it allows you to complete the whole process without the hassle of travel, which can be difficult for many people seeking MMJ. Online applications also allow for instant recommendations once the evaluation is completed by qualified professionals.

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MMJ laws in Oklahoma will stand strong, no matter what happens with recreational legalization.

Overall, medically legal marijuana in Oklahoma has had a pretty positive reception, and with new legislation giving greater protections to MMJ card holders every month, it seems likely that its medical use will only become more common. That said, the state still seems adamantly against the complete legalization of marijuana. Luckily, those who need it can still access it by applying for an MMJ card and using a registered dispensary. Regardless of whether Oklahoma goes for complete legalization, this is still the best option and is unlikely to change.

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal In Oklahoma?

These days the legality of marijuana varies from state to state. Medical marijuana (MMJ) is now legal in Oklahoma – but is recreational marijuana legal in Oklahoma? Currently, no – the use of recreational marijuana is still prohibited in the state. But there are constant changes to these laws, surrounding both recreational and MMJ use, so here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know.

Medical Marijuana Laws in Oklahoma

MMJ in Oklahoma was officially legalized back in August 2018. Since that time, more than 151,000 Oklahoma residents have applied for MMJ cards from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA). This number means that about 3.5% of the state’s population now has MMJ licenses – with more MMJ patients per capita than any other state in the U.S. In order to get a valid MMJ card, you must have a qualifying condition that OMMA recognizes to demonstrate you have a need to use MMJ products. These common conditions can include (but are not limited to):

  • Cancer (or a similar illness that can possibly be terminal)
  • Parkinson’s
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

You also might experience symptoms from a variety of conditions that could be alleviated with the use of MMJ. These can include things like chronic pain, nausea, muscle spasms, or inflammation. In order to see if your condition qualifies, you should check with your physician or connect with OMMA before submitting your application for an MMJ card.

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Is marijuana legal in Oklahoma? That depends on the type of use.

MMJ laws in Oklahoma cover what a person with an MMJ card is able to legally do. After you’ve been issued an MMJ card, you are permitted to have:

  • Up to 8 ounces of marijuana in your residence
  • Up to 3 ounces of marijuana with you outside of your home
  • Up to 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana
  • Up to 72 ounces of edible marijuana (also known as edibles)
  • Up to 6 mature plants
  • Up to 6 seedling plants.

These laws, therefore, permit you to ingest marijuana products, as well as to grow and cultivate your own plants. However, it is important to note that MMJ cardholders are not allowed to purchase products from any other kind of dealer or another MMJ licensee. MMJ users are only legally allowed to purchase from state-licensed dispensaries.

Recreational Marijuana in Oklahoma

If you’re wondering, “Is marijuana legal in Oklahoma?” the answer is no in terms of recreational use. Both the possession and sale of marijuana is illegal in Oklahoma at this time. Under the Oklahoma Statutes Title 63 §2-101: Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, possession of marijuana without an MMJ card comes with a misdemeanor charge of up to one year in prison or a fine of $1,000. Subsequent offenses count as a felony with a penalty of 2–10 years in prison with fines up to $25,000. If you’re caught with marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or in the presence of a child under the age of 12, you could face double penalties (or triple penalties for subsequent offenses).

For selling recreational marijuana, the charge is a felony with a prison sentence between 2–10 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Subsequent offenses result in double penalties. There’s a much more serious charge if you’re involved with trafficking marijuana. If you’re caught trafficking between 25 and 1,000 pounds of marijuana, the fine could be between $25,000 and $100,000. Dealing with over 1,000 pounds of marijuana results in a fine between $100,000 and $500,000. Other factors are taken into consideration when you’re charged with one of these crimes, including the amount and location of the sale and whether you already have a criminal history. For serious offenders, the maximum sentence could be life in prison for the selling and distribution of marijuana. There are also driving under the influence (DUI) charges to watch out for that can result if you’re operating a vehicle impaired after using marijuana (whether it’s MMJ or recreational).

MMJ Recs - medical marijuana container
Be sure you’re up to speed with all the medical marijuana laws in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma and MMJ now go hand-in-hand with the increasing popularity of owning an MMJ card. To make sure you’re completely covered, apply for your MMJ card today. You can head to the  omma.ok.gov website, where you can get started on your application. There is a $100 application fee (or a discounted fee of $20 if you use Medicaid [SoonerCare] or Medicare). Fill out the application with your personal info (date of birth, address, etc.), and have your medical professional fill out the Adult Patient Physician Recommendation Form. If you don’t have a doctor you trust, MMJRecs can help connect you to one virtually – so you never have to leave your house to get your medical certification. You’ll also need to show proof of Oklahoma residency (like with a copy of your driver’s license, ID card, utility bill, etc.) and proof of identity (which can also be your driver’s license or ID card or from your U.S. passport). Your application is complete once you’ve submitted a clear, color, full-face digital photograph of yourself. OMMA will then review your application. If you’ve met all of their requirements, you’ll receive your MMJ card in the mail within 14 days. Your MMJ card will then be valid for the next two years; once it expires, you’ll need to renew your license by submitting a new application (and another fee) at that time.

Although recreational marijuana is not legal in Oklahoma, if you have a qualifying condition, you should look into obtaining an MMJ card. That way you can legally grow and possess marijuana products without breaking any laws!

How Much Does An MMJ Card Cost In Oklahoma?

If you’re thinking about joining the thousands of other Oklahomans who own medical marijuana cards, now is the perfect time. In 2018, medical marijuana (MMJ) became legal in the great state of Oklahoma, which means that you can acquire a license to legally grow and consume medical marijuana to help with an existing medical condition. Because MMJ cards are not super expensive to obtain, you may see your physical symptoms improve without a huge drain on your finances. Read on for everything you need to know about owning an Oklahoma MMJ card.

What are the qualifying conditions?

In order to get a medical marijuana card in Oklahoma, you’ll need to have a qualifying medical condition. There’s a pretty wide variety of conditions that you can use MMJ to help with. Some examples of qualifying conditions include epilepsy or other seizure disorders, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, and arthritis. Medical marijuana is also known to help with symptoms such as chronic pain, severe nausea, spasticity, and muscle spasms. If you experience these types of symptoms (regardless of which condition is causing them), you might be able to benefit from using MMJ. In order to see if your symptoms help you qualify for an MMJ card, you’ll need to be evaluated by a physician. This medical professional will need to help you complete your application by indicating that you do have a legitimate need for using medical marijuana.

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There are a variety of qualifying conditions that enable you to obtain a medical marijuana card in Oklahoma.

What are the laws surrounding medical marijuana in Oklahoma?

Once you have your valid Oklahoma MMJ card, there are a few laws you’ll need to make sure you’re following. You are permitted to own the following:

● Up to 8 ounces of marijuana in your residence at any time
● Up to 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana
● Up to 72 ounces of edible marijuana (also known as edibles)
● Up to 6 mature plants
● Up to 6 seedling plants

You’re also allowed to carry up to 3 ounces of marijuana with you when you’re away from your residence. Individuals who don’t buy an Oklahoma MMJ card could face a fine-only misdemeanor for having up to 1.5 ounces of herbal cannabis. It’s also important to note that you are not permitted to legally buy marijuana from a dealer or from another MMJ cardholder. Your only legal option is to buy your products from state-licensed dispensaries in your area. If you follow these laws, you’ll be able to use your medical marijuana card in Oklahoma without any issues.

How can you get an MMJ card in Oklahoma?

It’s a fairly straightforward process to purchase an MMJ card in Oklahoma. First, you’ll be required to fill out an application, which can be found online at omma.ok.gov. This application will ask for your full name, residence and mailing address, date of birth, telephone number, and email address. The application also requires your physician to fill out a section of the form and sign it, as well as complete the Adult Patient Physician Recommendation Form. You’ll need to sign the application as well. Completing the application also means you’ll need to submit valid documentation to show your proof of Oklahoma residency. This can be a digital, color copy of one of the following: driver’s license, ID card, voter ID card, a utility bill (or the calendar month preceding the date of application), a residential property deed, or a current rental agreement for residential property. The state also requires you to provide proof of identity, which can be your driver’s license, ID card, US passport, or tribal identification card, along with a color, full-face digital photograph of yourself.

How much does an MMJ card cost in Oklahoma?

The cost of an Oklahoma MMJ card is $100. If you’re on Medicaid (SoonerCare) or Medicare, you can pay a reduced fee of only $20. There’s also an additional credit card processing fee added to your transaction. Please note that if your application is not approved for some reason, you do not get a refund of your money. If you don’t have access to a medical professional who can help with your application, you can get connected to one through MMJRecs. This telemedicine option can end up helping you save money, since you can pay as low as $59 to consult virtually with a doctor (which can be lower than what you’d pay to see a physician in person).

How much does an MMJ card cost in Oklahoma?

The cost of an Oklahoma MMJ card is $100. If you’re on Medicaid (SoonerCare) or Medicare, you can pay a reduced fee of only $20. There’s also an additional credit card processing fee added to your transaction. Please note that if your application is not approved for some reason, you do not get a refund of your money. If you don’t have access to a medical professional who can help with your application, you can get connected to one through MMJRecs. This telemedicine option can end up helping you save money, since you can pay as low as $59 to consult virtually with a doctor (which can be lower than what you’d pay to see a physician in person).

MMJ Recs - working on computer
It’s important to know the rules surrounding Oklahoma MMJ card application, cost, usage and expiry.

When does the MMJ card expire?

Your Oklahoma MMJ card will need to be renewed every two years. At that time, you will be required to complete the application again, along with the physician recommendation form. You’ll also need to pay the $100 fee each time you renew your card. However, you can save time and money on the renewing process by going through MMJRecs.

Once you’ve completed your application, you’ll receive your MMJ card in the mail. This card shows that you are legally permitted to possess medical marijuana in Oklahoma. The card will have your name, photo, date of birth, city and county of residence, the type of license, the expiration date for the license, and your unique MMJ license number printed on it. Make sure to carry your card with you at all times so that you can present it to law enforcement if it’s requested. Remember to follow the laws laid out for MMJ cardholders, and you’ll be all set to go in Oklahoma!

How to Store Your Medical Marijuana Properly

If you’re someone who uses medical marijuana, you’ll know what a lifesaver it can be in helping to treat the symptoms associated with some really debilitating illnesses. It can be taken in a variety of forms and strains, but there are some things you should know about how to properly store your medical marijuana so it can help you in the best way possible.

Medical marijuana is growing in popularity thanks to legislators and doctors who are finally realizing how effective it can be in helping people treat a variety of symptoms. While marijuana is still an illegal drug at a federal level, it is now legal to take recreationally in some states, and for medical reasons in even more states. People who use MMJ take it to treat symptoms associated with a wide variety of conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Most of these people are not the types of individuals that you’d associate with drug use, but marijuana is now so popular in medicinal form that more and more people need assistance and advice on how to use and store medical marijuana.

The type of storage you need depends on the type of medical marijuana that you’re consuming. If you’re a fan of traditional marijuana in bud forms, there are some easy tips to follow to ensure that your marijuana is protected from spoiling. First, make sure that you keep your buds in airtight glass jars. MMJ also needs to be protected from light, so keeping the glass jar in a drawer or pantry is a good idea to ensure that it stays fresh.

MMJRecs - MMJ equipment

It’s important to store your medical marijuana correctly.

Dispensary practices can also tell you a lot about the freshness of their product. Avoid dispensaries that use plastic bags or containers to sell their MMJ, as plastic is one of the biggest culprits in drying out marijuana buds. It’s also good to stay away from dispensaries that handle marijuana buds directly. Buds are delicate and direct handling can introduce moisture and germs into them, which is a surefire way of them spoiling.

Other forms of medical marijuana are a lot easier to store, but there is still some general advice to follow to ensure that it stays good for as long as possible. If you like to vape, make sure you replace your vaping pen regularly and keep it clean. Tinctures, like buds, should be stored in glass and kept away from direct light in order to avoid spoilage. MMJ edibles should be treated like the food they are. Cakes, cookies, and brownies have a shorter shelf life than candies and caramels, so if you’re not consuming medical marijuana regularly, it might be better to invest in some MMJ candy as opposed to cookies.

While there are certain steps you should follow, you can always get inventive and try cute and fun storage solutions for your MMJ. If you carry a vape pen in your handbag, why not treat yourself to a pretty and fun one as opposed to a regular plain one? If pretty isn’t your style, you can always look at something more industrial and formal-looking. Vape pens are especially open to customizing and there is a whole community of people out there who can advise on making your own vapes.

MMJRecs - marijuana bud

If you can see your local dispensary has good MMJ storage habits, ask them for some tips and advice.

Your local dispensary can also be a font of knowledge for ideas on how to store your medical marijuana. As long as the practices of storage in their store are good, you should ask employees if they use marijuana and how they would advise you store it. Like any industry, the people who work with MMJ are often passionate about what they do and are more than happy to share the knowledge.

If you’re traveling with your medical marijuana, be careful about where you’re going. As marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, it is not advisable to fly with it, and if you’re crossing into a state where it isn’t legal, you could face criminal consequences. Sadly, not all states are as liberal as others, so it’s important to be careful when traveling with your medication.

Marijuana is an herb and if you think about it in those terms, its storage is easy to navigate. Don’t let it dry out too much, don’t let it see sunlight, and if you’re cooking it, treat the form you’re cooking it into like any other cookie, brownie, or candy. When treated properly, medical marijuana will change your life and help you to live the best way possible alongside your condition. A little knowledge goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to educate yourself and explore all storage possibilities so that you don’t waste any precious MMJ.

The 8 Best MMJ Sweets On The Market

Since its introduction in 1996 in California, patients have been finding unique ways to incorporate medical marijuana into their daily routine. As well as all the legislature, advocation, and vilification of MMJ, there’s also a fun side too; you can mix and match your medicine with a large variety of sweet treats, making it more appetizing, appealing, and fun! MMJ sweets are all the rage with some patients, and it’s easy to see why – once you try some, you’ll be hooked.

To date, 29 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, with a 30th and 31st likely to follow this year. A number of liberal states have also begun the arduous process of legalizing recreational marijuana, although this doesn’t look set to detract from medical marijuana programs in the states it’s being introduced in. In the case of California, for example, the government recently introduced a sales tax rebate for MMJ patients, which means they don’t have to pay tax on their medicine. This initiative shows the commitment to MMJ from long-standing proponents, and hopefully other states will follow suit.

If you’re looking for new, unique ways to incorporate MMJ, then check out this handy list of MMJ sweets below. Of course, there are many ways to avail of medical marijuana, and not all of them will suit you; make sure to check with your doctor which form of MMJ works best for your specific condition!

Gummies are seriously tasty even before you add in some MMJ.

1. Leaf Eater Gummy Leaves

Everyone loves gummies, right? Well, with these incredibly moreish and potent candies, you’ll definitely find your sweet spot. Leaf Eater is a West Coast brand that loves to cram its product with MMJ; a single gummy carries a hit of 80mgs, with just two of the candies providing a satisfying and relieving 160mgs of marijuana.

2. Cheeba Chews

Cheeba Chews have the distinctive pedigree of being one of the first legal distributors of infused edibles in California. They’ve been producing their award-winning MMJ sweets for eight years now, so clearly they’re doing something right! Their individual dosage of 10mgs won’t take your head off, and if you prefer or require a lighter touch to your medicine, this could be the sweet for you. Their packaging is also nice and discreet as well, making them unlikely to be sampled by eager children, which is always a plus if you have kids around!

3. Kiva Confections Chocolate Bar

Kiva Confections have also been in business for a long time, producing some of the classiest MMJ sweets on the market. They rigorously test their chocolate for artificial ingredients, and aim to give their customers the highest standards. Their packaging is also awesome, and the taste is sublime; some of the best-tasting marijuana chocolate out there for sure.

4. Wana Sour Gums

Wana hails from Colorado, a notoriously MMJ friendly state that was also one of the first in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana, along with Washington. Their informed packaging makes it exceptionally easy to keep track of exactly how much you’re taking, which can certainly be a problem if you forget you’re eating marijuana-infused sweets.

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Chocolate is one of the most popular MMJ sweets.

5. Dixie Mints

Dixie Elixirs produces a wide range of MMJ edibles, and is one of the few companies that offers marijuana-infused mints to their customers. When you think about it, it’s a great idea for an edible; not everyone likes sweet things, or wants to keep sweets around their house. The mints provide a perfect compromise for patients who still want to avail of edibles, but want to do so without the sugar intake. These delicious mints come in a variety of flavors, so you’ll have no trouble finding one you like.

6. RemedyPlus Gummies

RemedyPlus gummies are some of the coolest MMJ edibles on the market. Packaged like old-school sweets you’ll love and remember from your childhood days, their range includes rainbow belts, space worms, and dozens of other retro classics. Doses depend on which type of candy you choose, and can either be pretty light or significant, depending on your preference. Just remember to choose your dose first, not which type of sweet you prefer!

7. Kaneh Co. S’mores Brownie

Kaneh Co. has carved out a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality, delicious edibles and MMJ sweets; you could even eat them without the added THC benefit. When you factor in that their tasty offerings are also beneficial to your health, they make for an unbeatable treat. Their brownies are incredibly satisfying; they’re produced without preservatives, too, so you don’t have to worry about any artificial nastiness. If these guys just produced brownies with no additional MMJ ingredients, it’d be totally fine, they’re that delicious!

8. Punch Chocolate Bar

Punch’s chocolate offerings are both delicious and potent. They separate out into little chunks so you can keep track of how much you’re eating. This is especially important when it comes to this edible, as it can pack quite a… Well, punch. And unlike some other MMJ chocolate brands, they’re intent on keeping it fresh, coming out with new flavors and conceptions every season.

How Senior Citizens Can Benefit from Using MMJ Products

More and more people are getting introduced to the many advantages of using medical marijuana. With its increased availability and popularity, senior citizens are becoming more likely to buy MMJ products. Between 2006 and 2013, the use of cannabis by senior citizens (over the age of 65) increased by an astounding 250 percent. In fact, the elderly make up about 14 percent of all cannabis users in the United States. And for good reason: there are actually countless ways that medical marijuana can help improve seniors’ physical and mental health.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common ailments seniors can use MMJ products to treat.

Cancer

Many seniors turn to medical marijuana for help with cancer symptoms. Because those undergoing chemotherapy are faced with severe nausea and vomiting, MMJ products can be helpful in alleviating these symptoms. Additionally, medical cannabis can be useful in treating pain – without the patient having to rely on harmful prescription painkillers. If cancer patients are facing loss of appetite, MMJ products can also provide a more natural way of stimulating their appetite.

In addition to treating symptoms of cancer, research has demonstrated that marijuana can actually kill cancer cells. Cannabis compounds have been shown to slow down the growth of different types of cancer (including breast, prostate, and lung cancers). Researchers even believe that cannabis can prevent cancer cells from spreading to healthy tissue.

Alzheimer’s

This degenerative brain disease affects around 10 percent of seniors in the US (more than four million people every year). While MMJ products can help with conditions associated with this disease (like loss of appetite and depression), researchers are also finding that the marijuana component, THC, might actually help slow the advancement of Alzheimer’s in the brain.

Parkinson’s Disease

This degenerative disorder causes brain cells that produce dopamine to die, resulting in uncontrollable shaking, muscle spasms, loss of balance, and a decrease in cognitive functions. A study recently conducted in Israel showed that Parkinson’s patients who smoked medical cannabis found reductions in their tremors and muscle rigidity.

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Chronic pain is common among seniors, but MMJ products can help with relief.

Chronic pain

Pain is one of the most prevalent symptoms treated by MMJ. While some of the topical applications can help with pain in specific areas of the body, some MMJ products can be ingested for overall body pain (like from nerve damage). Medical cannabis can also be useful in alleviating joint pain from arthritis (which is fairly common among seniors). A recent study with seniors even showed that a whopping 93 percent of patients felt improvement in their pain symptoms while using cannabis. The study also demonstrated that more than 18 percent of the participants were able to reduce or completely stop their opioid (painkiller) usage.

Mental Disorders

Seniors are often diagnosed with mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. Many elderly individuals rely on MMJ products to ease these symptoms. Although people might not know this, eating disorders are actually common among seniors. Around 80 percent of deaths related to anorexia are among elderly patients. MMJ products can be used to help seniors keep up their appetite and encourage more food intake. Insomnia is also a common disorder for senior citizens – medical marijuana can help improve sleep patterns so individuals are getting better quality sleep every night.

Glaucoma

This eye condition occurs when there’s a buildup of fluid that results in damage to the nerves in the eye. It’s also the leading cause of blindness in seniors. MMJ products can actually help to relieve the pressure that develops with the buildup of fluid, creating an overall improvement in eye health.

Medical marijuana isn’t just for “young people” – it can really benefit the elderly too, and more and more seniors are taking advantage of it!

There are countless other conditions that MMJ can help with, including liver inflammation, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, etc. Because these products don’t work like typical prescription drugs, many people report finding almost instant relief from some of their harder-to-treat symptoms.

While seniors can easily see how they can improve some of their symptoms, they should also be aware of the other benefits they can get by using medical marijuana instead of prescriptions. For example, they can actually save money by getting an MMJ card – which is super valuable considering most seniors are living on a fixed income. Because there is no sales tax on medical marijuana in certain states (including California), seniors can save money on all their MMJ purchases. They also have the freedom to grow their own plants, which can be more cost-effective (especially since they can grow the strains that would best fit their treatment needs). Additionally, if seniors are able to skip taking some of their prescription medications in lieu of using MMJ products, they can also see some significant savings. For example, most seniors spend around $3,000 on prescription medications every year. Medical cannabis users usually only spend around $650 per year on MMJ products!

Seniors who use medical marijuana products can do so without worrying about becoming addicted as they would while taking most prescription painkillers. Also, there are very few side effects when using MMJ (like dry mouth or mild dizziness), as opposed to pain meds that can cause many serious issues. Basically, there are plenty of reasons that seniors should start using medical marijuana to help improve their health!

How to Fit MMJ Into Your Daily Life

If you’re thinking about using medical marijuana, you might be anxious as to how you can make it fit in with your daily life. MMJ has a difficult reputation, but thanks to a rise in use, further legalization, and increased research in the area, more and more people are turning to it in order to treat the symptoms of illnesses that can be difficult and debilitating. The good news is that it’s an incredibly flexible medication and you just need some specialist advice in order to integrate it into your life.

The first step is to log onto the internet and seek a medical marijuana specialist. While seeing a doctor online might seem a bit odd, the internet is one of the best places to seek advice on medical marijuana. As many traditional doctors have outdated ideas on what MMJ is and how it can treat patients, many specialist websites have been established online to provide patients with advice on how best to treat their conditions.

The next step is to make an appointment and then log on to speak to your doctor online. They will ask about your condition and talk to you about the best medical marijuana treatment plan for you. Medical cannabis can treat a variety of symptoms of conditions including, but not limited to, cancer, HIV/AIDS, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. There are different forms and strains of medical marijuana that can have different effects on the body.

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Joints are just one of the ways you can take MMJ.

Once you have your medical advice, you need to ascertain how MMJ is going to affect you and if you need to make special accommodations in your life in order to integrate your new treatment. Some strains of medical marijuana can have side effects such as drowsiness, which are not ideal when you’re working full-time or have an active social life. If this is the case for you, you’ll need to work out a treatment schedule that allows you to take your medication without interfering with your daily routine.

After picking the strain that’ll best treat your condition, you then need to decide which form of medical marijuana you’re going to take. The possibilities are endless and you are definitely not limited to smoking joints. Vaping, edibles, topical treatments, oils, and tinctures are just the tip of the iceberg and depending on your daily routine, there’s a perfect solution for you. If you’re unsure as to the best form of MMJ for you, the best thing to do is to go to a reputable dispensary for advice on what would work best for you. Not all strains will be available in all forms, but a dispensary employee will be able to give you advice on what works best.

When you have your medical cannabis, you’ll have to decide how best to take it. If you’re a busy professional, a discreet form of MMJ, such as a tincture or oil, would probably be best. Edibles are also a good way to take medical marijuana as long as you ensure that no one else mistakes them for normal candies or cookies and mistakenly eats one. You don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s marijuana journey! If you have a more relaxed or flexible lifestyle, you can make the choice for yourself. It’s just important to make sure that you take your treatment with supervision if drowsiness or similar side effects are in play.

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Medical cannabis is easy to incorporate into your daily life to treat the symptoms of your illness.

It is also important to remember the legality of medical marijuana while you’re traveling. While marijuana is legal for recreational reasons in some states and for medical reasons in others, it is still illegal on a federal level. This means that you cannot bring medical cannabis on planes and you could be arrested for bringing it into states where it is still completely illegal. This is obviously incredibly frustrating for people who rely on medical marijuana to go about their day to day business, but you do not want to risk getting on the wrong side of the law. It is often worth consulting a legal professional on this subject, especially if you’re traveling out of your state on a long-term assignment and genuinely can’t do without your MMJ.

Like any new medication, you will need to adjust your life slightly to your new medical regime. However, the payoff will always be worth it. Whether you’re using medical marijuana to improve your appetite, to reduce your nausea, or to control your seizures, you will feel a new lease of life in adding medical cannabis to your life. As well as physical symptoms, you may be able to use MMJ to help your mental health, so why not get some information and give it a try? It’s likely that you’ll never look back.

Medical Marijuana and Stigma: 6 Myths Busted

Medical marijuana is something that suffers from a lot of stigma. While it offers real treatment to many patients who suffer from a variety of conditions, it is the victim of misinformation from people who believe it to be nothing more than a legitimized street drug. The truth is that medical marijuana helps people who need it most and the most common myths can be easily dispelled by common sense and evidence.

1. Patients are Addicts

This myth is often spread by people who have little experience in the conditions that can be helped by medical marijuana. Many people use medical marijuana, including people suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, depression, anxiety, and a range of other conditions. These people are not addicted to their treatment but need it to keep them well so they are not debilitated by the symptoms of their conditions, some of which can be overwhelming. We don’t say that patients being treated by mainstream pharmaceuticals are addicts, so why should we do it to MMJ users?

2. MMJ Encourages Teens to Use Marijuana

Medical marijuana is only prescribed to children and teenagers when they really need it, such as when they are suffering from debilitating seizures or nausea. Doctors who advise patients to take medical marijuana do so when they know that it will vastly improve the quality of their lives. Medical marijuana is not a dangerous and recreational drug, but a legitimate treatment that allows all patients, including teenagers, to be able to better manage their symptoms. It is simply untrue to say that medical marijuana is pushing teenagers into drug use when it is allowing them to live better lives.

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Image by Michael Moriarty from Pixabay: There has been so much stigma surrounding medical marijuana that it can be hard to distinguish truth from myth.

3. Medical Marijuana is a “Gateway Drug”

This is another myth that treats medical cannabis differently to other drugs and treatments. Due to marijuana being illegal in the past, many people do not believe in its ability to treat symptoms of various conditions and assume that people who use medical marijuana will be encouraged to use hard and illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine. People who use medical cannabis are not seeking a high, so are not likely to move onto hard drugs in order to chase that high. Patients are not taking medical marijuana for fun, so linking it to hard and illegal drugs is completely invalid.

4. Patients Must Smoke MMJ to Experience Positive Side Effects

There are so many ways to ingest medical marijuana and most people who take it do not smoke it. When you go to a dispensary, they will be able to advise you on a range of different forms of medical marijuana. You can eat MMJ in the form of edibles such as candies, cookies, and brownies, and you can use lotions and other topical products to absorb it through your skin. You can also use tinctures and oils to ingest it orally, as these forms are only the tip of the iceberg. You have so many options when it comes to taking MMJ that you’ll soon realize how ridiculous this myth is.

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Image by Stay Regular from Pixabay: As MMJ becomes more widely used, more people are realizing that the stigmas surrounding it are untrue.

5. Patients Use MMJ to Get “High”

Just like how people who take prescription painkillers in a legitimate and medical environment are not looking to get high, medical cannabis patients are not seeking recreational effects from their treatment. Patients seek all kinds of treatments for their conditions, but the end goal is always the same. They just want to feel better and to live the best life they can alongside the conditions that they have to live with. Conflating recreational drug use and medical treatment is not helpful and discourages patients from seeking help.

6. There Are No Proven Medical Benefits of MMJ

Medical marijuana has been shown to help patients who suffer from a range of conditions. It helps people with depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions to feel calmer. It helps cancer patients and those suffering from HIV/AIDS to fight their debilitating nausea. It also helps people with tremors and seizures to manage their symptoms so they don’t have to be constantly aware and suffering their symptoms. People with wasting illnesses can also have their appetites improved by medical cannabis. In short, there are many ways in which MMJ has been shown to help people, and research is constantly continuing and evolving.

If you need help finding out more about medical marijuana, it’s easy to gain access to an MMJ letter from a doctor who is expert in the area. Then you will be able to visit a dispensary and gain access to the treatment that you need in the form that works best for you. Medical marijuana can’t cure your condition, but it can help you manage the symptoms so you can live a happier life.

 

Featured Image by angie3888 from Pixabay 

5 Benefits of Having A California Medical Marijuana Card

With over half of U.S. states legalizing medical marijuana (29 at last count), the drug is starting to be accepted as something more than simply an outlier treatment; it is a genuine, progressive form of therapy with tangible results. Although MMJ faced (and still faces, in some states) stiff opposition from conservative politicians, the wave of advocacy has been equally strong, leading to a steady increase in legalization over the years. The first state to adopt MMJ in legislation was California; it was also one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, which became legal on the 1st of January this year. Many patients are asking the question: if recreational marijuana is legal, do I still need to avail of the state’s MMJ program and own a California medical marijuana card?

This might seem like a conundrum for many patients; if they can just go up and buy marijuana legally from a local dispensary, then why bother with a doctor’s visit, a prescription, and a medical marijuana card? This is logical thinking, but the situation is a little more complex than it first appears. Marijuana, both recreational and medical, is a relatively new industry, and there are many different aspects to it. However, on balance, the answer is a resounding yes. Even in the face of legalized recreational marijuana, a California medical marijuana card is still a great idea; and here are five benefits of having one!

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California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana.

1. You Don’t Pay Sales Tax

Possibly the biggest incentive of a California medical marijuana card is that you can avoid paying sales tax on MMJ. This generous measure was introduced by the government as a way to reaffirm their commitment to their long-standing medical marijuana program, and to keep it running happily side-by-side with the newly introduced recreational rollout. We all know that health care can be an expensive venture, particularly if a patient suffers from a chronic condition. This sales tax rebate helps patients save money on every purchase, but only if they have a valid California medical marijuana card.

2. California’s Been Doing It The Longest

As mentioned above, California was the first state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana, and pave the way for the state of the countrywide legislation as it exists and develops today. The Golden State legalized the drug under Proposition 215 in 1996 – this  ruling was also known as the Compassionate Use Act. As California’s had over 20 years in the MMJ business, all of the teething problems have been ironed out, and the operation runs smoothly and effectively. Indeed, California is considered one of the very best states in the U.S. to avail of medical marijuana; while the recreational rollout will inevitably come with its own set of problems and issues, the MMJ program will continue functioning as normal.

3. There’s a Long List of Qualifying Conditions

California is known to be one of the most liberal states when it comes to a list of qualifying conditions that patients must suffer from to utilize medical marijuana. While the qualifying conditions cover a host of serious illnesses like cancer, Parkinson’s, ALS, arthritis, and AIDS, one of the most important entries on the list is “chronic pain”. It is well known and researched that marijuana can ease general symptoms of pain, and chronic pain is a condition many suffer from at some point in time. The inclusion of this symptom on the list allows doctors to prescribe MMJ to patients who can’t pinpoint their pain to a specific location. This is in stark contrast to some states, who don’t include chronic pain on their list of qualifying conditions, thereby limiting the treatment options for potential patients.

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Patients in California don’t pay sales tax on MMJ.

4. There Are Plenty of Vendors To Choose From

The MMJ program is so well-established in California that wherever you live, you won’t have to look very far to find your nearest vendor. New York came under fire recently for severely limiting the dispensaries in the state to under 20, which could potentially put pressure on the whole infrastructure of the industry. There are no such restrictions on Californian dispensaries. Not just any one can go about setting one up, of course; there’s still a hefty amount of procedure and licences to go through and obtain. However, you’re bound to find a dispensary closely to you when you live in California.

5. You’ll Have Access To Many Different MMJ Strains

As previously mentioned, it’s unknown at this early stage what kind of teething problems the widespread legalization of recreational marijuana will come with. There are bound to be some, however; taking an established black market industry and dragging it in to the light in one fell swoop is certain to come with some issues. You might think that you won’t need a California medical marijuana card once recreational marijuana is legalized, but without the card, you’re unable to follow your doctor’s specific advice. He or she will know which strain is the correct one to treat your condition, and chances are that strain won’t even be available in the recreational arena, at least not in the early days. Individual strains affect people and conditions differently; if you’re taking marijuana medically, it’s surely sensible to stick to your doctor’s advice and take the most beneficial strain for you.

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.

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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.

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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.

Could MMJ Products Affect the US Opioid Epidemic?

A massive opioid epidemic is currently sweeping the United States, creating a shocking increase in overdoses and deaths. Although some people are prescribed painkillers (like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl) for chronic pain issues, there are also many who use opioids as recreational drugs. For those who are using opioids as prescribed, it’s possible that an increase in the usage of medical marijuana products could actually encourage people to switch from opioids to MMJ. Because medical cannabis can help treat a number of physical symptoms, researchers are trying to determine if MMJ products could create a significant decrease in opioid usage – resulting in slowing down the opioid epidemic, or even stopping it in its tracks.

The current crisis of opioid abuse began in the late 1990s, when there were around 4,000 overdose deaths taking place every year. In the last two decades, the numbers have skyrocketed – more than 64,000 Americans died in 2016 from overdoses (compared to the  more than 52,000 that died in 2015). That figure means that nearly 180 people die from opioid-related overdoses every single day in the U.S., making it the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50. Over two million Americans are considered to be dependent on opioids, while at least 95 million individuals used prescription painkillers during 2017.

If steps aren’t taken to hit back against the epidemic soon, public health experts estimate that over 500,000 individuals could die from opioid overdoses in the next 10 years. The federal government has tried to boost some drug enforcement measures and is pushing regulations to get doctors to write fewer prescriptions for opioid painkillers. However, it will take at least until 2020 for any of the effects of these measures to be noticed, which means that the only hope the country has is to think outside the box to limit the growing number of people using and abusing opioids.

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The overuse and abuse of prescription painkillers has become a real problem in the U.S. in recent years.

One possibility for curbing the epidemic is to use medical marijuana products to treat chronic pain instead of prescription painkillers. Several studies have shown that medical cannabis can be used to effectively treat pain symptoms. In a recent study, elderly patients who started using MMJ products were able to lower their pain levels (and experience an improved quality of life). More than 70 percent were able to see a moderate to significant improvement. Overall, 93 percent of the elderly reported improvements in their overall health. After six months, more than 18 percent of the medical marijuana users had reduced or completely stopped using opioids to treat their pain symptoms.

Switching from opioids to medical marijuana has tons of benefits. MMJ products are much safer since they don’t have the potency of opioids (which result in dangerous and often lethal overdoses). Most opioids also work so that individuals end up needing more and more of the drug to feel its effects – something that doesn’t apply to medical cannabis. There are also way less side effects from using MMJ products (usually mild symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, or mental clouding) than from using opioids.

Another recent study conducted in Minnesota (published by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis) also demonstrates how an increase in MMJ usage could lead to a decrease in opioid dependence. The first-of-its-kind study included 2,245 people who enrolled in a medical marijuana program during the last few months of 2016. The results showed that 38 percent of patients were able to reduce their opioid usage, and 42 percent reported a pain reduction of 30 percent or more. Of the 353 patients who self-reported taking opioid medications during the time they used the MMJ, 63 percent reduced or eliminated their opioid use after six months. The research manager for the office of medical cannabis, Dr. Tom Arneson, said, “These survey results are a good starting point. We need more research into the potential value of medical cannabis in pain management, especially as our communities grapple with the harmful impacts of opioids and other medications now in use for that purpose. We encourage health care providers to read the full report as they consider whether medical cannabis should be part of their strategies for treating patients’ intractable pain.”

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Could MMJ products be a key factor in overcoming the U.S.’s opioid epidemic?

If more research is conducted, even more credence would be lent to the concept that MMJ products can safely and effectively treat pain symptoms. Reducing the number of people being prescribed painkillers could greatly impact the rising trend of overdoses in the U.S. from these medications – this factor might even prevent some individuals from being prescribed opioids in the first place.

The opioid epidemic is also creating a very large impact on the U.S. economy – a recent study from 2016 stated that opioid overdoses, abuse, and dependence have cost the economy around $78.5 billion. However, the White House stated in late 2017 that the opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. closer to an estimated $504 billion. Either way, using more MMJ products instead of prescribing painkillers could actually help boost the economy.

There are many benefits to using MMJ products for people experiencing symptoms of chronic pain, including a lower likelihood of dependence and side effects. If the U.S. wants to truly make a dent in the opioid epidemic, the health care field should consider including medical marijuana products as much as possible in their treatment plans. Their patients could benefit from the usage of medical cannabis, while also helping the country to cut down on individuals addicted to painkillers. Using MMJ products could also lower the costs the economy is incurring from the overuse of opioids. It definitely seems worth it for health care professionals and patients alike to consider using MMJ products to help cut down the use of opioids.

Why 2018 Is Already The Best Year For MMJ Patients

Medical marijuana has had a long and difficult road to get to where it finds itself in 2018. Although MMJ has many proven health benefits, and can ease symptoms of a wide variety of illnesses and afflictions, the progressive drug therapy has seen itself radically criminalized in some circles, and continues to be a point of contention for many conservative governors, senators, and councilmen/women.  However, the outlier medicine has made fantastic strides over the last decade or so, which means that 2018 is looking to be the year the pendulum swings fully in favor of MMJ and its assorted infrastructure.

The tide started to turn way back in 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. This was a big deal 22 years ago, and although it wasn’t the first state to complete the circle and legalize recreational marijuana (that particular accolade goes to Colorado and Washington simultaneously), the Golden State has continued to be a frontrunner in marijuana advocation and legislation throughout the past two decades. The state legalized recreational marijuana the day after a tumultuous presidential election, and can (in theory) start selling the drug this year. More on that later.

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Will 2018 be a turning point for medical marijuana in the U.S.? We think so.

Currently, 29 states (and Washington D.C.) have legalized medical marijuana, so we’re well past the halfway threshold in terms of cumulative state legislation. Signs are strong that the 30th state won’t be too far off, and several more look set to follow throughout 2018, meaning that this year could potentially see the biggest turnover of states to pro-green status since California ruled in MMJ’s favor 22 years ago. However, because medical marijuana doesn’t constitute a federal initiative, the way these 29-and-counting states are approaching MMJ is wildly different, and can have consequences for patients depending on their location.

Evidence of these interstate discrepancies can be found in the case of New York. The East Coast state has long been considered a liberal bastion, and can usually stand toe-to-toe with the large liberal stronghold on the West Coast that is California. However, when it comes to medical marijuana, New York seemed to stumble; this is largely due to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, being highly against marijuana in general, and seeing it as a “gateway drug,” even in a medicinal capacity. This didn’t stop MMJ being legalized in New York in 2014, but it was introduced as one of the most restrictive and conservative programs anywhere in the country, which surprised many people. One obvious example of this restrictiveness is that patients could not consume the drug in its leaf form, which has been regarded as the most potent form, and the most likely to help ease symptoms.

Fortunately, in 2018, patients could see the situation change for the better, courtesy of NY’s neighbours, New Jersey. Intense advocation has already seen the qualifying condition “chronic pain” added to the list, which has opened up MMJ care to  whole host of patients who could previously not access it. 2018 will more than likely see recreational marijuana legalized in New Jersey, as well as Massachusetts and even Connecticut, surrounding New York with liberal marijuana laws. Under that kind of pressure, Cuomo and the conservative elements of New York are sure to crack, paving the way for recreational marijuana, and helping the cause of medical marijuana in the process.

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The legalization of recreational marijuana is in fact helping the cause of medical marijuana in several ways.

You might wonder why medical marijuana has a place at all if recreational marijuana is taking the country by storm. In fact, the opposite is proving to be true; the legalization of recreational marijuana only serves to heighten the importance, and provide advantages to, the cause of MMJ. Take California as an example. Recreational marijuana was due to start being legally sold in the state as of January 1st, 2018. However, due to intense concerns about expanding a previously black market-based operation into the full light of legality, it has yet to occur, and looks like it won’t for some time.

What has occurred is a sales tax break for patients using medical marijuana, which is fantastic news for those who are committed to using the drug to treat their ailments. Also, the specialist care that doctors provide to patients when it comes to selecting the correct strain of marijuana for their conditions is still paramount; self-medicating with recreational marijuana is a very poor idea indeed.

So, the advancement of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana laws go hand in hand; instead of one eclipsing the other, they in fact work in tandem. This has already been proven at the start of the year in California, and as 2018 goes on and both causes are furthered simultaneously, the future looks bright for medical marijuana. Even though it’s only March, it’s easy to see why many people are considering this year the best year yet for MMJ; and with many months still to go, it could shine brighter yet.

93% of Elderly Patients Report Health Improvements Using Medical Marijuana

Researchers have known for quite some time that medical marijuana can be greatly beneficial in treating the symptoms of a number of conditions (including anxiety, cancer, glaucoma, migraines, etc.). This fact was validated even further by a recent study that showed that a stunning 93% of elderly patients who used MMJ products saw improvements with their health.

The study, published in The European Journal of Internal Medicine, showed that patients over the age of 65 who used medical cannabis showed reduced pain levels – without experiencing any adverse side-effects. The researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Cannabis Clinical Research Institute at Soroka University Medical Center documented what happened when elderly patients used MMJ to treat symptoms from illnesses like cancer, Parkinson’s, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. The patients who participated in the study consumed the medical marijuana in different ways. About 33 percent used cannabis-infused oils, 24 percent used smoking products, and six percent used vaporization methods. Every patient received a prescription for their medical marijuana items.

The results of the Israeli study (conducted with 2,732 patients) demonstrated that after six months using medical marijuana products, the patients reported less pain and an improvement in the quality of their day-to-day lives. A majority of the patients noted that their pain levels (on a ten-point scale) went from an average of eight to four. More than 70 percent of the patients said they saw a moderate to significant improvement with this treatment. Very few prescription medications can boast these types of findings.

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There are many ways that elderly people can benefit from using medical marijuana.

This study came at the perfect time for researchers. Professor Victor Novack MD from the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences (FOHS) said, “While older patients represent a large and growing population of medical cannabis users, few studies have addressed how it affects this particular group, which also suffers from dementia, frequent falls, mobility problems, and hearing and visual impairments.” This means that these findings are even more relevant to researchers looking at the benefits of MMJ on the elderly population.

One of the most significant aspects of the study showed that after six months, more than 18 percent of the MMJ users had reduced or completely stopped using opioid analgesics (also known as narcotics or painkillers). Patients who relied more on medical marijuana than these medications also reported feeling few to no side effects. The most common MMJ side effects were reported to be mild symptoms of dizziness or dry mouth. This indicates that elderly patients could begin to rely more on MMJ products for the treatment of their symptoms, which could greatly decrease their usage and dependence on prescription narcotics.

With the elderly population making up a significant segment of the MMJ community (around 14 percent in the US), this research could help convince more individuals over the age of 65 to consider using medical cannabis to help more effectively treat their symptoms. Because this population is also more likely to be on a fixed budget, they could benefit from buying MMJ products because there’s no sales tax in certain states, and they would have the freedom to grow their own plants if they didn’t want to buy them from a medical dispensary. Those on a tight income could also see significant savings if they’re able to trade in their prescription drugs for medical cannabis. For example, most seniors spend on average about $3,000 every year on medications. Those who purchase MMJ products usually only spend about $650 annually – which could be a huge help to those who are struggling financially.

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More and more elderly people are realizing the benefits of using MMJ products in conjunction with, or even instead of, traditional prescription medications.

Senior citizens who have some fears about using medical marijuana should remember that it’s actually safer to use than most prescription medications. There are additional positive effects that marijuana can provide, including relief from liver inflammation, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Additionally, people don’t have to worry about getting addicted to marijuana. Medical marijuana can also be ideal for treating some illnesses that hit the elderly population the hardest, including arthritis, Alzheimer’s, joint pain, and depression.

If seniors are worried about “getting high,” there are also some products called CBD (or cannabidiol) that contain some of the helpful aspects of marijuana without the psychoactive effect. CBD products (while not as potent as medical marijuana products) can still help ease pain and inflammation, reduce anxiety, and increase mental focus. People who are suffering from a decreased appetite can also benefit from MMJ products, because they have been found to reduce nausea and stimulate appetite. Additionally, seniors suffering from insomnia can also use medical cannabis products to improve their sleep habits.

With further research in the future, it’s likely that more and more studies will demonstrate the true advantages of using medical marijuana to decrease symptoms of illnesses and diseases among the elderly population.

Is America the Most Progressive Medical Marijuana Country in the World?

As Americans, we like to think that our country is the most forward-thinking nation out there. We like the idea of allowing our citizens to have more freedoms than they might be awarded in other countries. But is the U.S. the most progressive country when it comes to the usage of medical marijuana?

As more states in the U.S. are legalizing recreational marijuana, the whole country is looking to see how the regulations of cannabis (both medicinal or not) are being enforced and utilized. Because the U.S. is at the forefront of this, many outside countries are paying close attention to see how the laws are implemented. The use of MMJ cards was first established in California in 1996. Several states followed suit, including Hawaii and Colorado. Currently, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is legal in 29 states (as well as the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.). Although medical marijuana use is legal in many states, the actual regulations can vary greatly from state to state.

So, how does the U.S. compare to other countries? Here’s some info on medical marijuana policies around the world.

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How does the U.S. compare with other countries when it comes to recreational and medical marijuana laws?

Colombia

Colombia has legalized MMJ usage, and citizens are permitted to possess up to 22 grams at a time. They also have a very relaxed law that states that one person can grow up to 20 marijuana plants if it’s for personal consumption. This number is a lot higher than most countries, like the U.S., which only permits six plants to be grown at one time for recreational use.

The Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is fairly new to the MMJ game with legislation only being passed in 2013. There have been regulations instated to decriminalize marijuana usage, with Czech citizens being allowed to grow up to five plants at a time. Also, individuals can possess up to 15 grams of marijuana and up to five grams of hashish. The nation even hosts a big festival named Cannafest, which celebrates marijuana.

Italy

Medical marijuana has been permitted in Italy for quite some time, and the country has progressed to become one of the most unrestricted marijuana areas in the world. Italians voted for the decriminalization of possession of drugs (so individuals with small quantities of five grams or less are no longer subject to criminal charges). Citizens are also permitted to grow a reasonable amount of marijuana plants, as long as they are not used for trafficking purposes.

Jamaica

Although medical marijuana is legal in Jamaica, recreational use is still against the law. However, the country has recently relaxed its laws on possession and has decriminalized it for medical use and for the purpose of Rastafarian religious ceremonies (where cannabis or “ganja” is used as a sacred herb that allows the soul to rise).

The Netherlands

The Netherlands (especially Amsterdam) has gotten the reputation of being a major marijuana-friendly region. There are even “coffee shops” that allow consumers to take part in marijuana sales. In 2017, the Dutch government even legalized the production of cannabis. Additionally, MMJ products can be purchased without a prescription.

Portugal

Portugal has decriminalized marijuana since 2001, when they decided that the possession of any drug found in small quantities would not be considered illegal. Portugal is very progressive in the fact that they believe drug use should be deemed a health issue, not a criminal one. Instead of arresting their citizens for drug possession, those found with drugs are sent to medical panels (with a psychologist, social worker, and legal adviser) who all work to come up with an appropriate treatment plan for that individual.

Spain

Spain actually has relatively relaxed laws since medical marijuana can be purchased without a prescription. Consumption by adults in private locations is legal, which means citizens can grow marijuana plants for personal consumption (as long as they’re kept hidden from public view). However, the selling and trading of cannabis products is still illegal.

Uruguay

In 2013, Uruguay made history by becoming the first (and only) country in the world to fully legalize marijuana (including the possession, selling, transportation, and growing of cannabis). The marijuana market is still strictly regulated since citizens are only allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants at their residence, and each individual can only buy a maximum of 10 grams per week. However, the main upside is that prices of marijuana products are cheaper than in other countries. Plus, MMJ products can be purchased without a prescription.

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MMJ laws differ greatly between countries, but luckily the U.S. can still be considered among the most progressive.

Once you learn about how other countries are controlling the usage of marijuana products, you’ll find that the U.S. is right up there in terms of being forward-thinking. Although different states have a variety of laws regarding consumption of recreational marijuana, those with MMJ cards in the U.S. face less restrictions with your cannabis. Although recreational users are limited to one ounce of flower (or eight grams of cannabis concentrates) at one time, MMJ cardholders can purchase and possess as much cannabis as the treatment of their medical condition requires. These limitations also apply to edibles; recreational consumers can have a maximum of 10mg doses at a time, while those with a medical marijuana card don’t have this restriction.

So, while there are many countries working towards positive changes with both recreational and medical marijuana, America is one of the most progressive countries out there – striving for laws that permit MMJ users to purchase and possess the cannabis products that will be the most obtainable and effective for them. And maybe the U.S. can take some ideas of what has worked in other progressive countries to help move us even further along.

An In-Depth Look at MMJ Qualifying Conditions

Medical marijuana has been legalized in the U.S. since 1996, although the legislature applies on a state-by-state basis. The first state to blaze the trail was California, and since then, 28 others have followed in its footsteps, with several more waiting in the wings, on the cusp of legalization. Unfortunately for patients, MMJ law is not a federal affair, which can lead to a host of caveats for each legalization bill depending on the state you’re in. One of these caveats is the list of MMJ qualifying conditions for each state – that is, the conditions for which medical marijuana is an applicable and legal treatment.

Essentially, in order to qualify and avail of medical marijuana and allow doctors to legally prescribe it to you, you must have a diagnosed ailment that appears on the list of MMJ qualifying conditions accompanying every MMJ law that has been made per state. Once you’ve confirmed that your condition is on the list, then you can apply for your medical marijuana card from an authorized physician; this can be your primary care doctor, or it can easily be acquired online via telemedicine sites. Once you have that, you are free to visit dispensaries and avail of the medicine, in accordance with the supply and possession laws of each state.

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MMJ qualifying conditions vary from state to state, so it’s best to check your local policies to see whether you qualify.

Marijuana has been medically proven to lessen the symptoms of a great number of diseases; in fact, it has been used as a medicine in some form for many years, even preceding the introduction of it into law by California in ’96. However, not all states agree on what should be legally treatable with MMJ. The main reason for this is a worry that they might come across too vague, which would lead to abuse of a drug still considered illegal in many places in a recreational sense. Even with the advent of legal recreational marijuana, which has been legalized in eight states so far, MMJ qualifying conditions are still a hot topic among state governments.

In California, for example, the policy has always been very liberal in favour of medical marijuana, and the state’s MMJ qualifying conditions reflect that. Even though recreational marijuana has been legalized in the state since November 9th, 2016, it is still advantageous to have a medical marijuana card, because there are specific strains that treat specific diseases much better than the recreational strains. California and Colorado have also offered reduced sales taxes to patients in an effort to preserve their long-established and successful medical marijuana programs, which is a huge incentive for patients to continue with the program. There is also the fact that a state-wide rollout of medical marijuana has not yet been achieved by California, and could still be some way off, looking at the current progress on that front.

The most common MMJ qualifying conditions and ailments are pretty much seen across the board, in whatever state you’re in. They include cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, which are all conditions where the marijuana can induce relaxation to remove some of the pressure and stress on the muscles and afflicted organs. There are also many other less common illnesses which are listed on each state’s MMJ qualifying conditions list, although be aware that it does change from state to state.

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Laws regarding MMJ are very different in California than they are in New York.

One of the most controversial of these conditions is listed simply as “chronic pain,” which, when you think about it, is more of a symptom than a condition in and of itself. However, it is a crucial one to list on the spectrum of qualifying conditions because it allows a great many sufferers to avail of the medicine without needing to be specific about their condition. It also allows doctors a freer hand in prescribing the medicine, as they won’t be too caught up in the legality of what they’re prescribing and what condition they’re prescribing it for. “Chronic pain” was in the wording of the first MMJ qualifying conditions outlined in the U.S., by California in 1996, but unfortunately, not all states agree that it should be included.

One controversial example was New York, a state which is known for its generally liberal leanings. Many expected it to follow suit with a progressive medical marijuana bill, but not only did it take 18 years to get the bill through the Senate, when it was revealed, it proved to be an extremely restrictive piece of legislation. One of the many issues was the absence of “chronic pain,” an omission that left many patients unable to avail of the drug. Due to intense lobbying and pressure, “chronic pain” has since been added to the NY list of conditions, but unfortunately, there are still a few states where that is not the case. As we work toward building an MMJ-friendly country, it’s good advice to take note of MMJ law in each individual state, and make sure your specific condition is listed.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

California Vs. Colorado: Which Is The Best MMJ State?

When it comes to the continuing legalization of marijuana, in both its medical and recreational forms, two states are leading the charge, and have been for some time. They are California and Colorado, two major game-changers when it comes to medical marijuana, who adopted the beneficial legalization policies very early, and set a precedence that 27 other states have chosen to follow in the years leading up to 2018. What the future will bring for MMJ is unclear, but the ideal is to have all 50 states on board, with medical marijuana fully legalized across the whole of the United States. The remaining 21 states who have yet to sign MMJ into legislation would do well to look to California and Colorado as shining examples. But how do the two MMJ titans stack up against each other?

Let’s take a look at California first. The West Coast state has the honour of being the first state to legalize medical marijuana in legislation, during a critical vote on Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, which took place all the way back in 1996. Since that time, governments in California have been working to redefine and stabilize the legalization, resulting in one of the most liberal MMJ states in the country, a distinction California wears with pride. When contrasted with some of the more restrictive MMJ programs of other states, like New York (which, despite having a liberal-leaning reputation, surprisingly adopted an extremely harsh MMJ legislature), California’s progressive stance stands out even more.

California is leading the charge when it comes to marijuana legalization.

There are MMJ clinics and dispensaries all around the state, serving a large number of people suffering from a diverse number of illnesses. The wide range of qualifying conditions outlined in Proposition 215, most notably “chronic pain,” which refers to a wide number of patients’ grievances, has allowed people all over the state to benefit from medical marijuana’s therapeutic effects. As MMJ has been proven to reduce pain in many areas, resulting from many different conditions, the qualifying condition of “chronic pain” is an extremely important one, and is a caveat that many other states would do well to implement in their own legislature, both present and future.

On November 9, 2016, the day after a tumultuous presidential election, California became the eighth state to legalize recreational marijuana. However, the law only came into being on January 1, 2018, and as the state quickly discovered, 14 months was not enough lead in time to fully implement the legalization of a widespread, previously underground industry. Cities and counties up and down the state were not ready to sell recreational marijuana by January 1, despite significant progress being made in the rollout. For now, and for the foreseeable future, a medical marijuana card is still required to avail of marijuana in California, primarily because it’s not available anywhere else as it stands.

In light of the lengthy recreational legalization process, and as a nod to the state’s significant and well-established MMJ community, the Californian government introduced a measure whereby MMJ patients don’t pay any sales tax whatsoever on their medicine. This is a significant incentive and a show of commitment to the long-running MMJ program set up in 1996, and proves that the government are focused on incorporating recreational marijuana harmoniously alongside medical marijuana.

Colorado was hot on the heels of California when it came to legalizing MMJ, passing its own bill, Amendment 20, in 2000. Both Colorado and California decriminalized marijuana way back in 1975, so have always been at the forefront of marijuana laws in the U.S. In 2012, Colorado continued that trend by becoming the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, a revolutionary move that paved the way for marijuana legislation across the country, and also made America’s various MMJ programs more robust by legitimizing MMJ in the eyes of many citizens.

Colorado follows closely in California’s footsteps with its progressive MMJ policies.

Like California, Colorado medical marijuana is taxed differently to recreational marijuana, so it is still extremely beneficial to own a Colorado medical marijuana card. Also, the selection offered to medical marijuana patients is far superior than the recreational spectrum, and will be tailor-made for a patient’s specific condition, making them the optimum choice for marijuana taken medicinally. There is also the option of edibles for MMJ patients, which is not afforded to recreational users. For both states, the option of a medical marijuana card, even in the face of recreational legalization, is still the optimum choice for patients suffering from marijuana-treatable conditions.  MMJ cards can be acquired over the internet, via telemedicine, and don’t take long to arrive at your door.

When it comes to differentiating the two pro-marijuana states, there’s little difference when it comes to their MMJ programs. Both have tax rebates stemming from the legalization of recreational marijuana, and both have a range of qualifying conditions that allow a wide variety of patients from across the state to avail of the many benefits of MMJ. No doubt both California and Colorado will continue to bear the torch for medical marijuana in the years to come.

Which State Will be the 30th to Join the MMJ Revolution?

The medical marijuana revolution has gained some serious traction in the last few years. It started with a slow trickle all the way back in 1996, but as of the end of 2017, 29 states have legalized MMJ, with the majority of those laws coming into effect within the last decade. The trend seems to be very much in favour of legalization, with recreational use also coming up fast behind. But the question many advocates across the country are asking is: who will be next in line to pass the crucial legislation?

West Virginia was the most recent place to make the leap, and was the only state to join the cause in 2017. Because each state has their own laws, and because the process of introducing medical marijuana is a hot topic in most places, with plenty of debate and strong positions on both sides, it takes a long time to see the process through to completion. Fortunately, the majority of states now have turned the tide in favour of medical marijuana, so the rest should follow sooner or later. That’s the good news.

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29 states down; 21 to go.

The bad news is that it’s taken over 20 years to get to 29 states, and among the remaining 21 are some hard-line conservative areas that are against marijuana legalization of any kind, let alone decriminalization. So while the figures and statistics might look encouraging, and 29 states in the bag is certainly an encouraging number, it should be remembered that for West Virginia’s lone passing of their MMJ bill, there were 13 states who postponed or denied the legislation in 2017. These were Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Included in that number are a few unsurprising states, who traditionally take a conservative stance against the more liberal leanings of MMJ pioneers like California and Colorado. But there were also some surprises in there; Utah, with its proximity to both the aforementioned states, is surrounded by relaxed MMJ laws, and was thought to be a frontrunner in the race for the next state to sign up. Nebraska also looked all set to be a serious competitor in that race, much to the surprise of the rest of the country, as it’s traditionally seen as a Republican stronghold. However, their bill fell through in May of this year, when it was no longer viable for the 2017 session; though it will carry over to 2018.

The good part of all this failed legislature is that people are at least talking about MMJ laws in states all across the country. These bills are up for debate, with residents and governments taking their meanings and implications seriously. Those who advocate for medical marijuana will no doubt see the legislature pushed through again, hopefully next time with a different, more positive result. But among all the stalling was one state who technically put an MMJ bill through this year, and will more than likely see some form of the medicine go statewide in 2018: Iowa.

Technically, the state passed the bill in May 2017, making medical marijuana legal in Iowa. But the MMJ laws have yet to be implemented, and the state is still trying to figure out the exact specifics of the law, such as what forms of MMJ will be allowed, and who exactly will be allowed to produce and dispense the drug. Despite this delay, plans are being implemented for widespread dispersal, with the state selecting the first official state medical marijuana manufacturer at the end of November. However, this is with a view to solely legalize the oil variant of MMJ, a form of medical marijuana that has been proven to be less effective than smoking.

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Iowa might be the next state to board the medical marijuana train.

Hot on Iowa’s heels are two other states that could potentially be the 30th state to legalise MMJ. They are Wisconsin and North Carolina. Both states have pending MMJ legislation with their governments that will carry over into 2018. Studies show that 74% of North Carolina citizens support the legalization of MMJ, a strong, significant majority that might help to convince politicians and push the bill over the edge.

So whether it’s North Carolina, Wisconsin, or Iowa, or indeed any of the other states who are close to passing an MMJ bill, it’s clear the MMJ revolution will certainly not end with only 29 states on the board. There will be a thirtieth, and a thirty-first beyond that, and so on and so forth. The real question is whether the country can unite all 50 states under the medical marijuana banner, and if that mammoth task can be managed, how liberal each legislature will be. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear the medical marijuana tide is turning and turning fast; and that can only be good news for the millions of patients across the country who can benefit from its multi-faceted properties.

MMJ Patients Don’t Pay Sales Tax: Why You Still Need A Medical Marijuana Card In California After January 1st

As medical marijuana usage spreads across the U.S. (29 states and counting), recreational marijuana is following, hot on the heels of its medically utilized cousin. Seven states and Washington D.C. have currently legalized the drug, with Maine set to follow suit and become the eighth, potentially very soon. A key state that has pioneered both recreational medical marijuana card usage is California; it was the first to legalize MMJ way back in 1996, and last year, on November 9th, the state voted to legalize recreational usage, the day after a tumultuous presidential election.

As a concession to the long-standing MMJ community in the state, from November 9th, 2016, qualified patients or their primary caregivers were exempted from retail sales tax on medical cannabis, medical cannabis concentrate, edible medical cannabis products, or topical cannabis if they present a valid medical marijuana identity card (or MMIC for short) issued by CDPH at the time of purchase. The state-wide rollout of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, commonly known as Proposition 64, is due to kick off on January 1st, 2018 – a mere two weeks from now. The state has had 13 months to prepare itself for the inauguration of recreational marijuana. The question is: is it ready?

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Medical and recreational marijuana will soon be legal in the state of California.

In short, the answer is no. At least not completely. California is a huge state, and while there has been significant headway made in the rollout, most cities and counties won’t be ready to sell recreational marijuana by January 1st. A lot of the hold-up is due to the systematic regulation of what was very recently an unregulated, billion dollar industry; naturally this will take some time, and many locales are estimating an extra six to 18 months  to get the systems in place. However, as of January 1st, both medical and recreational marijuana will be legal in California, leading many existing patients to ask a very pertinent question: will a medical marijuana card still be needed following legalization?

The answer to that question is a resounding “yes,” for two main reasons. The first is that, ideally, your medical marijuana will be a specific strain that is suited and prescribed especially for your specific condition. Therefore, the only way you can guarantee a continued supply of your specific medicine during the big changeover is with a medical marijuana identification card. No one knows exactly how long it’ll be until every area of California is up and running selling recreational marijuana. So on the first day of 2018, keep to your tradition and acquire your MMJ the usual way: with your medical marijuana card in hand.

The second big reason is that you won’t be able to get recreational marijuana anywhere in California for the foreseeable future. MMJ dispensaries are only licensed to be just that: medical marijuana dispensaries. They won’t just start selling recreational marijuana, and you will always require an MMJ card to purchase the drug from their outlets. Therefore, you can happily conclude that the only way to get MMJ in California for much of 2018 will be with that all-important card. In an ideal word, recreational and medical marijuana would be available hand-in-hand from January 1st; however, that’s just not feasible, and the sad truth is that the state is woefully unprepared for a mass rollout of recreational marijuana on that date, despite the fact that it will technically be legal to sell it.

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If you’ve already got an MMJ card in California, you’ll still need it after the new legislation is rolled out.

Another question that many citizens across the state are asking is, “If recreational marijuana is so close, do I need to bother picking up a medical marijuana card?” Again, the answer to this is a resounding “yes,” mainly for the two reasons listed above. But another perk of registering for a medical marijuana card is that you’ll pay no sales tax on the medicine. This is a major benefit, and one that should be factored in to each individual’s decision about MMJ. Proposition 64 does not in any way abolish the state’s medical marijuana program – it simply makes a couple of amendments to it. The California Department of Public Health will continue to produce the cards and maintain a registry of patients.

Unfortunately, the situation as it stands is extremely uncertain, and will remain so for some time. No one in the state, from the government to the sellers, knows exactly what form recreational marijuana will eventually take, or how long it’ll be until it is properly regulated. There is some concern over a potential black market inflation because of the stall, which comes with the added disadvantage of slowing the whole thing down further. Currently (and for the foreseeable future), the only legal, advantageous, and ultimately secure way to avail of medical marijuana in California is via a medical marijuana identity card. This will ensure each patient gets the uninterrupted medicine they require from state-licenced dispensaries, and will continue to provide them with MMJ’s many proven benefits.

Will the MMJ Revolution Spread to Non-MMJ States?

The medical marijuana revolution is well and truly upon America. It started with a trickle, and little by little grew into a full-on flood; in 2017, 29 states are MMJ legal, and many more look set to follow over the coming months and years. The medical marijuana cause is bolstered by the increased acceptance of recreational marijuana in certain parts of the country. It stands to reason that if people are being allowed personal use, patients in need of its therapeutic benefits become impossible to deny. Although they are two separate strands of the same essential argument, MMJ stands to gain the most ground as the debate continues across America.

So where did MMJ start? Well, basically, medical marijuana has been around for a long time, and it wasn’t always considered an illegal substance. American medical journals dating all the way back from the late 18th century recommend using hemp seeds and roots for medicinal practices. 1914 was the first time the substance was criminalized, and any gains made in the subsequent decades were derailed by the Reagan in the 1970s, when he came down hard on drugs. Since that time, however, the trend has shifted towards relaxation. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and by 2009, twelve more states had followed its lead. Fast forward to 2017, and 29 states have gone green for medical cannabis, as well as the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. West Virginia is the latest state to join the revolution, with the remaining 21 still to follow.

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Will medical cannabis be made legal in all 50 states?

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, though. 1996 to 2017 is 21 years, which is a long time to cover just over half the country. Judging by those statistics, we can estimate that all 50 states will be MMJ legal by 2038, which seems a crazy amount of time to wait for what is tried and tested medical care. Also, while California pioneered the medicine with little resistance, and had some of the most liberal MMJ law in the country, the same rules don’t apply in every state.

A surprising battle was fought in the traditionally liberal stronghold of New York, for instance. The Governor there, Andrew Cuomo, has long held a conservative stance on medical cannabis, and was hesitant to bring in a blanket MMJ law such as California’s without curtailing it with some limiting caveats. The debate took up most of 2014, and although the MMJ law eventually passed, it was not without some seriously restrictive measures. One of the biggest issues is that New York does not allow patients to smoke medical marijuana, which is proven to be the most effective method of administering the medicine. There is also a heavy restriction on the amount of dispensaries that can sell MMJ, which limits the amount of patients that can be served at any one time.

Upon its legalization, there were also very few qualifying conditions in the New York bill. Qualifying conditions are important, because the more specific they are, the more doctors are limited (by law) in who they can administer the medicine to. At the advent of the bill in NY, only severe conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s, and ALS were approved to be treated by MMJ. This is problematic because one of the conditions that most benefits from the drug is ‘chronic pain’, which can occur separate from any named disease. This also lets doctors be much freer about who they can prescribe too. After much campaigning, ‘chronic pain’ was added to the list of New York MMJ qualifying conditions, but the MMJ cause in the East Coast state is still on very thin ice, with some maintaining that it has been designed to fail from the start.

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MMJ laws differ significantly from state to state.

New York is just one example of a state where MMJ law has had (and continues to have) birthing problems. Unfortunately, not every state agrees with the core tenets of MMJ practice, and so there are wildly varying caveats to each state’s bill. The federal government can’t  make one definitive ruling on MMJ law, so until then, we’re stuck with going on a state-by-state basis, with all the red tape and bureaucratic back-and-forth that entails.

Another debilitating factor is that many of the hardline conservative states such as Alabama are proving to be a very tough sell indeed when it comes to MMJ. ‘Legalizing drugs’ in even the vaguest sense (even if it benefited sick people) would seemingly represent a major corruption of values. Though marijuana possession has been gradually decriminalized in Alabama, those in the know suggest that it will likely be one of the last states to make medical cannabis legal. Ultimately, it’s a matter of time and waiting, however frustrating that may be. The MMJ revolution will eventually spread to all 50 states of the U.S.A.; but how long it takes to do that is currently anyone’s guess.

6 Ways To Avoid Laziness and Lack of Productivity When Using MMJ

An unfortunate side effect of some strains of medical marijuana is laziness and a lack of productivity. These effects hit some cannabis card users more than others. While some people swear that they are far more productive whilst under the influence of medical cannabis, for many other people marijuana-induced ‘couch lock’ and inaction can be a real problem.

Most marijuana card users need their medicine regularly (many are daily users) and so in order for them to move forward in their lives and achieve what they want to achieve, it is crucial for them to discover ways to avoid laziness and a lack of productivity. MMJ patients need to be sure they can enjoy the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana while staying on top of their lives and being energetic, vibrant, and self-actualizing.

So with that in mind, here is our list of six ways you can avoid laziness and lack of productivity when using MMJ.

Clarify Your Goals Making clear and compelling goals is a crucial step towards ensuring that you stay productive. Humans need to be inspired to be focused and industrious. If you are not excited about your projects and life direction, it is all too tempting to be slovenly and laze on the couch wasting time. To avoid this, make a list of your goals and ask yourself why you want to achieve them. Make your “why”s compelling and exciting. Get thrilled about what you could achieve if you put your mind to it. Create vivid pictures in your mind of how good it will feel when you achieve your desires and hit your targets. And when you are tempted to stay on the couch and watch “just one more” episode of the Netflix series du jour (even though you have work to do), remind yourself of why you need to work… and inspire yourself to get to it!

Set Yourself Rules It is important to have clear rules about when, what, and how much you smoke. For example, if you are more productive without MMJ in your system (and your medical condition allows you to get away with having weed-free periods), then schedule the bulk of your productive work for before you smoke. Set yourself the rule that you must get all of your work done before, say, 5pm, and that you cannot smoke until 5.01pm. Make rules that work for you and allow you to avoid laziness and stay productive. Stick to them. Hold yourself accountable. Regularly breaking your rules will be stressful and guilt-provoking… And it should be! Discipline equals freedom!

MMJ - getting work done

It’s easy to stay productive while using MMJ if you set yourself a few simple rules.

Make Daily Schedules A great way to make sure that you stay on-track in life and get everything important that you need to do done, is to make intelligent daily schedules. Trying to balance the list of all of your important daily tasks in your memory is stressful. Instead, make a list, stick it to the wall, and then it’s “set and forget”! Having a formalized and clearly visible list of the important daily tasks that make your life better is reassuring and majorly stress-reducing. Ticking tasks off your smart daily schedule once they are done is very satisfying. And the first hit of MMJ after you’ve completed your entire daily schedule is the sweetest hit imaginable!

Choose MMJ Strains That Increase Energy and Motivation A very practical way to avoid laziness and lack of productivity (especially if you need to use MMJ while you work) is to choose strains that energize you. Typically, this will be relatively high-THC and low-CBD strains. A strain such as Lemon Power Haze, which has high THC and very little CBD, will tend to motivate, energize, and provoke high levels of productivity.

Kill Perfectionism A mindset that tends to lead to inactivity and a huge lack of productivity is the dreaded “perfectionist” mindset. Seeing as absolute perfection does not exist in the known universe and is merely a mental abstraction (everything can be improved in some way if you look hard enough!), people who demand perfection of themselves are burdening themselves with a debilitating and discouraging demand that they do the impossible. Instead of being a perfectionist, try to adopt the mindset that “good enough is good enough” and remind yourself again and again (and again if needs be!) that perfectionism is the sworn enemy of productivity, and one of the most lethal dream-killers in the known universe!

 

MMJ - man working out

Staying fit and healthy goes hand-in-hand with staying active and productive.

Stay Physically Healthy Finally, in order to be productive and energetic, it is crucial to maintain good energy levels and health. Do this by getting regular physical exercise, eating healthy food (even when you have the munchies!), and sleeping well.

Adopting some or all of these strategies should make sure that you avoid laziness and lack of productivity when using MMJ. Now, up and at ’em, you industrious busy bees!

6 Best Strains of Medical Cannabis for Improving Athletic Performance

Medical cannabis can have hugely beneficial effects on athletic performance. Improved recovery, pain management, sharpened focus, decreased anxiety, increased appetite, and better sleep are some of the effects of medical cannabis for athletes in all sorts of sports.

Athletes involved at a high level in weightlifting, bodybuilding, Brazilian jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts, marathon running, and even professional basketball have sworn by the effectiveness of medical marijuana for improving their mental and physical performance.

In high-pressure situations that could provoke detrimental and distracting anxiety and stress, medical cannabis can reduce anxiety and induce calm focus.

 

MMJ - athlete running

No matter what type of athlete you are, medical cannabis can benefit you.

When an athlete needs to relax deeply after a grueling session in order to be optimally recuperated and ready to perform again as soon as possible, a calming indica can relax the mind and body, and induce a pleasantly healing comatic slumber (not to mention encourage lots of eating, which will refuel the body with vital nutrients and promote rapid recovery).

Medical cannabis for athletes isn’t just restricted to elite performers. Many people report that medical marijuana improves their gym workouts too. Under the influence of MMJ, weightlifting, bodybuilding, and cardio can all be done with a quiet focus that allows a person to tune out the myriad distractions that exist in a modern commercial gym and concentrate deeply on performing their workout to the absolute best of their ability. (MMJ can also make the crappy music they play in most commercial gyms quite a bit more palatable!)

Here is our list of six of the best strains of medical cannabis for improving athletic performance.

Royal Medic is a sativa-dominant hybrid strain from Royal Queen Seeds with a light and fun high that calms the body and enlivens the mind. With 10% THC and 12% CBD, the effects are smooth and mellow – just enough to take away any anxiety and sharpen up focus for optimal sports performance.

Lemon Power Haze by Zamnesia Seeds is a sativa-dominant hybrid with 20% THC and not very much CBD at all. This results in an energetic, heady high that is perfect for athletic performance as it fuels imagination and motivation, kills anxiety and stress, and allows crystal-clear focus, while leaving the body untouched and ready to exert energy at a high level.

OG Kush is an indica-dominant strain that boasts an eye-popping 25% THC, so despite her indica roots, she brings on a powerful heady high that tends to instigate motivated productivity. OG Kush is the lovechild of a threesome between Lemon Thai, Pakistani, and Chemdawg and has gone on to outperform all of its parents in terms of popularity, especially with sportspeople. The high from OG Kush starts off heady and ends in a fairly powerful body high, which is perfect for long-distance runners as it allows them to enjoy steadily pushing on through the pain barrier on long runs. OG Kush is also ideal for use after intense exercise as it strongly relaxes the body and mind, allowing for optimal recovery.

Amnesia Skunk Automatic is a strain that packs a good punch, being relatively high in THC and CBD. It provides a cerebral and heady high while also giving a beautifully calming body-buzz. This is ideal for weight-training as it allows the user to push through the pain barrier with relative ease and really enjoy squeezing out those last few reps (the reps that really count!). Amnesia Skunk Automatic is a strain known for its powerful pain-reduction and anti-inflammatory properties, so it is an excellent aid to post-workout rest and recuperation.

 

MMJ - woman weightlifting

MMJ has a whole host of benefits both during and after a workout.

Sweet Tooth is an indica-dominant strain bred by the good folks down at Barney’s Farm in Amsterdam. It has a solid 16% THC and a high amount of CBD that provides a heavy body-based high. Sweet Tooth is a mage-relaxing strain of medical cannabis and so would not be ideal for fast-paced sports, but is ideal for slow cardio or long, laidback weight-training sessions. With its high CBD content, Sweet Tooth is ideal for inducing some serious relaxation after a grueling match or workout.

Casey Jones is a strain bred from Trainwreck, Sour Diesel, and Thai Genetics. It is 40% indica and 60% sativa. It has a THC content of around 20% and gives a happy, uplifting, and motivating high, which is perfect for getting rid of anxiety and replacing it with energy and excitement – making it the ideal medical cannabis for athletes. Due to its indica genetics, Casey Jones provides a strong and long-lasting body high. The physical buzz brought on by Casey Jones completely alleviates pain and is great at reducing inflammation, which can help to improve performance during a game or training session, and will also promote rest and recovery in the aftermath of physical exertion. Casey Jones is a great all-rounder that is ideal for athletes of all types.

Hopefully this list has inspired you to see if MMJ can improve your athletic performance. Let us know how it goes in the comment section!

6 Best Strains of Medical Marijuana For Inducing Sleep

Before we get into the best strains of medial marijuana for inducing sleep, let’s talk about insomnia.

Insomnia is a frustrating and debilitating condition that impacts the lives of 60 million Americans. Not being able to sleep, despite being tired, drained, and having little energy, is very unpleasant and can lead to all sorts of negative physical and psychological effects.

For most of us, the harder we try to fall asleep, the more difficult it is to do so. If you suffer from insomnia it can be damn near impossible to drift off, no matter how many sheep you count!

Conventional sleeping pills are one solution, but they can have unpleasant physical and mental side effects. They can also be addictive and many people develop crippling dependencies that are extremely difficult to escape.

Another cure for insomnia is medical cannabis, and now that cannabis cards are legal in 29 states, more and more people who find it difficult to get some shut-eye are using particular MMJ strains for sleep benefits.

It seems that medical cannabis really is a bit of a magic bullet when it comes to treating insomnia.

MMJ - medical cannabis plant

Did you know you can use medical marijuana for inducing sleep?

But not all strains of medical cannabis are created equally when it comes to blasting people off into dreamland. Indicas, with their less heady and more heavy, relaxing body-high, are usually best for inducing slumber. Most sativas, on the other hand, tend to have a more energizing, heady effect that may in fact keep you awake.

But not all indicas are equally insomnia-crushing either – some strains will knock you out more assuredly than others. So here is our list of the six best strains of medical marijuana for inducing sleep.

Big Bud is a very strong indica plant with (yes, you’ve guessed it!) big buds. These big buds contain a super-dose of potent CBD that will make your eyelids feel heavier than boulders in no time. Big Bud will essentially knock you out within a few minutes. With this CBD-heavy beast circulating in your bloodstream, sleep is guaranteed. It is advisable to put your pajamas on and brush your teeth before you hit Big Bud, because you might not manage to do so afterwards.

Pound Hammer is an indica that is renowned for its mind-quieting and anxiety-reducing properties. For people who struggle with a head full of frantic thoughts and incessant self-chatter, Pound Hammer is a great choice of medical marijuana for inducing sleep. It gradually turns the volume down to zero on your self-talk and your worries, replacing them with a silent, dreamy, relaxed calm. Once you have a few hits of Pound Hammer there’s no turning back – it is well and truly time to say (or slur) “goodnight.”

MMJ - man sleeping

Try one of these strains for some quality shut-eye.

Afghan Kush is a famous old indica strain that incites a heavy, drowsy, body-focused high. It is brilliant for getting rid of pain and quieting anxious thoughts. A few hits of Afghan Kush will give you a strong desire to eat anything you can get your hands on, but an even stronger desire to sleep. So don’t smoke unless you are ready to fall asleep pretty darn soon, and quite possibly wake up 10 hours later covered in chips and chocolate wondering, “What the hell just happened?”

Blue Mystic is one of the less potent “insomnia-blasters” on the list. It will not necessarily knock you into a coma in the same way that Big Bud or Afghan Kush will, but it will give you a delightful body-high and a warm, tingling feeling of relaxation. The chilled-out body-high and feelings of wellbeing that Blue Mystic induce will gently nudge you into a zone in which you can chill out and watch some TV, but you could also kick your shoes off, lie back, and drift off into a warm, fuzzy snooze. Blue Mystic is ideal for people who have mild insomnia or just like a little hit of something light to help them unwind, and maybe nap in front of the TV.

Bubba Kush is a hybrid of Bubble Gum and Kush. It has a relatively low THC content of 16%. Bubba Kush gives a strong, CBD-induced body-high. It is very relaxing and almost numbing. A few hits of Bubba Kush and you will have a blissfully clear mind (almost as if you’ve just been on a month-long meditation retreat!). With Bubba Kush massaging your neurons, the world moves in slow motion and sleep becomes impossible to resist. A gallon of strong coffee couldn’t keep you awake after a few tokes of Bubba Kush.

Critical Mass is an indica-dominant strain that is a heavy sleep-inducer. It has a mellow, earthy, citrus flavor and strong, strong sedative qualities. When the Sandman gets even a faint whiff of Critical Mass in the air, he drops whatever he’s doing and immediately follows his nose straight to the source, where he gently puts his index finger on your forehead and whispers “Sleep.” Just a few hits of Critical Mass and you will be ready to pass out wherever you happen to be sitting… Preferably in the comfort of your own home!

Are New York’s Medical Marijuana Laws Going to Relax Any Time Soon?

New York State’s new medical marijuana program, which came into effect on the 6th January 2017, has been criticized by a lot of people for being one of the most restrictive, limited, and non-user-friendly medical cannabis programs in the entire country. And these criticisms are certainly not unfounded. The New York medical marijuana card program is extremely limited in its current form.

There is an abundance of very strict and highly limiting rules and regulations wrapped tightly around the New York medical card program, and as a result of this, many physicians, providers, and patients feel severely hamstrung and unable to get optimal value from the program.

Currently only a limited list (much more limited than in other parts of the country) of ailments and conditions qualify a person to be treated with medical marijuana. Initially, only cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy Huntington’s disease, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and neuropathy qualified a person to be prescribed MMJ. More recently, on 22nd March 2017, chronic pain was added to the list. It was hoped that rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, and dystonia would qualify a person, but the Department of Health has refused at this time to designate these conditions a suitable to qualify a person for a New York medical cannabis card.

The laws are currently very strict regarding dispensaries. There are very few dispensaries in the state in which to use a New York marijuana card. The new program only allows 20 dispensaries in total to operate in the entire state. This situation makes life quite difficult for many MMJ patients.

The New York medical marijuana program is strict and not at all user-friendly.

The only dispensary on Manhattan, located near the 3rd Avenue subway station, is far from the welcoming, educational mecca to medical marijuana that many of the dispensaries in other, more MMJ-friendly states are. It is a tightly controlled building with unmanned security gates (almost prison-like) that patients get buzzed through. It is clean and efficient but it has no interesting edibles or innovative new strains of smokable herb to explore – a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of delightful medical cannabis treats it most certainly is NOT! There is zero edible or smokable MMJ for sale. Only tinctures and oils that can be taken from an inhaler or vaporizer are allowed in New York State, and the prices are higher than in most other states in the country. Insurance companies in the state do not cover a patient for medical marijuana use.

The certificate provided to a patient by a doctor recommending MMJ use must have stated upon it the type of MMJ they should use, the method of administration and the amount – this prevents a patient from experimenting with different types of medical cannabis and different methods of ingestion, which is very limiting.

New York residents are hoping the list of MMJ qualifying ailments will grow in the future.

Home cultivation is still strictly prohibited by the New York State program.

So for these reasons the medical marijuana program in New York State is currently very tight and restrictive. But there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. There seems to be a very slow but gradual creep towards opening up taking place. A more relaxed and inclusive regime may not be too far away.

One gets the impression that, even though change and movement is slow, the vast majority of changes that occur over the coming years will result in more relaxed laws.

Despite the fact that the list of qualifying conditions is currently very restricted, there is a definite cautious open-mindedness detectable from the scientists at the Department of Health that are responsible for investigating what ailments should qualify a patient for MMJ treatment. While they are currently of the opinion that a shorter list of conditions is treatable by MMJ than their compatriots in most other states, they have reassured the public adamantly that they are keeping up-to-date on all new research and are completely willing to change their minds as soon as compelling evidence presents itself. This bodes well for a future relaxation of the laws regarding qualifying medical conditions.

This willingness to change the specifics of the program was demonstrated in March 2017 when ‘chronic pain’ was added to the list of qualifying ailments, opening the door to many new potential patients.

And the progress continues. PTSD looks likely to become a qualifying condition in the near future. A bipartisan bill that will designate PTSD a ‘qualifying condition’ has already passed the Senate Health Committee and is currently awaiting approval by the Senate.

Another ailment that looks like it will imminently be designated a ‘qualifying condition’ is dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps). Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has introduced a bill to allow menstrual cramps to be treated with MMJ. She is confident that the bill will be passed. ‘We’re a progressive state. It did take 20 years to get medical marijuana to be the law, but we’re going to work hard to get it passed.’

It seems like her optimism is justified. The cannabis card New York program is currently tight and restrictive, but as Rosenthal says, New York is a traditionally progressive state, and its MMJ program, although currently restrictive, does seem to be moving towards a more relaxed and open place, slowly but surely.

Medical Marijuana Can Help Your Performance in Certain Sports

Athletes use all sorts of weird and wonderful methods to enhance their athletic performance. Extremely hot saunas, extremely frigid ice baths, unusual eating schedules, supplements and performance-enhancing drugs (both legal and illegal) are just a few of these methods. Can medical marijuana also be used in a way that will improve performance in certain sports? It seems so.

Cannabis is a banned substance according to the World Doping Agency. Still, rumors abound that certain big name athletes have used medical cannabis to improve their performance. Many sporting superstars have spoken out about using weed to calm their minds, heal their bodies and improve their game.

MMJ and Athletes

MMJ Recs - basketball spin finger

Although it’s considered a banned substance, MMJ has been hailed by some athletes as helping them do better in their sport.

Stephen Jackson, who played in the NBA from 2000-2015 with the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, has talked about occasionally using marijuana before and during NBA games.

“I just gotta be real, you know it’s been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games, it’s been some games where I smoked before the game and was on the bench after three minutes sitting on the sideline, ‘Please calm down. This high has to calm down.’ I done shot three shots that went over the backboard, like, I’m going to be honest, like, ‘Ah, I gotta calm down.’”

Former Chicago Bulls point guard Jay Williams told Fox that he reckons 75-80% of NBA players use medical marijuana – with little concern for drug tests.

Arnold Schwarzenegger famously smoked weed in the cult bodybuilding movie ‘Pumping Iron’ after winning the Mr. Olympia title. Was this merely a celebratory joint, or was he using MMJ for its recovery inducing properties?

UFC fighter Nick Diaz was banned for 18 months when he tested positive for marijuana use. He said, “If I’m at home and I’m training, doing my same things every day, then I’m definitely going to want to use cannabis. It’s gonna help.”

MMJ Recs - Jiu Jitsu

Some athletes who practice jiu jitsu, like Joe Rogan,  have admitted that smoking medical marijuana before a match increases their game.

Famous podcaster, UFC commentator and ace Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Joe Rogan has, on numerous occasions, said he smokes before he plays BJJ and it improves his game considerably.

Professional ultramarathon runner Avery Collins has said he often uses medical marijuana during his ultramarathons (however, not during official events). Speaking to the Wall Street Journal he said, “If you can find the right level, [medical cannabis] takes the stress out of running,” “And it’s a post-race, post-run remedy.”

So plenty of big name athletes swear by medical weed’s effectiveness. But why might it be a good reason to improve sports performance?

Medical Marijuana and Sports Performance Benefits

One benefit of having a medical cannabis card is that MMJ can increase mental focus. This can mean an athlete is less prone to distraction and more acutely focused on the task at hand – playing their sport to the best of their ability. Marijuana can get rid of irrelevant thoughts and mental white noise.

Using your California medical marijuana card induces feelings of relaxation. This can be beneficial when an athlete is performing, as it can get rid of stiffness and stifledness brought on by mental or physical tension. It can also help after a performance when an athlete needs to relax as thoroughly as possible in order to recuperate.

CBD-heavy indica strains of medical cannabis can be useful sleep-aids. This can be hugely helpful for an athlete both in the run up to a performance, where getting adequate rest is crucial, and after a performance, when sleep is needed to allow the body to heal and recuperate.

California medical marijuana card use can reduce anxiety, and this can be invaluable to an athlete who is prone to getting nervous before a performance. Anxiety can be a big hinderance to an athlete and if medical cannabis can alleviate this anxiety, an athlete is freed up to perform at their very best.

Medical marijuana use is known to loosen tight muscles, which is very helpful for athletes, particularly after a hard game, race or fight when muscles have been used to the max and need to loosen, rest and heal.

The fact that cannabis increases appetite is very valuable to athletes who need to put on a lot of muscle. Bodybuilders and fighters in particular go through periods when eating a lot of calories is crucial – medical herb can help with this.

MMJ and Sports Performance Downside

There are also a few downsides for athletes using MMJ, such as it can increase heart rate, which can lead to him or her becoming fatigued more quickly that they would otherwise.

California marijuana card use can lead to impaired memory. This can lead to soccer players forgetting what direction they are supposed to be shooting, and even boxers entering the ring with no shorts on!

Medical cannabis cards can lower reaction time, which is obviously not ideal if you are involved in a fast sport such as tennis, basketball or skiing.

Smoking cannabis can damage lung capacity, which will decrease cardiovascular health.

So the jury is out, but there are certainly some positive signs that MMJ can really help with athletic performance. If you are a professional athlete, beware that cannabis is a banned substance, but if you are an amateur, then maybe give it a try and see for yourself how your performance is affected.

The Pros and Cons of Consuming MMJ

Like most things in life, medical cannabis use comes with some pros and some cons. As the old saying goes: “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” and this is certainly the case when it comes to medical marijuana use.

Many of the pros are so life-enhancing that, for many people, they make the cons easily handleable and well worth it.

If you are going to use a California medical marijuana card it is best to know exactly what you are getting yourself in for – the good, the bad and the ugly! So here is a list of some of the most common pros and cons associated with medical cannabis use.

The Pros of Medical Marijuana Use

It is now proven beyond any reasonable doubt that medical marijuana provides effective pain relief. It’s pain-relieving effects are on a par with (and often better than) the leading prescription painkiller pills on the market today. But cannabis card use comes without many of the unpleasant side-effects that pills have, such as addiction and loss of libido.

California weed card use causes an increased appetite. This is very helpful for patients who, due to the specifics of their illness or their mental state, find that they have little or no appetite, and so struggle to get the requisite nutrients and calories into their bodies.

The cancer-fighting properties of medical herb are now becoming more and more apparent. Research is now suggesting that cannabinoids can help to inhibit and (even completely stop) tumor growth. While chemotherapy tends to kill healthy cells as well as cancerous cells, cannabinoids appear to attack cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

Many PTSD sufferers report considerable reduction of their symptoms when they use a California medical card, and there is solid evidence to back up these anecdotal reports. A study at the University of Haifa showed that rats who were exposed to trauma and then given cannabinoids did not develop PTSD, while rats that were exposed to trauma but received no cannabinoids did develop PTSD (poor rats).

Dr. George R. Greer MD in Santa Fe, New Mexico says that according to his research, PTSD patients report, on average, a reduction of 75% in their symptoms when they use MMJ.

Medical cannabis, in its raw form, is mega dense in nutrients. As a dark and leafy green plant it is rich in iron, calcium and fiber. The cannabinoids and fatty acids found in the cannabis plant reduce inflammation, improve cellular function and reduce damage from free-radicals. Juicing medical marijuana is very healthy.

Many patients report a marked reduction of anxiety symptoms when they are under the influence of medical cannabis. The CBD has a strong calming effect on the body, relaxing any tensions that may be present. The THC can induce feelings of calmness, well-being and even euphoria – and it’s difficult to be calm, euphoric and anxious all at once!

There is solid scientific and anecdotal evidence that MMJ calms muscle spasms. This makes life a great deal easier for people who suffer from seizures, various symptoms of multiple sclerosis, physical injuries and cramps.

MMJ Recs - eye close up

MMJ has been found to help those patients with glaucoma feel less pressure in their eyes.

MMJ eases the pain of glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged by a buildup of intraocular pressure. The THC found in medical cannabis has been proven to reduce intraocular pressure by approximately 30% for up to four hours.

For people who suffer from insomnia, a good, strong CBD-heavy medical cannabis can promote sleep and win them some much-needed rest, recuperation and rejuvenation.

The Cons of MMJ Use

Much anecdotal evidence points to medical marijuana-use promoting laziness and a lack of productivity. Regular cannabis-use can make a person so relaxed and listless that they have little motivation to do anything apart from laze on the sofa watching TV and eating candy.

Despite the fact that CBD-heavy strains of marijuana often cause a patient to fall to sleep, it is often a poor quality sleep. Many heavy cannabis user report waking up feeling tired, drowsy, foggy and heavy-eyed, almost as if they are experiencing an alcohol-induced hangover.

As we mentioned earlier, California marijuana card use is good for stimulating appetite. However, the other side of this coin is that excessive weight gain and even obesity are a risk with heavy weed use, and specifically the longing for food that can come with it.

MMJ Recs - man eating cookie

Using medical marijuana can cause people to eat more and gain weight.

Heavy MMJ use can bring on feelings of sadness and depression. This may be linked to a general existential angst brought on by guilt and worry about being lazy and unproductive (due to MMJ use), and/or to a consistent lack of high-quality sleep, or it could be to do with chemical imbalances in the brain brought on by too much exposure to the psychoactive THC in MMJ. Either way, weed seems to cause depression in some people.

Chronic medical marijuana use has been reported by many people to increase general anxiety levels. As we mentioned earlier, many forms of acute anxiety can be reduced and eased in the moment with MMJ use. However, over the long-term, general anxiety levels can often be raised by (relatively heavy) cannabis use.

So, now you know the main pros and cons and you can make your own educated decision. Good luck!

How to Grow Medical Marijuana in California

More and more California MMJ card carriers are cultivating their own plants at home, and it’s easy to see why. Though most cannabis card holders are likely to get their main supply from their local dispensary, it’s a useful – and fun – way to make sure you’re never caught without the wonder plant.

Before you consider home cultivation, it’s prudent that you get an MMJ card. This card will allow you to legally access medical marijuana – and it’s seeds – to treat your ailment with. The process of getting your MMJ card is quick and easy and can be done online from the comfort of your own home. While some people may question this ease of access, it can make a life changing difference to someone who has an ailment that leaves them housebound.

Getting Your MMJ Card

When applying for your California medical marijuana license you’ll first be asked to fill out a short, simple questionnaire on your ailment and how it affects your life. When you complete this questionnaire you’ll start your ‘virtual doctor’s visit’ via our HIPAA telemedicine platform. This ‘visit’ is an online consultation with a state licensed physician. Your appointed doctor will give you a full medical evaluation, where you’ll be asked a few non-invasive questions about your medical history and your ailments. This consultation should take you no longer than 20 minutes.

If the doctor thinks your suitable for a medical marijuana card, they’ll tell you there and then and you’ll be emailed your MMJ card recommendation straight away. When you receive this, it can be printed off immediately and brought to an MMJ dispensary for use. Your physical embossed copy of the recommendation will arrive in a few short days.

Know the Medical Marijuana Laws

MMJ Recs - trough in soil

If you’re going to grow MMJ in California, make sure you know the rules and limitations of Proposition 64.

It’s important that if you intend to grow medical marijuana, that you’re au fait with the laws surrounding cannabis cultivation with an MMJ card. Proposition 64, which came into effect on January 1 of this year, made home cultivation legal – within certain limits. Under this law, California medical marijuana card carriers may possess up to one ounce of the plant and can grow six mature, or twelve immature plants of their own at home. These laws apply to everyone aged 21 and over.

As home grow laws are still in their infancy, they’re not too fraught with taxes and restrictions yet, but as the medical marijuana program evolves, this may change. Make sure to check with your local authority before you get your hands dirty to ensure you’re growing within the limits of the law.

Roadblocks to Growing MMJ

Unfortunately, even with the promotion of home cultivation as a supply solution for MMJ card carriers across California, there are still some roadblocks to accessing equipment or information. As marijuana possession is illegal at a federal level, online retailers are reluctant to sell MMJ growing equipment for fear of legal repercussions.

Similarly, garden centers and nurseries have in some cases been withholding on information on how best to grow the plant, regardless of whether the customer has a medical marijuana card or not. As attitudes and laws surrounding MMJ further relax, this problem should become near obsolete.

Best Practices for Growing Medical Marijuana in California

MMJ Recs - Glove on wooden post

If you’re going to grow MMJ to help with your ailment or condition, know the best practices so you can get the best results.

Like with any other plant, it’s important to know the growing habits of MMJ before you plant your first seeds. Unusually, medical marijuana can exhibit periods of bloom in total darkness, but it’s best to give it plenty of light, water and fertilizer.

Medical marijuana responds very well to fertilizer, especially during the vegetative period of growth. During this period, use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to stimulate rapid growth. When the plant flowers, use a fertilizer that’s high in phosphate and potassium to encourage the growth of large, lush buds. Unlike other plants, MMJ’s response to fertilizer is so strong that the more you give it, the bigger and lusher it will grow.

Following the flowering stage of the medical marijuana life cycle, it will sadly die, and the whole growing process should begin again.

Depending on where you live in California, there are different rules and regulations about where you can grow MMJ. These rules are decided by your local authority, so it’s important to get in touch with them before you plant your seeds.

Though outdoor cultivation is easier and less expensive, a lot of local authorities limit growing to indoors. Unfortunately there has been no confirmation as to why that is, but it’s assumed that it’s because some neighbors don’t like the sight – or smell – of the plant.

If your local authority allows it, grow your medical marijuana outside. If your plants are exposed to the sun all day long, and the dark all night long, they should experience rapid growth and start to bloom big, beautiful flowers in no time. To get the same effect through indoor growing, you’ll have to invest in a indoor grow light.

Take your time to choose what MMJ strain you want to grow. It’s best to cultivate a strain that will effectively treat the ailment outlined on your cannabis card. If you’re not sure of what strain will work best to treat your illness, check out our guide here.

Although home growing is now legal in California for medical marijuana card carriers, it’s still inexplicably illegal at a federal level in the United States. Thankfully, the federal government adopts a laissez faire attitude on this topic, so it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get in trouble with the feds for doing a little home cultivation.

If you feel like your green fingers are up for a gardening challenge, apply for your California MMJ card today and get digging!

When MMJ Can Work Better Than Traditional Medication

If you have a debilitating illness that affects your life on a daily basis, you’re probably going to try anything (like MMJ) that might help alleviate the symptoms. Conventional medicine generally follows the line of prescribing traditional medication. There are obvious reasons for this.

First, medics are trained in and knowledgeable about which medication helps with which ailment. They might not wish to deviate from the conventional path of offering tried and tested drugs to treat the long, and ever-growing, list of crippling diseases and illnesses. They might be afraid to ‘think outside the box’.

Another, more skeptical, reason is the drug companies and the amount of money that they generate. Who wants to be the one to rock that particular boat? So, let’s look at how owning a California medical marijuana card could be a better route for you to venture down.

Medical Marijuana Research and Support

MMJ Recs - Marijuana saying on plant

Many researchers and medical professionals support the use of MMJ for qualifying conditions and ailments.

It’s a fact that every drug has a side-effect. In some cases these side-effects are minimal and rare, but in other cases they can be pretty devastating and almost as horrible to deal with as the illness they’re designed to treat.

If you could avoid this, that would be a good thing right? If you’re currently on medication for chronic pain for example, the chances are you’re definitely suffering from some nasty side-effects. MMJ is far less harmful and also a less addictive way to treat persistent and chronic pain. A clinical trial was conducted in 2010 that found that just three puffs of cannabis a day can help reduce extreme pain.

Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly more accepted by the medical profession and by the general public, too. CBS News conducted a national poll in 2014 which found that 86% of Americans were in favor of doctors being allowed to prescribe cannabis for serious, debilitating illnesses. That’s a lot of people backing an alternative to traditional drugs.

It’s widely believed that medical marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties, can reduce swelling and can help with pain management. It’s not just the numbing effect that smoking or consuming cannabis gives you – it can actually help relieve your symptoms.

Dr Allan Frankel, one of the world’s leading authorities on dosed cannabis medicine, has been looking into the beneficial effects of medical marijuana since the 70’s. He is now convinced that it can play an important part in modern medicine. He thinks that many people are still against it because they’ve been indoctrinated to view cannabis as a dangerous and addictive drug. He thinks prescription drugs have a far greater potential for sparking addiction.

Dr Frankel stated, “In the US in 2010, there were four times more deaths among women from prescription painkiller overdose than for cocaine and heroin deaths combined.” This should make us very wary of prescription drugs and more willing to consider the alternatives.

Benefits of MMJ

If you’re in possession of a cannabis card then you have access to a lot of medical help and advice for your illness. You will be able to speak to doctors in confidence about your MMJ use and dosage. This can be done online or in person. These specialists will advise you about the best strain or strains for treating your condition and the amount you should take.

You’ll also have access to licensed dispensaries and specialized and protected medical marijuana sites. So you’ll be able to inform yourself on all the pros and cons of medicinal cannabis – something that’s not always so transparent with traditional medicine.

MMJ Recs - Prescription Dugs

Traditional medication, like pills, takes longer to go into effect than if you were to consume medical marijuana.

Another plus about MMJ is that – if you choose to smoke it – it gets into your system straight away and therefore, starts working immediately. Traditional medication, of course, takes longer to have an effect. Also, providing you get the right strain and the correct dosage, you won’t suffer any of those nasty medication side-effects with medical marijuana. You just get a general good feeling and a realization that your symptoms aren’t hitting you quite so badly.

Taking the correct dosage is important though; if you take too much it can cause paranoia and/or nausea, so be sure to get advice on this. If you prefer to ingest your medical marijuana, by experimenting you can determine how long it takes to start working and you can then decide the best time to consume it on a daily basis.

If you suffer from any of the 50 or more conditions that would qualify you for a cannabis card, it’s certainly worth looking into. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try, and plenty to gain. The best way to start is to apply for your medical marijuana card online.

The medical card evaluation is a simple, quick and private process. It will include a brief discussion with a specialist over the phone or via Skype, during which you’ll be able to ask any questions you like about usage, dosage, any side-effects and MMJ versus traditional medication.

Once approved, your California medical card will be mailed to you in a matter of days. You’ll then be at liberty to grow your own plants and/or to buy your recommended strain and dosage from recognized suppliers. Remember to always seek medical advice if you decide to come off any long-term prescribed medication.

Will California Always Be the Biggest MMJ State?

California is a trendsetter in many ways. It’s a center for entertainment and culture in the US, it’s full of the latest advances in technology and it has a massive start-up culture. Its weather is fantastic, the agricultural landscape is active and thriving and there exists the most liberal and exciting medical marijuana laws in the country.

California was the first state in the US to legislate for medical marijuana. Patients had been using marijuana for medical reasons illegally for a long time, and anecdotal evidence suggested that it provided excellent results for people suffering from a wide variety of different conditions.

History of Medical Marijuana Laws in California

MMJ Recs - holding small weed bud

Many medical marijuana professionals in California supported Proposition 215 because they had seen good results for patients with conditions like cancer, HIV and AIDS.

Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was passed by 55.6% in 1996, which allowed for the use of marijuana for medical reasons for numerous conditions. The Yes campaign was spearheaded by marijuana activists from San Francisco who had noticed that marijuana had helped many suffering from HIV/AIDS in the gay community.

As well as anecdotal evidence from users of medical marijuana, many medical professionals also publicly supported Proposition 215, stating that they had also seen good results for patients suffering from conditions like cancer, which was far less stigmatized than HIV/AIDS at the time.

After the passing of Proposition 215, California was the first state to have legislated for medical marijuana. This presented problems at a federal level, as marijuana was and still is, considered a controlled and illegal substance. California held strong on its right to legislate for treatment for its citizens and the program has run successfully since 1996, inspiring other states to bring in legislation for medical marijuana.

However, there have been some DEA raids on dispensaries and farms in California, and the Supreme Court has ruled twice that federal law can overrule state law in some instances.

Despite some opposition from federal sources, patients have been happily accessing medical marijuana in California since 1996, and it is clearly the capital of medical marijuana usage in the United States.

Accessing MMJ in California

MMJ Recs - Golden Gate Bridge sunset view

Accessing MMJ in California is much easier than in other states because there are many more medical cannabis dispensaries and open laws.

As well as its early adoption, it is also very easy to access MMJ in California. The first step is to organize a visit with a medical professional who can assert your need for medical marijuana. This does not have to be in person and you can actually do a consultation online. The medical professional will ask you about your condition and suggest ways to treat it with medical marijuana.

If you are deemed a suitable candidate, you will be sent a stamped, dated and signed letter, which you will be able to bring to any dispensary to avail of any form or strain of medical marijuana that you think will be able to help you.

Upon visiting your local dispensary, you will be able to speak to the people working there, who will be able to help point you in the right direction for the best treatments for you. There are many different forms of medical marijuana, as well as different strains. Strains contain varying levels of THC and PCP, which offer different types of relief – depending on your condition.

MMJ Recs - hemp plant growing

Choosing the right medical marijuana strain will offer different types of relief and effects, depending on your condition.

You can choose to buy joints to smoke, edibles like candies or baked goods, lotions and salves to rub into your skin, tinctures, vape liquids… amongst many other forms of MMJ. The only limit is your imagination!

Medical Marijuana Conditions in California

California is also notable with its liberal medical marijuana laws for not placing limits on the conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. In other states, such as New York, there is  a strictly regulated list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana, but this does not exist in California, which is great for citizens of the state.

Evidence suggests that there are a variety of conditions, both physical and mental, that can be successfully treated with medical marijuana. These include epilepsy, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease – amongst many others.

For many patients, the fear of being rejected for medical marijuana treatment can be a big deterrent for seeking treatment, as well as the stigma of using marijuana for medical reasons. Due to the proliferation of medical marijuana in California, as well as its place in the state for over twenty years, these issues do not seem to affect patients in the Golden State.

MMJ Recs - beautiful beach view at sunrise

California continues to not only be a beautiful state to live in, but also the top state for medical marijuana use.

California is rightly lauded as a mecca for patients who need medical marijuana and has served as an inspiration for many states that have followed in its steps. Many patients have actually relocated to California for the sole reason of seeking treatment that they cannot access in more conservative states.

Californians are lucky to be able to access this treatment that should be available to all citizens, but the battle continues on at other state levels and federal levels to provide medical marijuana to all residents of the United States.

6 Ways to Avoid Putting on Weight When Using Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has many benefits. Amongst them: pain relief, anxiety reduction, sleep promotion and appetite stimulation. But as is so often the case, too much of something good can become something bad.

Medical cannabis can be so effective at appetite stimulation that a patient can quite easily end up eating too much and gaining weight.

Eating and drinking can be extremely arousing and enjoyable to a person who is under the influence of MMJ – flavors are enhanced, textures are more pronounced and the sensation of fullness often seems to go AWOL. All of these factors make overeating a very easy trap for medical cannabis card users to fall into.

Luckily, you do not need to be a slave to this overeating tendency. You are not helplessly destined to become fat due to California medical marijuana card use. It is not written in stone that you must get rounder, softer and heavier as the years of medical marijuana use tick by. You can put lifestyle structures and habits in place that will make sure you stay on the right track, getting healthier, slimmer, fitter and stronger as time goes by.

Here is our list of 6 ways to keep the weight off and stay healthy while you use medical marijuana. Try a few of these out and you will be amazed at the positive results you get!

Lifting heavy weights is an excellent way to build discipline and keep off weight when using medical marijuana.

Lift Heavy Weights

Heavy lifting will burn fat and build muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat you may actually get heavier from weight-lifting. However, you will be heavier because you have more muscle on your body. This fundamental change in body composition (more muscle, less fat) will increase your health levels across the board – from cardiovascular fitness to structural integrity to bone strength.

Weight-lifting burns calories, so consistent weight training will lead to fat loss (provided you are not consuming so many calories that the effects are offset – it can be easy to reward yourself after a tough weights session with an eating binge – don’t do this if you want to lose weight).

So, lift heavy weights in order to build bigger, stronger muscles and keep fat levels down while using your medical marijuana card in California.

Do Cardio/HIIT

Doing cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling or swimming is great for your overall health – especially lung capacity, heart health, psychological well-being (nothing gives you an endorphin blast quite like finishing a tough cardio session) and fat loss. A regular schedule of cardio sessions (especially if paired with some consistent weight training) will keep your fat levels low (again, provided you don’t undo all the good work with massive overeating).

Long sessions of moderate, consistent cardio (30 – 60 minutes) are effective, but if you are stuck for time short blasts of intensely effortful cardio (HIIT – high intensity interval training) are also very effective. Three 60 second blasts of top effort on a stationary bike or sprints, broken up with a minute or two of soft strolling, will be enormously beneficial, not very time consuming and will make sure that you stay slim while medicating with your California MMJ card.

Take Up a Sport or Physical Pastime

If you are the type of person that just can’t stand formal exercise or gym environments, you can still get good exercise in by taking up a sport such as volleyball, soccer, or a physical pastime such as yoga, dancing or hiking. Regular participation in a sport or physical pastime will mean you are working hard, using your body and keeping your weight levels down while using a California medical marijuana card.

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the last few years. People have been using fasting as a way to control weight and increase general health since time immemorial, and now the science is catching up with the anecdotal evidence. A fasted period gives the body a chance to reset itself, often dipping into a state of ketosis (a beneficial state in which the body burns its fat stores for fuel because it’s run out of the carbohydrates you’ve been eating).

When you fast, after an initial spike in hunger, ghrelin (the hunger-inducing hormone) actually decreases, so not eating gets easier as time goes by. Fasting gives your body the chance to devour its own fat. Fasting also increase HGH (human growth hormone) levels.

One of the most popular fasting methods is 16/8, which means you fast for 16 hours and feed for 8 hours. Some people find it easier to fast in the morning (essentially skipping breakfast) and some find it easier to eat until early evening and then fast until breakfast. People report increased mental clarity during the fasted state, increases in exercise performance and decreased weight from fasting.

If your illness permits, give fasting a try; it may be a very valuable weapon in your battle against a bulging belly.

Cut Out Sugar and Simple Carbs

Unfortunately you can’t always have everything you want in life. Trade-offs always need to be made. Many of the most appealing and delicious foods and beverages are also the most fattening. Simple carbohydrates, of which sugar is the simplest, tend to be exceedingly fattening to most people. Sugar, in the form of cakes, biscuits, ice-cream, white bread, pasta and beer will put fat on your body.

There’s no way around it (unless perhaps a Michael Phelps-style training regime). For mere mortals (who are not Olympic athletes or genetic freaks) eating simple carbs will lead to weight gain, so to avoid putting on weight while using MMJ… lay off the sugar.

Being extra cautious and responsible while shopping for food is a wise way to make sure you don’t put on the pounds when using medical marijuana.

Shop for Groceries Wisely

Last but not least, shop wisely. Often when you are under the influence of cannabis your ability to be disciplined and “just say no” to fattening foods and drinks is severely compromised. To offset this don’t shop while high and also try not to have unhealthy foods in your house. This means that when you are at your least disciplined you will not be able to make the kinds of food choices that would make you fat.

You may regret not buying those Oreos when you are rummaging through your cupboards hungrily late at night and under the influence, but you will thank yourself in the morning!

Visiting a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in California: All You Need to Know

Although medical marijuana cards have been in use in California for what seems like forever, it can still be intimidating as a new MMJ card holder to step into a dispensary for the first time. Even the most confident cannabis card carriers can find themselves to be a little nervous at the prospect of their first dispensary trip.

So what exactly does a new MMJ card holder need to know before they take their first steps into this bright new world? Let us enlighten you!

There are hundreds – if not thousands – of medical marijuana dispensaries in California, so choose your dispensary wisely. The quality of dispensaries differ greatly with significant disparities on price, selection and quality – depending on what dispensary you go to.

Do your homework and check out what dispensaries are available before you make the journey. You can find a list of all of California’s medical marijuana dispensaries here.

Choose Your MMJ Dispensary Wisely

Dispensaries vary in function across California, with some choosing to focus on medical marijuana, some on recreational use and most focusing on a mixture of the two. Make sure to go to a medical marijuana dispensary or a hybrid dispensary, as staff in the recreational dispensary may not be trained to give you correct medical advice on suitable products.

If you elect to go to a hybrid medical recreational dispensary there will usually be two entrances: one labeled ‘medical entrance’ and the other labeled ‘recreational entrance’. Make sure that as a medical marijuana card holder you go through the medical entrance.

A Warm Welcome

When you get into the dispensary you’ll see a staff member seated behind a glass window in a waiting room. This is the person who you’ll show your medical marijuana card to. They’ll quickly appraise the card, make sure you’re the person who the MMJ card has been registered to, and then will grant you access to the main part of the dispensary where you’ll purchase your medical marijuana products.

Don’t forget to bring your MMJ card to the medical marijuana facility or you may just be window shopping!

It is absolutely imperative that you bring your California medical marijuana card with you when you visit the dispensary. Without your MMJ card, you will not be allowed access to the medical part of the dispensary and will not be allowed to purchase medical marijuana products.

While You Wait

Sometimes, you may be allowed immediate access to the main part of the dispensary, but know it is pretty common to have a short waiting period before you’re allowed in. This should last no more than 10-20 minutes. The purpose of this waiting time is to allow each patient ample time with the ‘budtender’, who will advise them on the best products to buy to treat their ailment.

While you wait, it’s a good idea to do a little research into exactly what you want to buy at the dispensary (if you haven’t already done this at home). Sure, browsing the entirety of the dispensary can be interesting but trust us, the dispensary’s budtender will seriously appreciate it if you’re au fait with the product selection before you arrive.

Nowadays, a lot of California dispensaries have online menus, so these are worth checking out in advance of your trip.

Knowing is Half the Battle

Each case in a California MMJ dispensary will be well labeled, but unless you’re clued in as to what strain you’re looking for, these labels will look like gibberish (we’re looking at you Golden Goat!). Know the difference between your indicas and your sativas before you get to the dispensary or know exactly what strain of MMJ you’re looking for. If you’re not sure what strain would be best to treat your ailment, check out our handy guide here.

The great thing about a medical marijuana dispensary is that it has well-trained staff who can help answer any questions or concerns.

Knowing what you want doesn’t mean just knowing what strains you want – you should also know through what method you want to consume. Are you looking for some tasty edibles? Some aromatic topicals? Or just a few vape cartridge refills? By knowing exactly what you’re looking for in advance of your visit, your dispensary experience will be as seamless as possible.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

If you’re not sure exactly what you’re after make sure to ask the budtender for their advice. These people are friendly trained professionals and it’s their job to make your dispensary experience as comfortable as possible. They’ll know what strains or products are best suited for your needs and will deliver their advice with a smile to put you at ease. At a dispensary there is no such thing as a stupid question so ask as many as you need to!

One Last Reminder

As well as remembering to bring your medical marijuana card with you for your trip to the dispensary, remember to bring cash with you, too. Though most dispensaries are starting to become more card-friendly, a lot of them are still strictly cash only establishments. Avoid the stress of being caught penniless by making sure you have enough cash to make your MMJ purchases that day.

Remember, every dispensary is different and it may take you a while to find the one that’s a good fit for you. Shop around your locality and choose your dispensary wisely, basing your decision on which one makes you the most comfortable.

Which Ailments Are Covered Under New York Medical Marijuana Laws?

If you’ve read anything about medical marijuana, it’s likely that you’re aware of the very forgiving laws in California and are open to trying different strains and methods to treat your illness or condition. From anxiety, depression, eating disorders and multiple sclerosis, to cancer and Parkinson’s disease, medical marijuana can help alleviate many symptoms of different illnesses or conditions.

However, not all states have the same laws and New York has a particularly strict medical marijuana program that only covers certain illnesses and ailments.

Cancer

MMJ Recs - Hospital Room with Beds

Although some think that using medical marijuana for cancer symptoms shouldn’t be allowed, many have found that MMJ has helped alleviate the pain associated with cancer.

Cancer can be defined as a condition that is typified by abnormal cell growth. It can occur at any site on the body and means that tumors form due to cells reproducing too quickly. As a result of these tumors, other symptoms can occur including pain, bleeding, coughing, visible lumps and blood in urine or stool, depending on the site of the cancer. It can be easily treated through surgery or chemotherapy or can be a terminal illness – depending on the cancer’s location and the time of diagnosis.

HIV/AIDS

HIV is a virus that attacks the human immune system, destroying white blood cells and thus the body’s ability to fight illness. AIDS is the associated syndrome that occurs when HIV progresses into obvious illness. Symptoms of AIDS include pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma  (a very rare form of skin cancer), sweating and diarrhea. HIV is transmitted through blood and sexual fluids and is most commonly passed on through sexual intercourse, sharing of contaminated needles for intravenous drug use and from mother to baby in utero.

ALS

MMJ Recs - Hospice Worker with Patient in Wheelchair

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a severely debilitating disease that causes people to lose all muscle function.

ALS is also known as motor neurone disease, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and it affects neurones that control muscles in the body. It means that those affected by this condition slowly lose control of all muscle function and become unable to walk, speak, feed themselves or control bodily functions. It is a slow-killing disease and most sufferers die from losing the ability to breathe while sleeping.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that controls movement in the body. It is characterized by an unstable posture, muscle shaking and rigid limbs. It is slow-progressing and really impacts the lives of those affected, as it becomes impossible to take care of oneself without assistance due to incessant muscle shaking and posture limitations.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease that affects the coverings of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It can present a variety of differing symptoms depending on the type of MS present, but symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, general pain, diarrhea and muscle spasms. While it is not typically defined as a terminal illness, it does have the potential to limit the life expectancy of those who are diagnosed with it.

Damage to the Nervous Tissue of the Spinal Cord with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity

Intractable spasticity is a muscle control disorder that is usually cause by trauma to the brain or spinal cord. It is most common in those who have suffered an accident such as a car collision, fall or abuse. It is defined by spasms, deformities and generalized muscle and bone pain.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterised by seizures. The severity and frequency of the seizures varies from person to person and is also dependent on the type of epilepsy diagnosed. It can be present from birth or can be brought on by brain injuries, brain tumors or strokes. Epilepsy diagnosed in childhood can sometimes disappear with the onset of puberty.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of autoimmune illnesses that involve the ulceration or inflammation of the bowel and lower intenstine. The most common types of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions are often very painful and can limit the sufferer’s ability to live an independent life due to the need to be close to a toilet.

Neuropathy

Neuropathy is nerve damage that an affect any part of the body. Its cause can be obvious or totally unknown and symptoms include tingling, numbness, tremors and extreme pain.

Chronic Pain as Defined by 10 NYCRR §1004.2(a)(8)(xi)

The NYC MMJ bill defines chronic pain as “any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability; where the patient has contraindications, has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options; and where there is documented medical evidence of such pain having lasted three months or more beyond onset, or the practitioner reasonably anticipates such pain to last three months or more beyond onset.”

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is a genetically inherited illness that results in the destruction of brain cells. Symptoms usually begin in late thirties or early forties and include random muscle jerks, subtle changes in personality and random eye movements. Sufferers then degenerate further and sleep and muscle control are affected. Death most commonly occurs within twenty years of diagnosis from pneumonia, heart disease or suicide.

MMJ Recs - Close Up Cannabis Plant

Medical marijuana is helpful from a wide range of symptoms, from something serious, like cancer, to something more common, like nausea.

As well as one of the conditions above, you need to be suffering from one of the following associated symptoms or conditions as a result of your illness:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscles spasms 

Obviously, it is far more complex a process to get an MMJ card in New York than in other states. The best thing to do is to speak to your primary care physician if you suffer from one of the above conditions and to get their advice on if this is a good route of treatment for you to pursue.

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.

Is It Safe to Treat My Child with Medical Marijuana?

Ever since the dawn of the medical marijuana card, there has been rife debate over whether children should be allowed to be entered into the MMJ card scheme. The issue has long been a touchy subject, with arguments on both sides insistent that they’re morally right.

Not helping the pro-MMJ card for kids side is detrimental media portrayals of medical marijuana and those who benefit from it – especially parents. In many parts of America, marijuana is still viewed as a recreational drug whose only use is to get its users high. Unfortunately, this negative press means that the issue of children and medical marijuana is rarely explored rationally.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the vast majority of the MMJ card naysayers are people who don’t have very sick children themselves. Having been untouched by the tragedy of having a helplessly ill child, the ‘no’ debaters’ opinions on the topic often lack validity, clarity and worst of all, empathy.

Although many Americans believe allowing children to have medical marijuana cards is not right, desperate parents all over the country feel like they have nowhere else to turn after pharmaceuticals fail them time and time again. What can start as a desperate last hope for relief, can become a gentle, effective treatment plan that sees their little ones get their lives back.

The Effect Use of MMJ on Children

Medical marijuana is currently being used to treat a number of life limiting conditions in children like cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and other neuromuscular diseases.

It’s not surprising that a majority of the MMJ card naysayers are those who have not tried everything else imaginable to help their sick child.

One thing that the kiddy MMJ card naysayers are right about is that like all other children, cannabis card carrying kids should not be smoking the plant. For this reason, most parents treat their children with medical marijuana tinctures. A tincture is an concentrated form of MMJ that is made by mixing the beneficial elements of the plant in an alcohol based solution.

Administering MMJ to your child via a tincture is really easy and can be done simply and discreetly whenever your child needs to consume. The tincture essentially looks like an eyedropper and you use it by dropping the solution directly into your child’s mouth, or into their food. If your child is picky about taste, you can opt instead to drop it onto their skin and rub it in.

A common argument for the banning of children having medical marijuana cards is the worry that by using MMJ, children are exposed to the psychoactive parts of the plant. But what if a non-psychoactive strain could be developed? Well that’s exactly what some American scientists have done.

Charlotte Figi’s Medical Marijuana Story

The Charlotte’s Web strain – named after Charlotte Figi, a 5-year-old Colorado girl who suffers from Dravet’s syndrome – is a strictly medicinal form of MMJ that has been specially bred to not contain THC, a.k.a. the psychoactive element of the cannabis plant. Although the strain is still in its infancy, scientists are optimistic that it could be used to effectively – and gently – treat seizures in young children.

When Charlotte herself began treatment with this new wonder strain, she was initially given very low, non-psychoactive doses. In the week that followed her initial treatment, she went a full seven days without a seizure, down from the 300 that she had the previous week. Eight months later, she saw a 99% seizure reduction.

With this trial in mind, it’s clear to see how medical marijuana can be positively life-changing for certain children. With a medical marijuana card, they can live fuller, happier lives, not weighed down by the negative symptoms of their ailments.

Choose the Type of MMJ Wisely When It Comes to Kids

However, we must also take away from this trial that when it comes to treating a child with medical marijuana, choosing the right strain is key. There are plenty of other child-friendly strains on the market if you can’t get your hands on Charlotte’s Web. Strains like Harlequin and AC/DC are just as effective at treating various ailments and come with little to no psychoactive effects, thanks to the fact that they are high in CBD and low in THC.

If you’re considering using MMJ on your child, you must consult with your child’s doctor before embarking on a medical marijuana treatment plan.

It’s important to remember that as is the same case with adults, every child will not respond to medical marijuana treatment the same way. Effectiveness of the treatment will vary among different children, with some of them simply not being compatible with the drug. It’s vitally important that you consult with your child’s doctor before they embark on a medical marijuana treatment plan.

Whether you are for or against the use of medical marijuana to treat sick children, you can’t deny the mountains of evidence piling up to suggest that MMJ is an effective, kind treatment for sick children. Children across the country are seeing the very real results of being on a medical marijuana treatment plan, with many of them getting full control of their life debilitating illnesses.

If you feel like your child could benefit from having their own medical marijuana card, get in touch with us today and we’ll guide you through this life changing process.

3 Musicians Who Love Medical Cannabis

For better or worse, drugs have always been synonymous with the music industry. Some of the biggest acts in the world have confessed to being ‘inspired’ by various narcotics; The Beatles were on them, Pink Floyd were on them, Keith Richards is still on them. Out of all the drugs out there however, marijuana reigns supreme; it features all over the musical spectrum, from rap to psychedelic prog rock, and most musicians aren’t shy about professing their love for it. Some go the extra step, and become full on advocates for legalization; a select few are heavy proponents of medical marijuana, and have been furthering the MMJ cause in the public eye.

This kind of mainstream support for medical marijuana has certainly helped the cause, with some performers relentlessly campaigning for the drug over many years. The recent spate of MMJ legalization (29 states to date have legalized the medicine) is certainly a victory for advocates, and the trend looks set to continue over the coming months and years. Some musicians are advocates of marijuana in general – some specifically MMJ – and some even view the popularity of the drug as a premium business opportunity, lending their name to dispensaries and stains.

With all this celebrity endorsement in mind, we’re taking a look at three prominent musicians who’ve publicly endorsed or supported MMJ in the past, some of whom remain heavily involved in marijuana advocacy across the U.S. in 2017.

Melissa Etheridge

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American rock star Melissa Etheridge has been a fan of medical marijuana since she claims it helped her recover from breast cancer.

Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge is one of the most outspoken proponents of MMJ, especially after she underwent a traumatic experience with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2004, Etheridge managed to beat the disease and is now completely cancer-free; she ascribes her recovery to her use of medical marijuana. She has since claimed that she believes everyone who uses marijuana ‘is doing so medicinally, whether they consider it so or not’.

Last year, Etheridge put her money where her mouth is and set up her own company, Etheridge Farms, which will soon be providing patients in California with her own homegrown product. Etheridge was also highly vocal about New York’s lackluster efforts to legalize MMJ, and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to pass the Compassionate Care Act for patients across the state, which he finally did in 2014.

Despite the bill going through, New York legalized an extremely conservative MMJ program, which has undergone heavy criticism since its introduction three years ago. So it looks like Melissa still has a bit more work to do on the east coast; hopefully she might turn her advocacy attention back there sometime soon!

The Game

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The rapper known as The Game is a proponent of MMJ; he created his own strain earlier in 2016 for use in traditional cigarettes and drinks.

A recent newcomer to the MMJ scene is rapper The Game, who sees the legalization and recent acceptance of the medicine as a business investment. While he’s not the first star to involve himself in the marijuana business, he’s doing it in an innovative way; in August last year he became an official partner in The Reserve, an MMJ dispensary which operates out of Santa Ana, California. The Reserve is a legally licensed dispensary, which makes The Game the first celebrity to partner with an outlet of this kind.

He stated that he ‘finally has a platform to legally cultivate and sell a plant that saves lives and is changing our world in a positive way’. The rapper also created his own strain earlier in 2016 for use in traditional cigarettes and drinks, and is planning on creating a few more strains for his new partnership with The Reserve.

The Game isn’t the only hip hop star to dabble in marijuana creation; fellow rappers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have both invested in marijuana and developed their own unique brand of the herb, which is used medicinally and recreationally in legalized states.

Sting

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English rocker Sting has been an avid fan of medical cannabis use, especially because he believes it helps those with qualifying illnesses and conditions that need it for their health.

English rocker Sting has been a vocal proponent of ending America’s ‘War on Drugs’ for many years. In 2010, he came out with a strongly-worded article in the Huffington Post where he allied himself with the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization which champions the smart legalization of some drugs and condemns the failures and titanic costs of the ‘War on Drugs’. In the article, Sting explicitly mentions medical marijuana, and pointed out that those who are suffering from a variety of illnesses that could be effectively treated or eased by marijuana do not have access to it.

Obviously a lot has changed in the seven years since Sting wrote the article, and many across America can now legally access MMJ, but his point still stands; if it is an effective treatment for specific conditions, shouldn’t everyone who’s suffering be able to avail of it if they choose?

So it’s clear to see that music and marijuana remain steadfastly aligned in 2017. Hopefully we will see more and more musicians supporting the cause of MMJ as the medicine is embraced in states across the country.

3 MMJ Policies New York Needs to Change to Take on California

There has always been a rivalry between the east coast and the west; whether it’s sport, politics or hip hop, New Yorkers are always determined to out battle Californians. In the arena of medical marijuana however, as it currently stands, there is one clear winner.

MMJ was legalized in California way back in the Compassionate Use Act of 1996; in this way, the Golden State was way ahead of the other 49 on the medical marijuana front. Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada followed Cali’s lead in 1998, and over the last twenty odd years, MMJ has been steadily legalized in 29 different states in the U.S.

One of the most recent states to take up the cause was, surprisingly, New York. The government in Albany only passed the required act in July 2014, following a lengthy debate in the state senate. This made them the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize MMJ (a staggering statistic when you consider New York’s traditional liberal leanings).

Even more startling was the restrictiveness of the bill when it was finally unveiled to the NY public; despite passing with a landslide, it was in fact one of the most conservative in the whole country.

Cuomo has long since taken a staunch anti-marijuana position, and the Republicans in the Senate got a little weak in the knees at the prospect of MMJ legalization escalating rapidly to recreational legalization. The result was a bill that failed to cater to the basic needs of most patients across the state.

While the signs are good that this restrictiveness is set to change due to continued pressure and advocacy from support groups, it doesn’t change the fact that it puts New York light years behind California when it comes to MMJ law.

With that in mind, here are three major policies from Cuomo’s bill that need to change if New York wants to draw even or surpass the Golden State.

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Since smoking is the most effective way to consume MMJ, New York needs to legalize smoking medical marijuana to be as forward-thinking as California.

1. Introduce Smoking

As patients in California know, smoking marijuana is the most effective form of consuming the drug, and the most potent method of treatment for  a myriad of conditions that MMJ can ease. Bizarrely, this was the one form of consumption that was left out of Cuomo’s bill – presumably because it is the form most associated with recreational use.

In a effort to distance himself from the thorny issue of recreational legalization, Cuomo insisted on a smoking ban. New York patients can instead consume the drug in the form of extracts, tinctures, oils and edibles.

Meanwhile, over on the west coast, smoking is far and away the most common form of consumption for patients. By limiting the use of MMJ, New York established itself as one of the most restrictive medical marijuana states in the country. This needs to change and change fast if they’re hoping to consider themselves a forward-thinking, progressive home for MMJ.

2. Allow More Registered Organizations

Advocates for MMJ recently scored a big win when they got the qualifying treatment ‘chronic pain’ added to the New York bill. This crucial clause, which opens up the benefits of MMJ to a whole range of patients, was absent from the initial proposal.

The trouble is, the 2014 bill only contains provision for five Registered Organizations (ROs), which the state licenses to produce and distribute medical marijuana. Each RO can only operate a maximum of four dispensaries each, leaving a total of twenty dispensaries serving the entire state of New York.

With more patients signing up thanks to the ‘chronic pain’ addition, this startlingly limited number of dispensaries simply won’t be enough to cover all patients in the state. In stark contrast, California has no limit on the amount of dispensaries; New York should certainly look to the west coast for inspiration on this one.

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If New York really wants to help MMJ patients feel better, then the state needs to add more medical marijuana facilities.

3. Take the Power Away From the Governor

Under the Compassionate Care Act of 2014, Governor Cuomo and by extension the senate, have the power to quash medical marijuana if they feel it’s being abused. With a Republican-leaning politician like Cuomo, this could happen at anytime, leaving MMJ patients in New York with a big old sword of Damocles hanging over them.

If it was voted in fairly, then the law belongs to the people; the power to take it away shouldn’t be in the hands of one man. Instead of this regressive clause, both Republicans and Democrats should look to compromise and keep in mind the best interests of the people.

Since last November, when California followed Colorado’s lead and legalized recreational marijuana, the debate has been all about the legality of marijuana in general; having New York all paranoid about medical marijuana, which has been embraced by 29 states and proven to be effective for sufferers of a whole range of conditions, seems extremely regressive and archaic.

MMJ Edibles: So Much More Than Just Brownies

If you’re in possession of a cannabis card, then you’re hopefully aware of some of the benefits it entitles you to. One of these benefits is that, in most cases, you’re allowed to smoke medical cannabis wherever regular smoking is acceptable. While this is good news (if that’s your preferred method of imbibing MMJ), a lot of folk prefer not to smoke it, and instead they choose to consume MMJ edibles.

Medical marijuana can and is used in lots of recipes these days: sweet, savory, starters, soups, main courses …. you name it. They are all known as MMJ edibles. If you choose to consume medical marijuana via food then of course, unlike smoking, you can do it anywhere. No one can tell you that you’re not allowed to eat your special brownie or piece of cake in a confined space where you might cause offense to ‘non-brownie’ eaters!

Brownies Aren’t the Only Way to Consume Medical Marijuana

Most people think that MMJ brownies are the only snack available to them. While they are very popular (and ever so tasty), brownies are by no means the only way of consuming cannabis. These days, the more portable edibles come in many different forms, including cookies, cake, chocolate bars and sweets. You can buy them from any online licensed sites or from your local cannabis clinics and dispensaries, providing you have a medical marijuana card.

MMJ edibles are god to keep in the house for when you need them, or just to carry around with you to have wherever and whenever you want. Another bonus is that it’s a much more discreet way of getting your hit than smoking medical marijuana (if this is a concern to you).

What You Should Know About Medical Marijuana Edibles

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Even though it takes longer to get MMJ into your system when you eat it, you still get an awesome feeling that relaxes your entire body.

Remember that it will take longer to get the MMJ into your system via food – generally between 30 minutes to an hour – but once its’ there, it does stay longer. Depending on the amount you take, the effect can last between 4 and 12 hours. Also, you don’t need such a high dosage in food as you do for smoking the stuff.

If you’re new to edibles, make sure you know how much you’re taking. State laws require that packaging displays the amount of THC content. 10 milligrams of THC counts as one serving – but if you’re of small stature or a slight build, this might be too much. Start off with 5 milligrams and see how you go.

Remember to wait for the effects to kick in. Many people who consume rather than smoke cannabis report that it gives a gentler and more relaxing high. It’s been described as a complete body high rather than just a head high.

All About MMJ Edibles

Some of the awesome edibles available to you these days include pineapple delight bites, sea salt caramel bon bons, glazed pecans, truffles and marshmallows. Check them out online or in your local dispensary! There are many more to choose from so you can have fun finding your favorite.

If you’re into baking, why not source a few simple recipes to have under your belt? As a cannabis card holder, one of the benefits that you may not be aware of is that you’re allowed to grow up to 100 square feet of your own marijuana plants.

The introduction of Proposition 64, which comes into effect next year legalizing the use of marijuana in California for recreational purposes, means that anyone will be allowed to grow up to 6 plants in their own home. But imagine how many more you can grow in 100 square feet! And once you grow it, you can choose to smoke it and/or use it in all sorts of edible ways.

If you decide to make your own edibles, it’s important to remember that your medical marijuana has to be heated with some form of fat to make canna oil or cannabutter. You can’t just use raw cannabis in your recipes, as our digestive system is not up to processing the THC.

When cannabis is cooked, the THC is released and binds together with the fat, thereby making it processable and thus acceptable by your body. You can make your own cannabutter of canna oil, or you can purchase it from a registered dispensary using your California medical card.

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Medical marijuana root beer and tea are just two options for consuming cannabis in liquid form.

MMJ Edibles are not just things you eat – you can have a liquid edible, too! This refers to any drink that has been infused with cannabinoids (an invention that’s becoming increasingly popular in California). There’s cannabis tea of course, but did you know that there’s a cannabis root beer available that will knock your socks off in more ways than one. Check it out!

If you’re not yet in possession of a cannabis card and would like to find out more about the process, it’s easy to get all the details and to apply for your medical marijuana card online. Check out here how to do it. If you do qualify for a California marijuana card, it will be mailed to you, and you can then immediately start reaping the rewards. This of course, may include buying an array of tasty MMJ edibles or trying out your very own cannabis recipes.

What Rules Do I Need to Know When Buying Medical Marijuana in California?

In 2016, California passed Proposition 64, or The Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This act legalized owning small quantities of legal weed, but that doesn’t mean you can rush right out and buy it. The legalization doesn’t take place until 2018, so unless you have a California medical marijuana card, it’s still illegal for you to buy weed, but oddly enough, not to possess it.

Luckily, getting your hands on that card is a lot easier than you might think, and once you have it, you’ll be able to legally buy marijuana at dispensaries across the great state of California. Here’s everything you need to know about legally buying medical marijuana in California.

Thanks to the internet and more medical professionals offering their services, you can now get an MMJ card online.

How Do I Get a California MMJ Card?

California was the first state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and the practice dates back to 1975. A lot has changed since then, and getting your hands on a medical marijuana card is a lot easier than you think.

What you need to get a medical weed card is essentially a note from a doctor. Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, this doctor’s letter isn’t a prescription, but rather a recommendation. Marijuana is used to treat literally thousands of ailments, so finding one that can help treat you is simple.

The best news is that you can now even get this all done online, saving you the time and hassle of going through the process of visiting a specialized weed doctor! Technically, you don’t need the card, and all you need is a letter given to you by your weed doctor. But the card fits right in your wallet, so it’s worth getting and it saves you the hassle of carrying around the letter (which would inevitably become damaged). With this card, you’ll be able to legally buy weed at dispensaries all across California.

What Are the Restrictions to Buying Cannabis with a Medical Weed Card? 

In California, you need to be 18 years old and own a medical marijuana card to legally buy weed. That is, unless you have a registered carer who is legally able to buy it for you. Without a medical marijuana card, you’ll need to be 21 years of age when you’ll be able to legally buy weed.

It’s also important to remember that you need to be an official resident of California to get your medical marijuana card. You’ll need either a birth certificate or a California ID, with proof of residency. Without this, you won’t be able to legally buy weed in California.

Where Can I Legally Buy MMJ in California?

Instead of feeling weird or scared to buy medical marijuana in a secret place, you can now purchase it at dispensaries across the state of California.

Gone are the days when you’d have to resort to finding shady dealers on street corners, never knowing what kind of weed you were going to get. You can now legally buy weed with your cannabis card at thousands of dispensaries across California.

A simple Google search will tell you where the closest dispensary to you is. You can even read reviews about them online to make up your mind if there are a couple in your location.

How Much Medical Marijuana in California Can I Legally Buy?

Without a medical marijuana card, you’ll only be allowed to carry one ounce of marijuana on yourself, or purchase it from a dispensary when it becomes legal. With a weed card, you’re entitled to have 8 ounces of marijuana on you at any time and can buy weed from your local dispensary in quantities up to 8 ounces.

How Many Marijuana Plants in California Can I Have with an MMJ Card?

If you are growing medical marijuana in California, the best place to do it is in your back yard.

You can grow 6 marijuana plants with your registered cannabis card. Without a card, you’ll only be able to grow one plant. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean you can start growing weed in your front lawn. All weed plants will need to be out of public sight.

We’d recommend growing them in your back yard, and if you don’t have the option of doing this, then use a tarp to hide them from the general public. As an extra bonus, it will also stop them from being stolen.

The great thing about California is that it’s one of the most fertile places on earth. You won’t need special equipment or expensive lights to get started. Literally, just a couple seeds, soil and regular watering and you’ll have some beautiful marijuana plants in no time!

Where Can I Legally Consume My Medical Marijuana in California?

If you’re a California native, you’ll be used to smelling faint aromas of marijuana in public spaces. This is just part of our culture. However, this is technically illegal, and with or without a medical marijuana card you’re only supposed to be able to smoke weed in your own private residence. 

While state authorities don’t enforce this with an iron fist, we recommend being safe rather than sorry when it comes to your public consumption. While there won’t be prison time, there may be some pretty sizable fines.

Just use your own judgment and don’t do anything that puts you or any members of the public in danger. Especially don’t smoke near children – this is where fines can quickly become far more severe and possibly even lead to jail time!

5 Unusual Ways to Consume Medical Marijuana

Now, more than ever, MMJ card holders have so many choices when it comes to how they can consume their medical marijuana. While there are some MMJ purists who stick to smoking or vaporizers, medical marijuana card holders are by no means restricted to these more traditional consumption methods.

Once you have your MMJ card, the world is your oyster as to how you can consume your cannabis. Want to brew it up in a tea? Go for it! Feel like topicals might be more your style? Slather up!

From the weird to the wonderful and everything in between, here are our picks for 5 unusual ways to consume medical marijuana.

Tea

People have been experimenting with tea for thousands of years, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that more and more people are starting to drink medical marijuana-infused tea. Tea – like medical marijuana – is naturally reparative and soothing, so the combination of these two super ‘foods’ is a match made in MMJ heaven.

On its own, tea is full of hard-working antioxidants, theanine and phytochemicals, making it a great body booster in and of itself. As well as that, drinking a warm cup of calming tea has been proven to improve concentration, lower stress levels and even tackle bouts of depression.

Making medical marijuana-infused tea is seriously easy and can be done using the normal method – check out our how-to guide here – or using tinctures – more on those next!

Tinctures

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Tinctures are a great way to effectively administer medical marijuana – and they’re fun to use!

Back in the day, tinctures used to be one of the most popular ways to consume medical marijuana. Nowadays, popularity has dropped off in favor of other methods, but that doesn’t make using tinctures any less effective.

So what exactly is a tincture? Put simply, a tincture is a concentrated form of MMJ that is made by mixing it with an alcohol solution. This concentrated solution is a great way to consume as you can easily regulate dosage. A tincture is stored in a glass or plastic bottle with a dropper implement within the lid. Tinctures are delightfully discreet when it comes to consuming in public thanks to this design – they just look like a regular ‘ol eye dropper.

A tincture is used by dropping the alcohol solution into your food or drink or under your tongue. Those who don’t want to consume orally can apply it directly to their skin. From here the MMJ solution is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Tinctures are extremely efficient in delivering MMJ goodness, as they contain all 80 of the essential cannabinoids in the medical marijuana plant. Tinctures are also perfect for children with MMJ cards, as they can be administered easily and users don’t experience the psychoactive effects that can come with other methods of consumption.

Topicals

Like tinctures, topicals are another great way to consume medical marijuana without experiencing the psychoactive effects of the plants. As topicals are applied directly to the skin, they don’t come with a head high that can lead to bouts of anxiety or paranoia.

Topicals come in tons of different varieties, most of which you’ll be able to find at your local dispensary. Popular kinds of topicals include balms, creams and lotions.

While topicals may not be great for treating ailments like anxiety or depression, they are really effective at treating chronic pain and inflammation when applied to the ailing area. Topicals also act as an antibacterial agent – meaning they’re great for speeding up the healing process of cuts and scratches.

Suppositories

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Suppositories are one of the most effective ways to reap the benefits of medical marijuana.

While consuming medical marijuana via a suppository may not be one of the most popular methods of consumption, you better believe it’s one of the most effective ones! When you ingest MMJ orally, you lose between 5-10% of the plant’s effectiveness as it’s digested by the gastrointestinal tract.

By consuming medical marijuana in suppository form, you’re bypassing the gastrointestinal tract entirely, meaning nothing is being wastefully digested and you benefit from every ounce of goodness in your MMJ.

The active components of the medical marijuana plant – e.g. the CBD, THC and cannabinoids – are absorbed directly into the bloodstream in a much higher concentration than they would be if they were ingested orally. MMJ suppositories take about an hour to take effect and the effects last up to an impressive 10 hours.

If you’re using your MMJ card to treat any gastrointestinal ailments, using suppositories is highly recommended, as they won’t upset your illness by passing through your digestive tract.

Patches

Patches – or transdermal patches – are adhesive patches laced with medical marijuana that are affixed to the skin. Similar to nicotine patches, medical marijuana patches release small amounts of MMJ onto the skin – and into the bloodstream – throughout the day of wear.

In contrast to topicals or tinctures, patches penetrate all 7 layers of epidermal skin delivering systematic – instead of localized – relief. The handy thing about using MMJ patches is that after you put one on in the morning, you don’t have to remember to keep dosing throughout the day – great for forgetful MMJ card carriers! Patches are non-psychoactive and can be personalized to suit your own dosing preferences.

Choosing the right method of consumption for you is a journey that takes time. It’s important to remember that there is no one umbrella method that suits every MMJ card holder – you’ll have to do a bit of trial and error before you figure out what’s right for you. But when you’ll do, you’ll be on cloud nine.

Is Medical Marijuana Only for the Elderly?

In recent years, medical marijuana has been through a transformation of sorts. It’s gone from being a taboo and negative subject to becoming more widely accepted, and even preferred, by some as an alternative to modern conventional medicine. There are various proven benefits as well as downsides to taking medical marijuana, so it’s always best to do some research and speak to a medical professional before considering this form of medication.

In the past marijuana, which is also known as weed or cannabis, was illegal and viewed as a recreational drug. Today, it is still illegal in most countries, but in the US, it has become legal for medicinal use in 29 states, including California and New York.

Some of the benefits seen after the use of this unique plant include easing epileptic seizures, chronic pain and inflammation, in addition to treating anxiety and depression. If it’s so useful then how come everybody with these ailments don’t use it?

Why Isn’t MMJ Widely Accepted?

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Although medical marijuana is widely accepted in many US states, there is still a stigma attached to it.

Firstly, it is still slowly but surely becoming accepted as a safe alternative to conventional pharmaceutical drugs, but there is still doubt among many as to the efficacy and ability to treat certain diseases. Furthermore, a lot of scientific research is still to be done, and it may not be widely available or affordable for those that do wish to use cannabis to help with their illnesses.

Because of the stigma still attached to cannabis, many people who still consider it a drug question its suitability, and the thought of allowing it for adults – never mind for children or teenagers, even if it is in the form of medicine – would seem unacceptable. There has been proof however, that it helps with glaucoma, an eye disease which creates pressure on the eyeball, and this normally affects people over the age of 40.

It also slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s, a mental disease that normally occurs in middle or old age, and it is said to help arthritis and insomnia. It is even known to slow down the growth of cancer cells.

But does this mean that medical marijuana can only benefit the elderly?

Breaking the Myth That Medical Marijuana is Only for the Elderly

Because there are various methods to take medical marijuana, like in the form of tinctures, smoking, vaporizing or edibles, it is actually suitable for young people and children, as well as the elderly.

For example, there have been recent reports of parents giving cannabidiol – a cannabis oil extract to their children to help treat epilepsy and even cancer. This form of medical marijuana means that none of the plant has to be smoked – rather, a few drops of oil are put in the mouth or even mixed with food and consumed.

Also, there is no THC, meaning no ‘high’ or psychoactive effects that occur, therefore people can get on with their day to day lives without having to worry about not being clear-headed.

Moreover, medical marijuana has also been reported to provide therapeutic benefits to children with autism, which currently affects more than 400,000 children in the US and is an increasing developmental disorder. Because of the different ways available to take medical marijuana, it can actually be very safe and a good alternative option to help young people.

Tinctures and edibles are normally the ideal way for children, as it is easy to control the dosage, the taste is mild and it can provide long-lasting relief. Another reason medical cannabis may seem an attractive option to parents is the fact that it comes from a plant and therefore, is viewed as more natural – as opposed to manmade medicine.

In addition to this, conventional prescription drugs can have negative side effects, such as addiction to these drugs for pain relief, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and headaches. If this is the case, then it may be worth considering the other route in the form of medical cannabis.

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One benefit of using natural medical marijuana over prescription drugs is less chance for unwanted side effects.

It is worth noting that medical marijuana may not be for everybody, so it’s a good idea to educate yourself on all the options and speak to your doctor. Although it is legal in 29 states, a downside is that you have to go through a process and see if you qualify for the medicine. If you do, it can also be very pricey and difficult to obtain.

In conclusion, medical marijuana – although still controversial with opposing views and opinions – has shown benefits to people of all ages, and should not be viewed as only advantageous to the elderly. It has many benefits and is viewed as a safer and more natural option to pharmaceutical drugs, which can in some cases, be ineffective and cause unwanted side effects.

However, there is still more research to be conducted to prove the long-term advantages of this alternative medicine, but the results so far seem promising.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Which Medical Marijuana Strains Treat Anxiety?

Anxiety is just one of the many debilitating conditions that can be helped by medical marijuana strains. It is often one of the more challenging disabilities to have to deal with because firstly, unlike pain or reduced mobility of some sort or an illness which drastically changes your appearance, anxiety is not always visible to other people.

Secondly, it clearly inhibits the sufferer in social circumstances, which is difficult to handle and can make life very restrictive. Luckily, if you are in possession of a cannabis card, help is at hand.

Recommending MMJ for treating anxiety is not as straightforward as recommending it for other types of illness. This is because, for some people, taking marijuana can actually make their anxiety worse, and throw in a bit of paranoia to boot. If you are one of these people then you need to be very careful about which strain of medical marijuana you obtain with your California MMJ card.

Watch That THC Content

Research has shown that medical marijuana strains which are high in THC content are more likely to increase your anxiety. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. Something you might not know is that our bodies naturally make cannabinoid chemicals.

Certain areas of our brain, which are associated with things like pleasure and memory, contain cannabinoid receptors. THC is attracted to these areas and by attaching to them, certain things like memory, pleasure and thinking are all heightened. So you can see how this might be very welcome by some people, but not great for those prone to anxiety.

The good news is that there currently many strains available that contain little or no THC. The best strains for treating anxiety are known as hybrids, which means they contain a mixture of both sativa and indica.

The main thing you need to know about these two elements is that sativa tends to be more energizing and uplifting; whereas Indica gives you a stronger higher which makes you more sleepy. Bear this in mind when selecting the best strain to help with your anxiety.

If you experience anxiety on a daily basis, the good news is that there currently many medical marijuana strains available that contain little or no THC.

Here are a few medical marijuana recommendations for you to research and sample. It’s worth experimenting with several different strains to find out which suits you best, as no two illnesses are the same and no two people react in the same way to MMJ.

Cannatonic

This MMJ strain contains 50/50 sativa and indica, as well as quite high levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), which is known to reduce anxiety. You might not get a great ‘high’ from it, but it will help to relax you without clogging your brain. It has a nice lemony, pine scent.

White Widow

By way of a contrast, White Widow contains higher levels of sativa and will give you a greater, kinda spaced-out high without leaving you too sleepy. It’s one of the more famous strains, which was first cultivated in Holland. If this is your way of dealing with anxious situations, then don’t be put off by the name!

Grandaddy Purple

A popular hybrid strain, Grandaddy Purple contain more indicas than sativas. The result of this is more relaxation and a feeling of calm, with the added bonus of persuading your body to release any stress. It’s a popular strain with cannabis card holders, featuring a mixed berry and grape aroma curtesy of its parent plant – Purple Urkle.

Strawberry Cough

One of the more popular choices for anxiety sufferers. Strawberry Cough is one of the milder strains, containing sativa and offers a good balance between relaxation and energizing. As you probably guessed, it has a sweet strawberry aroma and after-taste, but beware of the thick smoke which is responsible for the second half of the name – cough!

Chocolate Chunk

(We kid you not) this is a 100% indica strain which has a – guess what – chocolatey after taste! It’s helpful for panic attacks, as well as general anxiety, and its effects are quite long-lasting, so you don’t have to take much of it. Along with the chocolatey aroma, this strain gives off quite a musky, earthy smell.

When it comes to MMJ strains for anxiety, there are some that taste like fruit and others that taste like chocolate.

So, there are five recommended strains for you to try out if you suffer from anxiety. If you’re not yet registered for a cannabis card, it’s easy to get your medical marijuana card online, via MMJ Recs. You just need to fill out a standard medical form and upload any relevant medical documents.

You’ll then have a short evaluation – either over the phone or via Skype – with one of our medical marijuana experts. You will need to tell him or her about your disability and why you think taking medical marijuana would help alleviate your symptoms. Your specialist is highly trained and professional; everything you divulge will be treated in absolute confidence. If you’re approved for a California marijuana license, it will be forwarded to you by mail.

Once in possession of your medical marijuana card, you will be able to purchase marijuana from licensed premises, as well as buy it online. You can also grow your own plants – you’re actually allowed to cultivate up to 100 square feet of marijuana plants. Find out which strain relieves your symptoms and then grow it yourself so that you always have it to hand. It couldn’t be easier!

Hopefully, now you are on your way to making a decision that may help change your life.

6 Ways to Make Sure You Get the Right MMJ Strain

It can be very difficult to navigate the world of medical marijuana if you are unfamiliar with it, so it’s important to do your research and shop around to get the best treatment available to you. As well as the stigma associated with the treatment, the options available are just mind-boggling!

We’ve compiled a list of ways to ensure you find the right MMJ strain for you so that you can live the best life possible with the condition you have.

Research the Treatment

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If you’re unsure of the best type of MMJ strain to use for your illness or condition, contact a medical professional.

Most people who are eligible for treatment with medical marijuana may not be aware that they can access it. Depending on the state that you live in, if you suffer from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, depression, anorexia nervosa, epilepsy or countless other conditions, you may be eligible for treatment with medical marijuana.

First, find out if your state allows medical marijuana treatment. If it does, research the terms and conditions of the conditions allowed for treatment. Some states, such as California, are quite liberal about allowing citizens access to MMJ but others, such as New York, have very strict guidelines.

Go to a Reputable Medical Professional

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To learn more about medical marijuana strains, you can go online and talk to a medical professional, who will answer any questions.

If you live in a state with liberal MMJ laws, you may be familiar with the sketchy establishments that can assign you a medical marijuana letter. These are often quite intimidating, so a good option for first-time patients is often an online consultation. You can log on, have a video chat with a qualified medical professional who will ask about your condition.

Don’t worry about judgement. These professionals are open and really believe in the power of MMJ to treat people like you. They will then send you a stamped and signed letter that you can then use to access medical marijuana.

Get a Good Dispenser

Along with a good medical professional to recommend the treatment of medical marijuana for you, it is so important to get acquainted with the best dispensary possible. Put simply, dispensaries can make or break your medical marijuana experience. They are the experts who can advise you on the best strains and delivery methods available to you.

If you’re someone who doesn’t know a lot about MMJ, the best thing to do is to go in, be completely honest about your lack of knowledge and let the dispensary employees point you in the right direction. Think about it like asking a bartender for their advice on the best kind of cocktail to drink!

Research the Strains

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It’s best to know the differences between the different MMJ strains so you can get the proper one for your personal needs.

As well as speaking to your dispensary, it is possible to do your own, independent research. There is a wealth of knowledge available online on different strains and how they can effect and treat different conditions. Using strains with CBD, THC or a combination of the two in different strengths will have differing effects, so it’s important to be educated in relation to what works best for your condition.

Luckily, there is a wealth of knowledge online relating to strains that can treat different illnesses and if you have any difficult questions, this is something to ask your dispenser or medical professional. There is no such thing as a stupid question!

Research Methods of Delivery

MMJ Recs - Piece of Chocolate Cake

When it comes to MMJ strain edibles, the possibilities are sweet… and endless!

Often, when people think of medical marijuana, they think of stoners lighting up massive joints, but the reality is that MMJ can be delivered in so many different ways. People rely on edible MMJ in the form of cakes, candies or brownies, vape pens, body rubs, oils, tinctures and joints. These are just some of the ways that MMJ can be administered, but the sky is the limit.

Again, doing research online for some fun DIY projects or speaking to your dispenser about the wide range of treatments available are the best ways to go. There are treatments that you may not even consider, for example, women often use MMJ medicated body rubs to treat extreme pain associated with endometriosis or period pain, often reporting excellent results.

Enjoy Your Treatment!

Amongst all the paperwork, travel and research associated with medical marijuana, people can often forget the most important part of the journey: enjoy yourself! MMJ is truly a miracle drug that also offers some fun side-effects, aside from the soothing treatments associated with its medical administration. Don’t feel the need to be boxed in to any one form of treatment. Be flexible and play around with different things until you find the options that work best for you.

Make it fun and a treat that becomes the highlight of your day. It’s not like the mundane routine of popping a pill daily. You will be able to live your life better, stronger and unfettered by your condition, so make sure you celebrate that!

MMJ vs. Modern Day Medicine: Which Is More Effective?

In today’s world, people are becoming more and more health conscious. Unless you have been living off the grid for the past few years, you will surely have heard of MMJ. This is an alternative form of medicine which people are trying in place of modern day conventional medicine. There have been reports of successful outcomes from using this herb as medicine, but it is also worth mentioning that a lot more research still needs to take place in order to confirm its efficacy for certain diseases and illnesses.

Using marijuana as medicine dates way back to 2737 BC, when the Chinese emperor Shen Neng prescribed it in the form of tea as medicine. It was believed to have helped various illnesses such as gout, rheumatism, malaria and pain in general. The use of this herb gradually spread all over the world, but in 1937 was outlawed by the American Government. Today, it can still be used medicinally as long as it is prescribed by a medical professional.

Medicinal Benefits of Medical Marijuana

MMJ Recs - Cannabis Plant

The one downside to using MMJ is that it’s only currently legal in 29 US states, so not everyone has access to it.

There are numerous benefits of using marijuana medicinally. For instance, people have reported that it helps with epileptic seizures, glaucoma and slowing Alzheimer’s, as well as preventing the spread of cancer and helping with depression and anxiety. Furthermore, it can be taken in various ways to suit the patient.

For instance, it may be easier for some people such as children to take medical cannabis in the form of tinctures, where a few drops are placed under the tongue. Another way is of course to smoke it, although this may not be ideal to some, it does provide a more instant effect compared to the tinctures.

If there are so many benefits then why doesn’t everybody turn to this naturally growing plant to cure disease? Firstly, medical marijuana is only currently legal in 29 US states, so it is not yet available to everybody and there is a procedure to follow if you would like to try this method of medicine. You must have proof that you are a resident in one of the legalized states and your condition has to be on the list of eligibility.

The next step is to find a doctor who is qualified to prescribe medical marijuana. Only then will you be able to obtain an MMJ card and take it to the dispensary for the cannabis medication.  Despite the growing popularity of this plant, there is still skepticism over its effectiveness.

In terms of pharmaceutical drugs, which the majority of people turn to when they have an illness, they are much easier to obtain and have helped greatly to fight and ease the symptoms of illnesses from the flu to cancer. Moreover, the nature of modern medicine is entirely science-based, focusing on surgery, drugs and radiation to treat the symptoms.

Downside of Using Modern Day Medicine

MMJ Recs - Thermometer with Pills

The downside to using modern day medicine is that possibility for addiction and abuse.

Nonetheless, there is also a downside to conventional medicine. Not only is the addiction and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs on the rise, but for some people they simply do not work at all. This could be largely due to a case of the infections or disease adapting to certain drugs. Another reason as to why people may prefer to opt away from using modern medicine is the side effects that come with them.

Drowsiness, upset stomachs, fatigue and muscle aches are just some of the undesirable effects that can be caused by certain drugs, and could explain why many are looking for a more natural and unconventional alternative.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Overall, there are pros and cons to both medical marijuana and conventional medicine. If you want to try medical marijuana, it is more complicated to obtain and you will have to go through a number of steps to see if you are eligible. It can also be very pricey and there are limited dispensaries which have this form of medicine.

On the other hand, there have been promising results from people in the legalized states claiming to have seen major improvements in their ailments and illnesses with the use of marijuana. Furthermore, the side effects are less severe compared to conventional medicine ,as it is a natural herb, although taking it in the form of smoking may cause respiratory problems.

With modern day medicine, it is widely available and in certain situations, would be more suited to treating patients for example when a physical intervention is needed such as surgery. It is also scientifically backed and has helped many people fight infections and disease.

The downside is that people can become reliant on certain pharmaceutical drugs, such as painkillers, and the side effects can be very unpleasant for instance in the case of chemotherapy to treat cancer where hair loss and loss of appetite is common.

Overall, medical marijuana can come across as a safer option, but is not without its disadvantages, and modern day medicine has been proven to work, but its efficacy today is starting to be questioned. Whichever form of medicine you choose, it is subjective and dependent on your history, type of illness and personal preference.

 

Which MMJ Strain is Best for Treating Migraines?

As medical marijuana becomes a widespread treatment across the United States, patients are familiarizing themselves with the various strains, and sussing out which ones work best for their particular ailment. It might come as a surprise to newer patients not used to marijuana that the drug even comes in different MMJ strains; but there are in fact subtle differences between the various different strands.

When it comes to treatment of the various afflictions for which MMJ is affective, the components and of each strain can have varying effects.  As medical marijuana becomes legal in more and more states across America, it benefits patients to know which strain is best to treat their particular ailment.

One of the most common causes of pain in humans is a headache. They can be debilitating and resilient, but can be largely managed with over-the-counter painkillers. Migraines are a different sort of headache altogether, and can’t be so easily tackled with the usual methods. Migraines usually affect one side of the head, pulsating with a constant rhythm and producing waves of often searing pain. The onset of a migraine can be accompanied by visual disturbances known as scintillating scotoma, where zigzag rainbow patterns distort the patient’s vision.

Unlike normal headaches, which usually disappear with a good night’s sleep, migraines can last from a couple of hours for up to three days, and will usually not abate or ease during the attack. They can be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, and can often make the sufferer extremely sensitive to light and sounds.

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Migraines, which are extremely debilitating and usually last days on end, can be treated with some specific MMJ strains.

Migraines are uniquely debilitating, and usually take days to fully recover from. Despite them being fairly common (over 15% of the global population have suffered from them at one time or another), not a lot is known about how they’re caused. It’s suspected that a mixture of genetics and environmental factors conspire to cause an attack, but the exact reason that they flare up remains unknown (for now).

What is known is that medical marijuana can successfully treat migraines, and that it has been used as a remedy for many years. It’s undeniable that marijuana is an extremely effective pain reliever, and as it comes to prominence as a legal, reliable treatment in 2017, we are in as good a position as any to explore how MMJ can help patients even further.

A number of recent studies have shown that MMJ can not only combat migraines when they flare up, but it can also help prevent them in the first place, which makes medical marijuana a vital tool in fighting these vicious headaches. But which strain is best? Well, in fact, there are a few strains that can effectively treat migraines; here are five of the best.

MMJ - Marijuana

With studies proving that medical cannabis can not only combat migraines when they flare up, but they can also prevent them, it’s no wonder more people are trying MMJ strains.

White Widow

This is a powerful and potent strain of marijuana that can help you relieve some serious pain when the situation arises. A classic strain that hails from the Netherlands, it should assure patients of its quality. You can avail of it uplifting, euphoric effects while still being assured of powerful pain relief, as it settles the body into full relaxation mode. Its strength is derived from the icy white resin that dusts its buds, and works especially well at removing that muscle tension which makes migraines so insufferable.

Sour Diesel

Also known as Sour D, this strain is a lot more appetizing than it sounds. A sativa-dominant concoction that smells a lot like diesel, Sour D is a fast-acting solution for when migraines spring up without any prior warning. The effects of this particular MMJ strain include a dreamy, heady sensation, as well as a potent burst of energy.

Sour D is not just useful for migraines; it is one of the go-to strains for those suffering with general headache pain and depression as well, making it a serious contender for the title of best strain currently on the market.

Purple Kush

When all that migriane pain just gets the better of you and nothing’s taking the edge off, often the best thing to do is simply sleep. Purple Kush is a pure indica, which is pretty easy to come by. Heavy indica strains have long been renowned for their significant sleep-inducing effects, and sometimes, this can be just what the doctor ordered; literally.

Purple Kush creates long-lasting body-numbing sensations, which can be just what you need to sleep your way through a migraine. Just be careful when you decide to take this strain; its knock-out effects means it’s best used just before bed.

The person in the best position to advise on your medicine is of course your doctor, but it’s no harm to know what works best for your specific ailments. Migraines are severely debilitating afflictions, but with the right medicine, most of their symptoms can be combated effectively, or even prevented altogether.

Luckily for sufferers, this medicine is becoming more and more accepted all over the United States, meaning that help is well and truly at hand.

5 MMJ Strains That Are Perfect to Consume at Work

It’s time to forget those stereotypical images of the lazy, sleepy stoner. These days, marijuana – particularly medical marijuana – is no longer associated with lethargy, drowsiness and lying on the couch in your underwear all day, working your way through a whole tray of cookies. For too long, medical marijuana card holders had to put up with being portrayed as this damaging stereotype. Thankfully, with the further spread of the medical weed card and use of MMJ strains across the country, these nonsense falsities about cannabis card carriers are being debunked faster than you can say ‘Duuuuude’.

While there are undeniably some MMJ strains that can make the user less active, there are plenty of other strains that boost energy, focus concentration and get your creative juices flowing.

Choosing the Right MMJ Strain

The key to choosing the right medical marijuana strain boils down to the age old indica vs. sativa argument. On a chemical level, the two types of MMJ are significantly different, with indica strains exhibiting a high THC: CBD ratio while sativa strains exhibit the opposite. Although indica strains do have their uses, they’ll end up giving you that all over body stoned feeling, a.k.a. the dreaded couch lock. After you consume indica, you are exponentially less likely to be productive. For this reason, indica should be steered clear of while you’re working (unless you want to get into a raging argument with your boss!)

Sativas, on the other hand, are uplifting and energetic and can be consumed while working with no negative side effects. Not only will you experience no bad side effects, but you’ll also find yourself more productive, more positive and much more likely to get a whole lotta work done.

Here’s our top picks of the best sativa strains to consume while at work.

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Instead of making you drowsy and unmotivated, there are plenty of MMJ strains that can boost energy, focus concentration and get your creative juices flowing.

Jack Herer

There’s a good reason why Jack Herer is one of the most popular strains on the market today. The strain is energizing, uplifting and incredibly mentally stimulating, making it the perfect go-to strain for busy medical marijuana card holders. If you’re got a tight deadline looming and are starting to become a little overwhelmed by the task at hand, consuming even a small about of Herer will help. If you can’t get your hands on Jack Herer itself, opt for a derivative of the strain, like Jack the Ripper or Galatic Jack.

Sour Tsunami

Some MMJ card holders find themselves to be incompatible with high THC strains, as they can leave them anxious, drowsy or nauseous. If this sounds like you, Sour Tsunami will be a godsend. Sour Tsunami is a high CBD strain that is excellent at focusing concentration. This mellow focus will enable you to complete mountains of work, without any added stress. If you consume this at work, the only thing you’re at risk of doing is bothering your colleagues with a seriously upbeat, positive attitude.

Haze

Like Jack Herer, Haze is one of the most popular strains of MMJ on the market, and for good reason. This strain is ever popular for work consumption due to its unrivaled ability at combating depression and fatigue. Perfect for consuming during a mid afternoon slump, Haze will provide you with the energy – and the attitude – that you need to smash your day’s targets with no stress.

Purple Trainwreck

The spicy lemon and berry scent of this incredible strain is enough alone to boost your energy levels for the day. Twin that delicious scent with the euphoric, energizing, pain busting effects of PT, and you’ve got yourself the ideal strain for using at work. Effects of this strain are strong and immediate, so you’ll start to feel all that goodness wash in straight after consuming it. When using Purple Trainwreck, it’s important to be careful with your dosag- smoke too much and you could fall victim to the dreaded couch lock.

Sour Diesel

As a strong sativa strain, Sour Diesel produces a euphoric head high that is ideal for focusing your mind on the work task at hand. You can forget needing a morning coffee when you’re consuming Sour Diesel, as it is the ultimate awakener, providing you with enough energy and mental stimulation to keep you buzzing throughout the work day. As well as significantly tackling fatigue, Sour Diesel is excellent at warding off work related anxiety, stress and depression.

Cinex

Cinex is a marvelous sativa dominant hybrid strain that is a firm favorite among those with particularly challenging jobs. When consumed at work, Cinex produces a cognitive stimulation effect, similar to that which you’d get from a good, strong cup of coffee. If you have a complex task that you need to carry out with razor sharp precision, consuming Cinex will guide you through it with ease. While there’s no doubt that this strain can be invaluable to some MMJ card holders at work, it’s important to note that you should be careful with your dosage, as too much Cinex can cause users to feel anxious.

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The MMJ strain Cinex is as powerful as a strong cup of coffee, but don’t consume too much or you’ll get too anxious and won’t be able to focus.

By opting for any of the above MMJ strains, you’ll be sure to banish any notion of inactivity for your important work day. As you would in any other environment, it’s important that you consume discreetly while you’re work, so as to avoid any discomfort for yourself or your co workers. For tips on how to consume discreetly and respectfully, check out our handy go-to guide.

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.

Is New York Going to Overtake California as the Leading MMJ State?

As legal medical marijuana becomes more and more widespread in the United States, the particular ways each state is handling the introduction of the medicine are slowly becoming apparent. There are currently 29 legal MMJ states in the country, across the country from California to New York, and all of them approach the subject a little differently to the last.

While advocates continue to fight the good fight to get the medicine legalized in all 50 states, it’s going to be a long road; so it can be instructive to take a look at how the respective programs of the legalized states have shaped up so far.

California: A Trailblazer for Medical Cannabis

The trailblazer state for MMJ is undoubtedly California, who legalized the drug over twenty years ago in 1996. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Care Act, passed by a narrow 55%, and allowed people suffering from cancer, AIDS, arthritis and other chronic ailments the avail of medical marijuana.

Although the proposition was criticized at the time for its vague wording, it was hailed as a major breakthrough by the medical profession, who could now legally recommend MMJ to their patients. From then, California has gone from strength to strength, and has become the guiding beacon for the legalization of both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.

California has long been seen as a leading liberal state, as has its counterpart on the opposite coast, New York. America’s largest city has a long history of liberal leanings, and most expected them to carry through with the advent of MMJ. However, that was surprisingly not the case.

New York vs. California MMJ Laws

Quite the opposite occurred actually; when New York finally legalized medical marijuana in 2014, a full eighteen years after California, it was in the form of a shockingly restrictive and conservative bill. One of the sticking points of the new legislation came from Governor Andrew Cuomo, a long-standing anti-marijuana advocate, who insisted that the medicine should not be legalized in smokable form.

MMJRecs - Golden Gate

California allows medical marijuana to be taken in any form, which is vastly different to the MMJ laws in New York.

This greatly limits the potency of MMJ, which is most effective and fast-acting when smoked. In addition, only a small number of diseases, many of them severe, would qualify a patient for MMJ treatment in New York; the 2014 bill didn’t include the blanker term ‘chronic pain’, which critically limits both who doctors can prescribe to, and on what grounds.

In fact, New York doctors themselves had to think very carefully before prescribing the drug. If they were found to be working outside the tight parameters of Cuomo’s bill, they could find themselves breaking federal law.

As it stood upon introduction, New York’s MMJ laws stood in stark contrast to California’s liberal leanings. California allows medical marijuana to be taken in any form, and also includes a wide range of qualifying conditions, which sharply outguns New York’s restrictive measures.

Medical Marijuana Laws: Times They are a Changin’

Things have been changing recently though, and advocates in New York have been applying pressure in order to loosen the conservative bill. These changes, however, bring it nowhere near California’s MMJ legacy; and the problem starts with supply and demand.

It’s hard to walk down any given street in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or indeed any major Californian city, without happening across an MMJ dispensary. Over twenty years of legal medical marijuana have given California an unprecedented head start in terms of cultivation, and the industry continues to go from strength to strength.

Over on the East coast however, things are a little different. Currently, New York’s 2014 bill only allows for five cultivation companies to legally operate in the state, with a maximum of twenty dispensaries (or one every 2,700km). This was initially crippling to the growth of MMJ; though the Department of Health has since recognized its limitations, and doubled the amount of cultivation companies to ten, in a bill passed late last year.

MMJRecs - New York Skyline

One good piece of news is that as of March this year, chronic pain was added as a qualifying ailment for MMJ in New York.

There are also continuing and persistent calls for changing the qualifying conditions in New York, some of which have not gone unheeded. As of March this year, chronic pain was added as a qualifying ailment, after it was announced in December 2016. This opens up a whole new world for medical marijuana in New York, making it accessible for many more people for whom it could prove a major benefit. Despite the early aggressiveness of the 2014 bill, signs are good that the Department of Health are loosening their reins and are looking to put New York on the MMJ map.

However, these new measures simply don’t measure up to California’s lax legislation. In fact, the Sunshine State has gone one step further and legalized recreational marijuana, another bold step in the slowly but surely progressing acceptance of the drug. Although it’s making bold strides, and is certainly heading in there right direction, New York still has a long way to go to make up the ground gained by California.

Until NY, the supposed liberal bastion of the Eastern seaboard, severely loosens its laws, Cali will remain the king of MMJ states. But who knows what the lay of the land will look like five years from now. Until then, patients will on both sides of the country will have to continue fighting the good fight, and advocating the plethora of benefits MMJ provides.

6 Potential Negative Side Effects of MMJ Use to Watch Out For

Thank goodness for the continuing, relentless and seemingly unstoppable liberalization of medical marijuana laws that are sweeping across the United States (and to a lesser extent, the globe) at this moment in history. This period in time will forever be remembered as a genuine renaissance in which medical cannabis reestablished itself in its rightful place at the epicenter of human medicine.

There are a huge wealth of benefits to MMJ use. The magical herb relieves pain, stimulates appetite, stabilizes mood, calms muscle spasms, eases glaucoma, promotes relaxation and sleep, alleviates psychological and physiological tension, remedies nausea, and is even showing great potential to do damage to cancerous cells.

As more and more people are availing of the myriad of benefits that their California medical marijuana card brings, it is important to also create an awareness of the potential negative side effects of MMJ use. Like with everything (including water, exercise and even sex) too much of something, even something very good, can be bad.

The following is our list of six potential pitfalls to be aware of if you are a regular user of medical marijuana.

Constant ‘Munchies’ May Lead to Weight Gain

Using medical cannabis can cause you to get high on life, but it can also get you high numbers on the weight scale.

One of MMJs great benefits is that it stimulates appetite. A good appetite is invaluable for optimal health. But the other side to this coin is that weed can also promote overeating.

The ‘munchies’ are a very real thing. Food and drink tastes especially good when you are under the influence of medical cannabis, and when you couple that with a generally stimulated appetite (and perhaps a somewhat reduced capacity to be disciplined), gorging is always a distinct possibility.

Overeating can be combated by shopping wisely before you ingest any MMJ – buying only healthy foods. You may regret this when you are high, but you will thank yourself the next time you weigh yourself!

If You Smoke Medical Cannabis, You’ll Be Susceptible to Smoking-Related Health Problems

Smoking cannabis, especially if you roll your joints with some tobacco, is not good for your lungs. It can lead to shortness of breath, emphysema and even lung cancer. A good start to combating this threat is to roll joints using only pure cannabis, which means you will smoke less and get a more potent hit of medical marijuana.

An even better way to avoid smoking-related illnesses is to not smoke at all – vaping and edibles are both great ways to ingest MMJ without breathing in any harmful smoke.

Being Under the Influence of MMJ May Cause You to Appreciate (and Even Become a Big Fan of) Music You Would Otherwise Hate

Marijuana induces an altered state of consciousness, and in this altered state, things that are not all that interesting to the ‘sober you’ can seem altogether fascinating. Music that you would otherwise have no interest in, if heard when you are in this altered state, can sound amazing.

This can lead to ‘imprinting’ – which is when you essentially form an irrational attachment, or ‘fetish’, for a song and have a compulsion to listen to it all the time, even when sober. This can lead to a feeling of helplessness and also to embarrassment in social situations. There is no known cure for this. Prevention is your only hope.

Edibles Take Longer to Kick In and Can Be Very Strong, So Beware

It is a common mistake if you are a rookie (or even a seasoned MMJ user who is new to edibles) to eat some weed, in the form of a brownie for instance, and then to sit there twiddling your thumbs for an hour feeling zero effect. Then you eat some more and… BOOM, you get obscenely higher than you’ve ever been in your life five minutes later, as both doses erupt inside you at the same time.

Watch out for this. Edibles are often very strong indeed, and they usually take anything between 30 minutes to an hour to kick in. Be patient.

Medical Marijuana Can Disrupt Your Sleep Patterns

Marijuana use, especially if the strain is high in CBD, can induce sleep. If this happens early in the day and you pass out on the sofa for a few hours, it can be difficult to sleep at your proper bedtime in the evening. It’s a form of weed-induced jet lag. Also, particularly strong MMJ can lead to a very heavy, dead, dreamless type of sleep that can leave you feeling slightly dazed the next day.

A good way around this is to only use very high CBD strains if you have a condition which makes it hard for you to sleep. Otherwise, use strains with more reasonable levels of CBD.

Using Medical Cannabis Can Make You Lazy and Unproductive

Not everyone can be as productive and creative as The Beatles while using MMJ, so be cautious about when and where you take it.

Apparently, The Beatles worked busily on their best albums while baked on marijuana. That must have been some weak weed! All joking aside, some people can be productive and busy while under the influence of medical cannabis, but many people can not.

The very relaxed state that (particularly a high-CBD strain) of weed will bring on is not conducive to productivity. The highly altered state of consciousness and heady high brought on by a THC-rich strain can make you feel energetic and creative, although the art you create when high unfortunately does not always cut the mustard when you take a look at it sober the next day.

A good way to avoid this pitfall is to only smoke later in the day, after you’ve done your important work, or if you need MMJ all day, then try to smoke a lighter strain. Also, try to stay moving so you can avoid getting trapped on the couch watching Judge Judy with a packet of Oreos and a block of cheese.

 

3 MMJ Brownie Recipes That Will Change Your Life

An excellent way to satisfy your sweet tooth and give your lungs a break, while at the same time easing your glaucoma, calming your PTSD, controlling your muscle spasms or simply setting yourself up for a top-quality 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, is to bake a batch of medical cannabis-infused brownies.

Chocolate brownies are the quintessential edible marijuana treat! People have been ingesting their medical herb in sweet brownie form since before any of us were born. But the method has not lost its charm. Brownies are scrumptious…and potent!

A decent-sized nibble on a well-made MMJ brownie will transport the nibbler to another galaxy in which time slows down, all worry evaporates, aches and pains melt away, and life’s issues can be seen from novel and liberating new perspectives.

Go Crazy for Cannabutter

The base of all cannabis-infused brownies is cannabutter. It is the vital marijuana-containing ingredient that makes our brownies more than just average brownies, and it’s the part of the recipe that contains the potent, pain-alleviating, health-promoting herb. Basically, it’s crucial.

To make cannabutter, you use your California medical marijuana card to get some good medical marijuana (your cannabutter will only be as good as the weed you use to make it, so don’t cut corners). If you use your California medical card to buy budd in dried-out, ready to smoke form, you are good to go.

But, if you are an amateur farmer who grows your weed yourself, make sure to decarb the fresh leaves by putting them on a tray and baking them for about 40 minutes at 240 degrees. Bake them until they are thoroughly dried out and crumbly, and then grind them up. Melt butter in a saucepan – 4 sticks of butter for every ounce of medical cannabis you use. Once the butter is melted to an oily liquid, gently stir in the dried, ground-up medical weed.

After the weed is thoroughly stirred into the butter, turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer at the lowest possible heat for anything from 2 to 4 hours. Stir regularly. When the mix becomes glossy and thick, it is ready to be poured through a strainer into a plastic food container, and left to cool at room temperature. Once the cannabutter is cooled to room temperature place it in the fridge. Cannabutter complete!

(If you use your cannabis card and make your cannabutter at home, you have no way of knowing the exact THC content, so be wary when baking. We’ve suggested using part cannabutter, part regular butter on your first batch. Experiment and see how the brownies turn out. Change the ratio of cannabutter to regular butter as required.)

Now, without further ado, here are three MMJ brownie recipes that will change your life.

The base of all medical marijuana brownies – cannabutter – is easy to make at home.

Mint Chocolate Chip and Green Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces cannabutter
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate mint chips

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Warm the cannabutter and butter in a pan over a medium heat.
  3. Once the butters have melted, stir in the sugar. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.
  4. Using a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla.
  5. Ad the two mixtures together and whisk until totally combined. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and a¾ cup of mint chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray and flatten it out. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of mint chocolate chips on top of the mixture.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

They say that blondes have more fun, but so do blonde MMJ brownies!

Bodacious Blonde Brownies

Ingredients:

(Brownies)

  • 4 ounces cannabutter
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cup caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • 1 cup chopped white chocolate
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

(Frosting)

  • 2 ½ ounces cannabutter
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • ½ cup milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butters over a low heat. Mix the sugar and eggs until fluffy. Whisk the butters, sugars and egg mix gently until completely combined. Fold the flour, white chocolate and macadamia nuts into the mixture.
  3. Transfer the batter into the baking tray and flatten it out.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. To prepare the frosting, whisk the cannabutter, icing sugar and vanilla extract using an electric whisk until it’s smooth and fully combined.
  6. Whisk in the milk (as required for correct consistency) and peanut butter.
  7. Once the brownies are baked and cooled, spread the frosting on top.

Mellow Marshmallow Brownies

Ingredients:

(Brownies)

  • 3 ounces cannabutter
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 2 ¼ cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips

(Topping)

  • 16 ounces mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 ounce cannabutter
  • 1 ¼ cups Nutella
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butters and whisk in the sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add the cocoa powder,¾ cup of chocolate chips and salt. When the mixture is fully combined, add the flour.
  3. Spread the mixture out on the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. For the topping, sprinkle the mini marshmallows over the top.
  5. Melt 2 cups of chocolate chips and cannabutter over a warm heat. Whisk in the Nutella and Rice Krispies. Add the mixture over the layer of mini marshmallows. Put into the fridge to chill.

Now that you know these delicious MMJ brownie recipes, we hope you’ll give them a try! You can also check out these 4 sweet medical marijuana edibles recipes.

Will MMJ Cure My Aches?

Chronic pain is one of the toughest conditions to live with. There is no standard test for it, it can take many forms, and it often varies wildly from person to person. Most patients are understandably reluctant to rely upon traditional prescription painkillers, many of which are addictive. But what is the alternative to living in constant pain?

Many studies have suggested that medical marijuana can assist in the treatment of chronic pain, and this could offer a lifeline to many people who are suffering daily.

What is Chronic Pain?

MMJ Recs - Stressed Student

Anyone can experience chronic pain in any part of the body, and it can have a harmful effect on your everyday life.

How is chronic pain defined? Simply put, it can be defined as a pain that will not go away and cannot be easily attributed to any one cause. It can occur at any site on the body, be it head, neck, back, limbs or any other area, and can defined as either nociceptive (which means that its root is damaged tissue) or neuropathic (which means that the pain is coming from a malfunctioning nervous system).

As there is no strict test for pain, and because it varies from person to person and medical professionals rely on the testimony of their suffering patients, it is often very hard to find causes and treatments for pain.

Why Use Medical Marijuana as an Alternative Therapy?

Patients have long turned to alternative therapies for pain management, including acupuncture, reiki, diet and other methods. Due to the addictive nature of opioid painkillers, many patients do not want to get into a cycle of carefully killing their pain while running the risk of becoming addicted, having to detox, and then being left without a way of managing their crippling pain.

Medical marijuana is a logical step for anyone attempting to manage chronic pain. It is a natural therapy that comes in many forms, so there really is an option for everyone.

MMJ Recs - Shisha

Although smoking medical cannabis is the most popular form of therapy for pain, there are many delicious edible recipes out there.

Smoking is clearly the most popular option when it comes to medical marijuana, but did you know that you can also get edible medical marijuana, vape pens and even body rubs? These are just some of the many options offered to patients who need help with chronic pain management. Body rubs, roll-ons and creams containing THC or CBD have also proved incredibly helpful for those suffering from chronic pain, as the ingredients attack the pain at the site.

However, if you’d rather focus on smoking medical marijuana, there are definitely some strains out there that will help you in chronic pain management. Edibles are also an excellent option, as they feel like a real treat in the form of yummy cakes, lollipops or chocolate bars. Vapes are really convenient and easily transportable, whereas traditional joints for smoking are best kept for use in the privacy of your home due to their distinctive smell. The smell of medical marijuana actually can be linked to its power in fighting pain, so in this case, the smellier, the better!

Types of MMJ Used for Pain

White Widow, Super Bud and Master Kush are a few types of medical cannabis used to treat pain.

Jack Herer and Super Bud are two strains that are known for assisting in nerve pain, which is a very common form of pain and one of the hardest to treat. White Widow and Northern Lights are best for muscle pain, as they are linked to relaxation (which can help for body parts that are ravaged with tension). Master Kush and Afghan Kush are great all-round pain relievers, and may prove helpful for anyone who isn’t really sure where to start when treating pain with medical marijuana.

Medical Cannabis Advice from Experts

Your local dispensary can be an invaluable source in talking to an expert. They will have dealt with many patients with varying levels and conditions of pain, and will be able to advise you on what works and doesn’t work in relation to the management of chronic pain through medical marijuana.

It may also be helpful to talk to your doctor or a medical professional in relation to managing your pain, especially if you are reluctant to go down the route of traditional opioid painkillers. You will need to speak to a medical professional to gain a MMJ card if you do not already have one, and depending on your state’s laws, you’ll have to meet strict criteria that fits a definition of chronic pain.

It is important to visit a liberal medical professional who takes medical marijuana seriously and views it as a legitimate treatment, as not all medical professionals believe this to be the case.

MMJ Recs - Back Pain

Although studies have proven that MMJ can effectively treat pain, it’s ultimately up to you if you want to try it.

Studies exist that strongly support evidence that medical marijuana can assist in the treatment of chronic pain without the addictive quality of traditional painkillers. The key is to try different strains, as well as different forms of medical marijuana. Get advice from medical dispensaries and medical professionals, but the choice is yours.

There is a strain that works for everyone, and it’s about finding the correct treatment for you so that you can live the best life possible without your chronic pain holding you back.

The Benefits of MMJ vs. Modern Day Medicine

We all know that medical marijuana is a wonderfully brilliant miracle treatment, but did you know that thanks to its effectiveness, it’s now seriously rivaling the popularity of modern day medicine in MMJ card states? While this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to medical marijuana card holders who have long been reaping the benefits of this super-plant, others are shocked at this news, and all because of their indoctrination into the allopathic school of thought.

Medical marijuana has recently gone through a renaissance, thanks to the advent of the medical marijuana card. Before this, MMJ had been subjected to a decade’s-long character assassination created by the proliferation of lies and misinformation during the ‘War on Drugs’. Before this dark period in MMJ history, marijuana had been used to treat all manner of ailments for hundreds of years.

Now that people are more open to the use of medical marijuana, they’re noticing the stark contrasts between using it and using more traditional modern medicines. If you were to do up a pros and cons list for each form of treatment, you’d soon see that the con list for using pharmaceutical treatments far outweighs that of using medical marijuana.

MMJ Reduces Side Effects and Health Complications

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Plant

Unlike modern day medicines, which are known to cause serious side effects and complications, medical cannabis is not known to do either.

It’s no secret that some prescription painkillers come with nasty, life-restricting side effects. These side effects can be anything from chronic pain and depression to decreased libido. On the other hand, medical marijuana comes with no known severe side effects. A study conducted by Canadian scientists found that 215 MMJ card holders suffering from chronic pain “had no greater risk than non-users to experience serious adverse effects” after using the drug for one year. Most long-term MMJ card holders report no side effects following years of consumption.

Medical marijuana is not known to cause any serious health complications. Unfortunately, this is not the case for some modern medicines. Prescription medicines – especially opioid-based ones – can do serious damage to patients after prolonged use. A 2008 study based on life-threatening pharmaceutical side effects stated that opioid-based prescription drugs could cause “delayed gastric emptying, hyperalgesia, immunologic and hormonal dysfunction, muscle rigidity, and myoclonus”.

Not only are these side effects dangerous in their own right, but if they’re experienced for prolonged periods of time, they could facilitate the growth of tumors in the affected parts of the body. In particular, Pharma painkillers prescribed to relieve chronic pain in cancer patients have been observed to stimulate further tumor growth. In contrast, MMJ card holders who have been prescribed medical marijuana for cancer-associated pain have in some instances seen a reduction in the size of their tumors.

Medical Marijuana is Not as Addictive

As a lot of prescription painkillers are derived from the same source as heroin, they can be incredibly addictive. America consumes a staggering 75% of the world’s prescription drugs, and at least half of this number can be put down to addiction. Some doctors will freely prescribe these highly-addictive drugs to line their own pockets with money from Big Pharma so when people are prescribed these pills, it may not be within their own best interests.

Addiction to modern medications is exacerbated by the fact that your body starts to build up tolerance to them, meaning that you need to take more and more to get the same effect. Thankfully, the number of prescription medicine-related deaths have significantly reduced in the past number of years, with some people signaling that this is due to the introduction of medical cannabis cards.

By and large, medical marijuana is a non-addictive substance. While there are some cases of marijuana addiction, these are nearly entirely found within the recreational community. MMJ card carriers are aware of safe dosage levels, and even if they were to consume a little too much by accident, they’d be at risk of no more than feeling a little woozy for a couple of hours.

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Since medical professionals have started issuing MMJ cards, the number of prescription medicine-related deaths have significantly reduced.

Of course, there are benefits to substituting modern medicine for medical marijuana altogether, but don’t put the idea of taking them concurrently off the table. For MMJ card holders on vital medication for a life-threatening illness, sometimes it simply isn’t an option for them to come off their prescription. In these cases, medical marijuana is often used as an additional form of treatment, to be taken alongside the original prescribed medication. Medical marijuana is taken by these patients in order to further lessen the symptoms of their ailment, or to lessen the harsh side effects that can come with taking some modern medications.

Pills taken to combat diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Crohn’s disease can come with a whole host of nasty side effects that can leave patients incapacitated or in constant severe pain. Medical marijuana tackles these issues, thanks to its exceptional pain-relieving powers, as well as its ability to tackle other subsidiary symptoms like muscle spasms and lethargy. As medical marijuana comes with no side effects of its own, it’s perfectly safe to take it alongside traditional medicines.

We shouldn’t think of medical marijuana and modern medicine as a rivalry at all. MMJ is fast becoming an integral part of modern medicine, with doctors across the country prescribing it to medical cannabis holders for a whole range of medical conditions. When we start to look at MMJ as an addition to medicine, rather than a rival to it, we’re giving ourselves more options to choose from and thus, we expand our treatment horizons.

Some treatments don’t work for everybody, and that’s to be expected, but if we have as wide a range of treatment options as possible, more people will find the perfect treatment plan for them, easing their discomfort and enabling them to live better lives. If you want to explore your MMJ card options, get in touch with us today and we’ll see what’s available to you.

Why New Yorkers are Waking Up to the Benefits of Medical Marijuana

By the time the Empire State legalized medical marijuana back in 2014, New Yorkers had already been acutely aware of its many benefits. Not only had they been inundated with news from other cannabis card states, but they had also been witness to countless legalization rallies, all of which spread the good message of this wonder drug.

Now that New Yorkers are three years into their own MMJ card program, they’re more aware than ever of just how great the plant really is.

The Reputation of MMJ

Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case. Unlike other medications, medical marijuana has been the subject of a decades-long smear campaign. For eons, MMJ had been synonymous with thuggery, addiction and abuse, all thanks to the proliferation of lies and misinformation about the plant.

This campaign reached a head with the ‘War on Drugs’, spearheaded by Richard Nixon in the 1970s, who dubbed drug abuse “public enemy number one”. The lies that spread during this time had long-lasting effects on the status of medical marijuana in society. Any inkling of legalization that was on the horizon was instantly dashed, and left in a smoldering pile on the floor of the legislator’s office.

As this reputation started to subside, more people started to wake up to the massive benefits that medical marijuana could provide to millions of Americans lives. California was the first to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, with other states following suit over the next two decades.

As New Yorkers had seen more than 20 of their neighbors legalize MMJ before them, they had become aware of the benefits of the plant. By the time medical marijuana cards were introduced to New York, most of the negative connotations associated with the drug had been debunked, and MMJ was now finally recognized as the wonder drug that it is.

Medical Cannabis: An Effective Alternative

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MMJ is an effective alternative to treating serious illnesses with side effects like anxiety and depression.

Medical marijuana is being used statewide by New Yorkers as an effective, gentle alternative to traditional modern medicines. The medication that is often prescribed for MMJ compatible conditions can be incredibly harsh on the body. Side effects exhibited from the use of hard medications can include depression, anxiety, extreme nausea, tiredness and chronic headaches. While it would be foolish to say that medical marijuana could be completely substituted for any medication, for some less serious illnesses, this is possible.

Patients who are on vital modern medications can also opt to consume medical marijuana as a way of combating the side effects of these medications. A total substitution of a treatment plan cannot always be done, but using the two medications concurrently with one another can be a match made in heaven. Medical marijuana has long been observed to effectively treat typical side effects from harsh medication like stomach pain, muscle spasms and lethargy.

As chronic pain was recently added to the list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card, New Yorkers are now becoming aware of just how effective a pain reliever it really is. Outside of New York, pain relief is the number one reason that patients apply for an MMJ card. Medical marijuana tackles pain by boosting the endocannabinoids within the body. Furthermore, the THC present in MMJ is an extremely potent pain reliever and when twinned with CBD it works twice as well.

Not only is medical marijuana an excellent pain reliever, it is also effective at tackling the symptoms of a large number of diseases. The severity of the disease is unimportant in this effectiveness, as shown by the fact that you can only get a medical marijuana card for a life-threatening illness in New York. MMJ is thorough at treating associative symptoms such as muscle spasms, seizures and depression, meaning that patients are relieved of the more disruptive aspects of their illness.

Recent Medical Marijuana Legislation

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Instead of money going into the hands of criminals, MMJ legalization is making New York a much safer state.

Medical Marijuana legislation is big business for the state itself. Recently, California raked in a massive 2.7 billion in marijuana sales across the state – yes, that’s a ‘b’ not an ‘m’! Although the average medical marijuana card holder wouldn’t care much about the massive market this is creating, MMJ sales contribute to the revenue of the state, meaning that it has more money to spend on roads, schools and hospitals. As money is going to the state that once went straight into the hands of criminals, MMJ legalization is making New York communities safer as drug dealers are forced off the streets.

If New York is to rubber stamp the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act that is currently being tabled by legislators, we’ll see even more of a boom in state revenue. This act will essentially legalize all uses of marijuana, regulating it in the same way that alcohol currently is. The market boost that this would bring is a serious motivator for New York state legislators to further the total decriminalization of marijuana.

New York – like the rest of the world – has finally woken up to the wonderful benefits of medical marijuana. As full legalization starts to spread across America, MMJ acceptance will become commonplace, and New York medical marijuana card holders will reap the benefits. Once New York sees the total decriminalization of marijuana, we can realistically expect all the other states to follow suit soon after.

 

Why New York Medical Marijuana Laws Are Stricter Than in California

Why would anyone choose to leave sunny California? The weather is amazing, the people are chill and most importantly, the medical marijuana laws are pretty relaxed.

The Golden State was the first to bring MMJ laws onto its books. While many states have followed suit, not many have as relaxed laws as California does. There is also a great rivalry between the east and west coasts, so how do Californian medical marijuana laws measure up to those in New York state?

MMJ Laws in New York and California

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The main difference between New York medical marijuana laws and California medical cannabis laws are the forms that are legal to consume.

The short answer is that New York has far stricter rules on medical marijuana than California. While California has had MMJ laws on the books since 1996, New York only brought in limited medical marijuana laws on 2014.

The main difference between MMJ in the states is the forms that are legal. In California, you can consume smoking cannabis, edibles, tinctures and pretty much any kind of medical marijuana. However, in New York, there are strict laws in place relating to what can be consumed. Patients may only consume MMJ via oils or sprays to be vaporized or consumed orally. Edibles and cannabis cigarettes are still strictly illegal.

You are also not permitted to grow medical marijuana for your own use, whereas this is permitted in California. This can present issues for patients who experience the best results from cannabis cigarettes or edibles, as opposed to tinctures, oils or vapes.

Medical marijuana benefits different people in different ways, and the forms that you consume them in can often have differing effects. It’s unfortunate that New York state cannot cater to all of its medical marijuana patients, some of which live with chronic and unmanageable pain, but a broader law may come into effect with continued campaigning.

Obtaining Medical Marijuana in New York and California

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In California, the process of obtaining an MMJ card is much easier than obtaining one in New York.

The ways in which you obtain a medical marijuana card in both states are also slightly different. In California, you can visit a medical marijuana professional for an in-person or online consultation. They will ask you the nature of your condition and prescribe medical cannabis to you based on your needs. You then receive your MMJ card and go to your dispensary to pick the form and strain of medical marijuana you need.

In New York, things are far stricter. Patients must suffer from a specified condition that appears on a list that has been ratified by the Commissioner. These conditions include Alzheimer’s Disease, chronic pain (which is very strictly defined) HIV/AIDS, cancer or epilepsy. This means that you need to fit very strict medical criteria before you can even consider seeking a medical marijuana card.

After you have deemed yourself suitable for medical marijuana treatment, you have to visit a registered medical marijuana practitioner. All medical marijuana practitioners must be registered with New York State and noted on a public register. When you visit an MMJ practitioner in New York, they will also decide the appropriate dosage and strain for you, as well as the form you consume it in.

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When you visit an MMJ practitioner in California, you get to decide your appropriate dosage and strain.

In California, that decision is left up to the patient. For example, you can go to a medical marijuana practitioner in New York State, who will decide you need a certain strain, in a certain amount to be administered and consumed in a certain form. You then bring the “prescription” to a dispensary, who can only give you the medical cannabis that the registered practitioner has decided is most appropriate for you.

As medical marijuana practitioners must register with the state, so too must patients. When you receive your MMJ certificate from your practitioner, you must register as a medical marijuana patient online. You will then be sent a card, which will allow you to receive your treatment. You cannot receive any treatment without your identification card.

Dispensaries in New York are also required to be fully registered and can only carry pre-approved products that can be designated to patients. While there is a wide variety of ways to take medical marijuana in California, practitioners in New York are only allowed to certify patients to take certain types and brands, with varying rates of THC and CBD.

As you can see, the measures in New York are far stricter than those in California, and this mostly just comes down to stigma. In California, MMJ has been around for over twenty years, and most citizens are comfortable with the concept, as it has changed so many lives for the better. New York is still coming around to the idea, and is being incredibly strict so as not to be seen to be condoning recreational drug use.

Hopefully, with time, New York will be able to relax its incredibly strict MMJ laws and allow more people access to a lifeline that has changed people from being in so much pain that they cannot function, to being functional members of society.

 

Medical Marijuana and Depression: The Inside Story

There is still a lot of controversy about whether or not medical marijuana is a suitable treatment for depression. Many physicians and scientists are enthusiastic about marijuana’s potential in this area, while others remain skeptical and cautious, wary of recommending what is still seen by some as an unconventional treatment for an illness of this type.

Medical marijuana and its effects on depression is a fascinating area of study. Solid progress is being made, and excitement is growing amongst both experts and laypeople who are interested in learning more.

With over 350 million people worldwide suffering from depression, MMJ is slowly becoming more acceptable as a form of treating the condition.

For many years there has been a large amount of firsthand, anecdotal evidence from depression sufferers that medical cannabis can help them feel much better. But over the last number of years, promising studies have been coming out, and many respected experts have been going on the record about their belief that cannabis can work wonders for depression sufferers.

Current Treatments for Depression

Depression is a big problem in the modern day, with 350 million people worldwide suffer from the condition. More than ever before, depression is at epidemic proportions. It is a major cause of disability, and a very painful, life-hampering condition.

Currently, talk therapy and antidepressant drugs are the most popular methods of treating depression.

With skillfully applied talk therapy, it is possible to reduce, and even sometimes completely alleviate, a bout of depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven to be a particularly effective form of talk therapy in the treatment of depression. Mild and moderate depressions can often be alleviated by therapy without the use of drugs, and this is recommended because the therapy will tend to deal with the root cognitive causes of the depression, thus ‘pulling it up by the roots’.

If a depression is severe (or if it is not, but a doctor is particularly lazy or corrupt), antidepressant drugs are usually prescribed. Unfortunately, antidepressant drugs often have a host of unpleasant side effects.

Tricyclic antidepressants, MAOIs, SSRIs and SNRIs are the four leading forms of antidepressant drug. All of these have negative side effects. These side effects can be even more debilitating than the effects of the depression.

It is unclear whether or not antidepressants are even very effective in the treatment of depression. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported an analysis that showed that antidepressants had little or no positive effect on people suffering with mild to moderate depression, and that they were only effective in cases where people had severe depression.

In the milder cases, they were no more effective than a placebo. ‘Big pharma’ companies make tens of billions of dollars from antidepressants annually, and doctors are often enticed to prescribe a specific company’s drug with financial incentives and gifts of one form or another. Beware.

More and more experts in the field of depression treatment are saying that medical marijuana could be used in conjunction with, or even instead of, antidepressants.

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Since it is unclear whether or not antidepressants are effective in the treatment of depression, more doctors are open to using MMJ as an alternative treatment.

Research Concerning MMJ Use

Recent research by several highly-respected institutions, as well as important industry insiders, is suggesting that medical cannabis use could provide a host of benefits to people who suffer from depression.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo have been studying endocannabinoids; chemical compounds that are naturally produced in the human brain. These compounds affect emotion, cognition and behavior, and are very similar in their makeup to the cannabinoids found in cannabis.

Chronic stress can suppress the brain’s production of endocannabinoids, and this can lead to depression. It seems quite possible that introducing cannabis cannabinoids into a patient’s system could redress this issue and alleviate depression brought on by chronic stress.

Harvard School of Medicine psychiatry professor, Lester Grinspoon, has done a lot of research on medical cannabis and depression, and he concludes “cannabis has a lot of potential in the treatment of mental illness”, but with the caveat that “it will not work for everyone”.

In his 2003 article ‘Cannabis and Depression’, Jay Cavanaugh, PhD, National Director for the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, said that “while cannabis cannot yet be considered a primary treatment of major depression, it may improve mood when used under a physician’s supervision and in combination with therapy and/or SSRI’s”.

In a 2006 research paper called ‘Decreased Depression in Marijuana Users’, Mitch Earleywine PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, and Thomas F. Denson PhD, Professor of Psychology at the California State University at Long Beach, state that people who use medical cannabis “occasionally or even daily have lower levels of depressive symptoms than those who have never tried marijuana”.

Some studies are reporting mixed findings. In 2007, a team at McGill University in Montreal tested the effects of THC on serotonin levels. They found that when taken in low to moderate doses, THC increased serotonin levels in the brain. However, when taken in high doses, THC actually decreased the levels of serotonin in the brain. This research suggests that getting the dosage just right is very important.

So, the inside story on medical marijuana and depression is interesting, fluid, developing, and still a little unclear. Things are looking promising, and a lot of very clever experts are getting very excited, but there is certainly still more work to be done. Watch this space.

California vs New York: Which State is Best for Medical Cannabis?

Now that the medical marijuana card revolution has spread to New York, it can be easy to compare and contrast its laws to those in other states. While it’s not fair to compare MMJ card states with marijuana gold standard states – we’re looking at you, Colorado – comparing MMJ-friendly states against each other gives us a better picture of which state is best to live in if you’re a cannabis card holder.

California was a trailblazer in the legalization of medical marijuana with the introduction of Proposition 215 all the way back in 1996. For this reason, MMJ laws in the Sunshine State are some of the best in the country, leaving other MMJ states in its shadow.

Unfortunately for New York MMJ card carriers, the liberal bastion of the eastern seaboard just hasn’t caught up to California’s super lax laws. In fairness to them, they only legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2014, so we can’t exactly hold them to California’s standard, which has been over 20 years in the making.

Qualifying Ailments for MMJ

The biggest area where Californian cannabis laws outshine New York’s is by their classification of qualifying ailments. In California, there is a broad lists of qualifying conditions that allow you to apply for a medical marijuana card. This includes anything from menstrual cramps and anxiety, to cancer and everything in between. Thanks to this, anyone in need of the ameliorative effects of cannabis can access it.

New York’s list of qualifying conditions is significantly smaller, and comes with specific stipulations. To get a medical marijuana card in New York, you must suffer from a life-threatening illness. According to the medical marijuana program, this is limited to cancerHIV, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, Huntington’s disease and chronic pain.

In addition to these limitations, your condition must present you with life-limiting symptoms in order to qualify for an MMJ card. A doctor can not, and will not, prescribe you medical cannabis outside of these conditions due to the intense pressure put on them by the New York Medical Marijuana Program.

Cannabis Cultivation Laws in New York and California

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One downside for MMJ card holders in New York: it’s strictly banned in the state to grow cannabis at home.

Home cultivation is strictly banned in New York, with the state’s needs for cultivation limited to production by ten companies. This presents problems for cannabis card holders who prefer to home grow due to mobility issues.

California, by contrast, allows MMJ card carriers to grow six mature plants or 12 immature plants at home once they have the required growers license. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, there doesn’t seem to be any plans on the horizon to ease home growing laws.

Consumption Laws for Medical Marijuana

Noticeably, you won’t see any medical marijuana card holders smoking MMJ in New York, as smoking the plant is strictly illegal. Governor Cuomo never gave a real explanation as to why this is, with many people speculating that he wanted to distance his MMJ program from methods of consumption that would typically be associated with recreational use. While this isn’t a major problem for most cannabis card carriers – a lot of them would steer clear from smoking due to the obvious health effects. This can be a nuisance for the small few who prefer to smoke their MMJ.

Similarly, the consumption of medical marijuana edibles is banned in New York. Unlike smoking, a significant amount of MMJ card holders would consume this way. Using edibles has a whole host of benefits – and is tasty, to boot – so some patients were very disappointed with this law. Being the bastion of MMJ goodness that it is, Californian medical marijuana law allows both smoking and the consumption of edibles once you’re suitably discreet about it.

Getting a Cannabis Card in California and New York

Acquiring a cannabis card in California is a much easier process than it is in New York. In Cali, all you need to do is complete a short, noninvasive online consultation with a licensed mental health professional and voilà, you got yourself a California medical marijuana card! In New York, it takes a little bit longer to do.

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Just like sitting in New York traffic can be a painfully long process, so can acquiring a New York MMJ card.

First, you must go to a doctor and tell them about your illness and your need for a medical marijuana card. 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 prescribe you MMJ, and you’ll be left feeling disappointed. If you have a qualifying ailment and they think you’re suitable for it, they’ll recommend you for medical marijuana certification.

Following this, you’ll have to register for your Registry ID Card. You do this by applying via the Department of Health’s Online Patient Registration System. Once your application is rigorously reviewed, you’ll be sent out your ID in the mail. You’ll need to bring this with you when you visit the MMJ dispensary in New York.

New York’s medical cannabis laws are only in their infancy, so it’s pretty understandable for them to be so far behind their western cousins on the MMJ front. Thankfully, further relaxations of New York’s MMJ laws are on the horizon, with the possibility of total legalization looking likely within the next five years – not bad for a state who only decriminalized MMJ three years ago!

Until then, New York can continue to look to California for inspiration on how to make their state more MMJ-friendly.

 

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.

Will Medical Marijuana in New York Match California in Popularity?

The Californian medical marijuana card program is a shining beacon of MMJ best practice. Those who need to get an MMJ card can do so easily, and without many stipulations delaying the process. As Cali MMJ card holders face so little roadblocks in accessing marijuana, they’re rarely left unnecessarily suffering. This ease of access means that medical marijuana is naturally very popular in California.

California not only makes getting a medical marijuana card very easy, but it also has the infrastructure in place to deal with the high demand. Dispensaries are dotted generously throughout the state, meaning that regardless of where you are, you can easily acquire MMJ.

Unfortunately, not all states can mirror Cali’s wonderful MMJ laws. While New York has been making some concrete steps towards becoming more MMJ-friendly since its legalization in 2014, roadblocks still exist for medical marijuana card holders looking to acquire the plant.

Access to MMJ in New York

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Because many physicians in New York are reluctant to prescribe medical marijuana, people outside of Manhattan have a very tough time accessing it.

As New York’s medical marijuana laws are still in their infancy, doctors – especially doctors outside of the city – are unsure of how to toe the line in regards who they can and can’t prescribe MMJ to. For this reason, a lot of physicians around the state are very reluctant to prescribe MMJ, with most of them point blank refusing to prescribe it at all for fear that they’d lose their license. This means that medical marijuana card carriers living outside of Manhattan have a very tough time accessing MMJ.

A lot of prospective MMJ card holders simply cannot make hour-long trips to willing doctors due to the fact that they are oftentimes limited in their movements by their ailment. This unfortunate situation means that the popularity of medical marijuana in New York is dwarfed by that of California.

Medical Marijuana Ailments

In New York, the list of qualifying ailments deemed suitable for the medical marijuana program is much shorter than that of the Sunshine State. In most cases, you must have a life-threatening illness such as MS, AIDS or cancer in order to be considered for the program. This is further complicated by the fact that your illness must also present you with significant life-limiting symptoms like chronic pain or muscle spasms.

A huge number of Californians would have their medical marijuana card in order to treat ailments that are not deemed suitable in New York. Medical marijuana is used to treat all manner of illnesses in California like depression, anxiety, epilepsy and PTSD, and these generous laws are what give life to its popularity there.

Until New York loosens what it considers to be an allowable condition for MMJ treatment, the popularity of medical marijuana in the state will continue to dwindle.

New York vs California MMJ Laws

The banning of certain consumption methods is another thing attributed to the low popularity of medical marijuana in New York. There is a blanket ban on smoking MMJ across the entirety of the state. Most people attribute this to the fact that weed skeptic Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to distance New York’s medical marijuana laws from consumption methods that would typically be associated with recreational users, rather than users with MMJ cards.

For this same suspected reason, the consumption of medical marijuana edibles in New York is banned, too. While most MMJ card carriers could get over the smoking ban, banning edibles is a tougher pill to swallow. As ingesting your medical marijuana has tons of benefits, it is the consumption method of choice for a lot of cannabis card holders across the country. The outright ban of edibles has thusly negatively impacted upon the popularity of MMJ in New York.

A lot of the contributing factors as to why medical marijuana is so much less popular in New York than in California can easily be put down to the fact that New York’s medical marijuana laws are much younger than California’s – by a whopping 18 years! Having legalized MMJ all the way back in 1996, California weed legislation has gone through many evolutions, eventually giving rise to the super MMJ-friendly state we have today.

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Medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, making the Golden State a trailblazer for other MMJ-friendly states.

As weed has been a mainstay of Californian health law since the 90s, it’s more normalized there than it is in New York. Adding to that the fact that recently California announced that it would be legalizing the drug entirely, it’s no wonder that the popularity here outnumbers that of New York so starkly.

Recent New York Medical Marijuana Bills

Thankfully for New Yorkers, the Empire State is moving closer and closer to full legalization of marijuana every day. Recently, two bills were submitted by NY legislators that would potentially create regulations that would see marijuana being taxed and controlled in the same way that alcohol currently is. Not only would this create a huge influx of revenue for the state, but it would also mean that those caught in possession of up to two ounces of marijuana would face no criminal charges – way to go New York!

Eventually, medical marijuana will be just as popular in New York as it is in California. Until then, we’ve just gotta be happy that New York – like a lot of other states – is slowly but surely moving towards being much more MMJ-friendly.

Is it Safe to Consume Medical Marijuana if I Have Depression?

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting a staggering 350 million people. In stark contrast to its prevalence, depression often goes entirely untreated, leaving those suffering from this debilitating disease without the help they so desperately need.

For at least the past 400 years, marijuana has been used to treat the symptoms of depression. There is evidence to suggest that long before the advent of medical marijuana cards, the wonder plant was used in India in order to combat the ailment, and since then, this treatment has evolved little due to its simple but effective nature.

MMJ: A Matter of Opinion

Although we’d love to tell you an emphatic ‘yes!’ when you ask if it’s safe to consume MMJ if you have depression, we simply cannot do this. As with all medical treatments, the effectiveness of using MMJ to treat depression depends on the person being treated. While some MMJ card holders would swear that the plant alleviates all their depressive symptoms, others may find that it can worsen their condition.

Lester Grinspoon, psychiatry professor at the Harvard School of Medicine, has gone on the record to say “I think cannabis has a lot of potential in the treatment of mental illness”. However, he too recognizes that like other treatment plans, “it will not work for everyone”.

The Science Behind Medical Marijuana

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Plant

Endocannabinoids are chemical compounds in our brain that play an integral role in cognition, emotional response, behavior regulation and motor function.

Dubbed ‘Green Prozac’ by some medical marijuana card holders, it’s no doubt that MMJ has the potential to be a miracle treatment for depression. While the evaluation of cannabis as a form of natural antidepressant is still in its infant stages, initial research suggests that by and large, medical marijuana does have a positive impact on the moods of those suffering with the ailment.

This is thought to be because of the naturally occurring endocannabinoids that exist within our brains. These chemical compounds play an integral role in cognition, emotional response, behavior regulation and motor function, and their chemical makeup is strikingly similar to that of marijuana.

When we’re put under undue stress, the production of these all important endocannabinoids hit an all-time low, meaning that our psychological state is compromised. When medical marijuana card holders ingest the plant, these endocannabinoids are restored by the cannabinoids in the plant, thus reinstating their emotional equilibrium.

Using MMJ as an Alternative to Medication

Medical marijuana is often viewed as a more natural alternative to using antidepressants, which can come loaded with nefarious side effects. Unfortunately, due to the fact that a lot of doctors are wrapped around Big Pharma’s fingers, they can be eager to prescribe these unpleasant drugs – often in high doses – to patients in order to line their own pockets.

If your antidepressants have you suffering from these unwelcome side effects, you could benefit from treating your ailment with medical marijuana instead. Some people like to come off medication entirely in favor of MMJ, but it’s only recommended to do so on advice from a licensed physician.

If you’re new to the plant, it’s wise to use MMJ as a supplement to your prescribed antidepressants until you think you’re in a good enough headspace to come off them entirely.

As medical marijuana is often used as a pain suppressant, this has the secondary impact of depression reduction in MMJ card holders who suffer from chronic pain. Not only does medical marijuana reduce chronic pain in those suffering from it, it also treats its side effects like insomnia and lack of appetite.

The enhanced independence and mobility that comes with reducing chronic pain mean that these cannabis card holders see their mood significantly improve as their horizons widen again.

Medical Marijuana is Not for Everyone

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If after using MMJ, you feel like your symptoms are worse, then you should let your prescribing physician know as soon as possible.

Similar to other drugs, marijuana will not work to reduce depression in everyone. In fact, in some rare cases, it has been observed to significantly worsen the mood of some MMJ card holders suffering with the debilitating disease. This is thought to be because ingesting cannabis can raise THC levels in the body, which in turn can affect our serotonin production.

Serotonin is the chemical in the body that regulates our happiness, so it’s imperative that we produce as much of it as we can. If this production becomes stifled by consuming MMJ, some medical marijuana card holders may see their good mood deplete.

In more extreme cases, cannabis use has been seen to trigger schizophrenia and psychosis in susceptible patients, although research suggesting this isn’t entirely robust.

Medical marijuana card holders who have been newly prescribed MMJ to treat their depression are advised to monitor their moods closely. If you feel like your symptoms may be significantly worsening, with no sign of reprieve, then you should return to the physician who prescribed it to you and voice your concerns. They will alter your treatment plan – perhaps to a different MMJ strain – and will ask you to continue to monitor your progress.

If you still feel unsure of your condition after another period of time, it’s advisable that you stop your course of medical marijuana.

Successful Strains of MMJ

Different strains of medical marijuana vary in how successful they are at treating certain ailments. Strains that are particularly effective at treating depression include AK-47, Chiesel, Blue Dream and Amnesia Haze.

Depression is an incredibly complex condition, which means there is no clear-cut answer on this one. Using medical marijuana to treat depression can be extremely effective for some people, but it can lead to a worsening of symptoms for others.

As with any medical treatment plan, it’s imperative that you talk through your options in detail with your physician before deciding on any course of action.

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!

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.

Getting Your New York Medical Marijuana Card

New York’s Health Commissioner Howard Zucker recently announced that chronic pain has been added to the list of medical conditions that qualify a patient for medical cannabis use in the state. This change in the law opens the door to many thousands of potential MMJ patients who may want to treat their chronic pain conditions with medical marijuana. If you decide to get a New York medical marijuana card, here are some things you need to remember.

Qualifying Conditions

The medical conditions that qualify you to get a New York medical marijuana card are cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, epilepsy, spinal cord injury with spasticity, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, or chronic pain. Whichever condition you have, it must also be accompanied by one of the following symptoms: severe nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, cachexia or wasting syndrome, or severe or chronic pain.

The March 22, 2017, introduction of chronic pain as a condition that qualifies a patient for medical marijuana use considerably broadened the scope of who can use MMJ in New York. Chronic pain is a symptom of many medical conditions, so its inclusion on the list makes it possible for many thousands of people with a whole host of illnesses that up until recently had been excluded from availing of medical marijuana.

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Chronic pain has been added to the list of medical conditions that qualify a patient for medical cannabis use in New York.

It is important to remember that, at this point in time, conditions such as depression, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder and rheumatoid arthritis do not qualify a person to get a cannabis card in New York.

Getting a New York Medical Marijuana Card

The first step to getting a medical marijuana card in New York is to contact a New York Department of Health-registered physician so they can decide whether you are eligible to use medical cannabis to treat your specific condition and symptoms.

On your doctor’s certificate, it should state the brand and form of approved medical cannabis product you are being prescribed, the administration method, any limitations on the use of that product as well as any dosage recommendations.

Registering as a Medical Cannabis User

Once you have your MMJ certificate from a registered physician, you need to register as a medicinal cannabis user with the New York Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program (this can be done through their online Patient Registration System). There is a non-refundable $50 application fee. But the department is currently waiving this fee for all patients and designated caregivers. To have the fee waived, select “Bill Me Later” when completing your online registration. When you have completed registration you will receive a Registry Identification Card, usually within seven working days. This Registry Identification Card is your marijuana card. Hurray!

When you have completed registration you will receive a Registry Identification Card, usually within seven working days. This Registry Identification Card is your marijuana card. Hurray!

Understanding Caregiver Rules

If a patient is a minor (under 18 years old) or incapable of consenting to medical treatment for some reason, the application can be made by a caregiver. A patient can have up to two caregivers. A caregiver can have up to five patients. A caregivers must be registered with the Department of Health, be over 21 years old, be a resident of New York and have a New York driver’s license or ID card, be either a parent or guardian of the patient, a person designated by the patient’s parent or guardian, or a suitable person approved by the Department of Health if no parent or legal guardian is available.

Buying Medical Marijuana in New York

Your New York medical marijuana card allows you to buy medical cannabis products in any one of the state’s dispensaries. The products available in New York dispensaries are limited to oils and liquids for vaporization or administration by inhaler, as well as orally administered tablets. Smoking cannabis is still banned, as are edibles.

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Even with your New York medical marijuana card, smoking medical cannabis is still banned, as are edibles.

There are two mandated medical marijuana products that all New York dispensaries stock. One has a low-THC high-CBD ratio, and the other is a 50050 ratio. Each dispensary also has a variety of other MMJ products available that you can buy with your New York medical marijuana card.

Your card enables you to purchase a 30-day supply of medical cannabis products.

Sadly, your New York medical marijuana card does not allow you to cultivate your own herb in your own home. Hopefully, this will become an option in the not too distant future.

New York has one of the country’s newest programs, and it is still a little bit too limited, but at least the state has now got the ball rolling. The number of weed card holders in New York is rising steadily, and hopefully, the program will be tweaked and improved in the years to come.

Your Rights When Traveling with Medical Marijuana

Lots of people may think that there’s no reason to leave California. With sunny weather and a wide variety of cities, people, cuisines and activities, residents of the Golden State could be forgiven for staying put. However, if you’re someone who has been bitten by the travel bug, what options do you have for traveling with your medical marijuana?

It can be scary and alienating, so read our handy guide to the logistics of traveling with medical marijuana before the pre-travel panic sets in! It is not easy to travel with MMJ, so if you’re really panicking, it may be better to stay within California. However, if you really want or need to travel and if you’re able to follow some of our advice, you may find the process slightly less stressful.

Traveling by Car

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As medical marijuana laws vary from state to state, things can become tricky when you leave sunny California.

Arguably, this is probably the easiest option as you’re the boss in terms of what goes in and out of your vehicle. It may limit you in terms of how far you can go, but as far as the roads are concerned, you should be OK — as long as you don’t cause trouble.

You need to become familiar with the medical marijuana laws of the state to which you are traveling. As medical marijuana laws vary from state to state, things can become tricky when you leave sunny California. The bad news is that even if you travel somewhere with legal medical marijuana, you may not be able to bring MMJ products from another state across the border. You will also be unable to buy medical marijuana without a valid MMJ card for that state, for which you must be a legal resident.

In addition, for those who grow their own, it is usually illegal to transport marijuana plants across state borders, regardless of the medical marijuana laws in your home state and the state you’re traveling to.

If you’re worried about the legality, it may be easier to stay home, but it is possible to be discreet in your MMJ use if you’re careful. Obviously, avoid toking up in public, and stick to odorless vaping as this can be disguised as tobacco. Even better is edibles as they can be easily disguised as run-of-the-mill food items — as long as you don’t share them with anyone! 

Traveling by Train

The same rules apply with traveling by train as by car except that you will have to be more discreet as you will be surrounded by fellow passengers and rail staff. In addition, you will be subject to the rules and regulations of your rail carrier, which will likely follow federal law, which states that marijuana is an illegal drug.

It is also illegal to smoke on most trains, so vaping or smoking is out regardless of your preference. It may be easier to employ edibles, as advised above, or tinctures, which are an excellent option when you’re in need of a discreet way to take your medical marijuana.

 Traveling by Air

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Federal law is also the letter of the land in airports, so the TSA is likely to be harsh on patients who travel with MMJ, regardless of their legal status in their home state.

Air is by far the most difficult option when traveling with medical marijuana. The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, carry out incredibly strict bag checks, and sniffer dogs are often employed in major airports to detect drugs. Federal law is also the letter of the land in airports, so the TSA is likely to be harsh on patients who travel with MMJ, regardless of their legal status in their home state.

The reality is that you are unlikely to get away with traveling with any form of medical marijuana, be it buds, oil, tinctures or edibles. The TSA is just too strict, and the checks carried out are just too thorough. If caught with any form of marijuana, be it recreational or medicinal, the TSA can confiscate your items or refer you to law enforcement, who can arrest, charge or caution you depending on the severity of your offense.

Sadly, the medical marijuana laws at a federal level have failed to catch up with the 29 states, along with the District of Columbia, that have legalized cannabis for medical usage, and federal laws govern most of the traveling that happens in the U.S. If in doubt, it’s better to travel without your medical marijuana as it is often just not worth the legal trouble.

If you’re unable to go without, research vacation options within California. From wine country in Napa to glamorous Los Angeles and techy San Francisco, there are lots of options open to you as a user of medical marijuana. Sometimes it’s just better to have the peace of mind that comes with staying put and being able to go about your business as you see fit while treating your conditions in the way you’re able to in California. Happy travels!

8 Surprising Facts About Medical Marijuana

So you want to win friends and influence people? Well, there is nothing in the world that will do that job better than a few interesting medical marijuana facts sprinkled judiciously into your conversations. People will find you irresistibly good company when you are armed with these little nuggets of golden information!

Here are eight strange and surprising facts about medical marijuana that you can use to impress and entertain your friends, colleagues, dispensary buddies and family.

Carl Sagan Wrote About the Benefits of Cannabis Under a Pseudonym

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It was only after Carl Sagan’s death that it was revealed that he had written about medical marijuana under a pseudonym.

Sagan, the iconic astrophysicist and science writer, wrote at least one article singing the praises of his favorite herb. It was published in a 1971 book called Reconsidering Marijuana. It was only after his death that it was revealed that he had written the piece under a pseudonym. Marijuana was strictly prohibited in the early 1970s in America, and a high-profile interstellar explorer such as Sagan had to keep his cannabis use a closely guarded secret — hence the concealed identity.

The Iconic English Playwright William Shakespeare Enjoyed Smoking Weed

Of the 24 pipes found at Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon home that were tested in a laboratory at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, eight were discovered to contain marijuana residue. This strongly suggests that the great writer liked to get high (maybe he had a ye olde cannabis card). This is not very surprising given the mind-expanding and creativity-inducing qualities of smoking cannabis.

American English Contains More Than 200 Slang Words for Marijuana

And that means there are also more 200 words for medical marijuana, too:

Medical ganga, medical weed, medical grass, medical doobie, medical chronic, medical blunt, medical bammer, medical wacky tobaccy, medical herbal refreshment, medical skunk weed, medical left-handed cigarette, medical hippie lettuce, medical fatty boom blatty, medical bubonic chronic and — best of all — medical sticky icky icky!

Denver Has More Cannabis Dispensaries Than Starbucks

This is bad news for fans of beige, middle-of-the-road, mega-twee folk playlists and ever-so-slightly burnt coffee but good news for fans of all things marijuana-related in Colorado’s biggest city. Denver’s streets contain more weed dispensaries than Starbucks locations. Soon, they will have more weed shops than McDonald’s restaurants, too, and then shortly after that, maybe Denver will just become one giant marijuana dispensary! 

Yosemite Rock Climbers in the 1970s Loved to Use Medical Marijuana

In 1977, a Mexican plane carrying 6 tons of cannabis crashed in Yosemite National Park. The local rock climbers who practically lived in the park were first to the crash site — and they took the weed. That was a good summer in Yosemite! They smoked the weed for its medicinal effects (it did wonders to ease aching limbs after a long day climbing) and because they liked the feeling of being high! Rock climbing became more creative in the summer of 1977. Many strange and interesting new routes up El Capitan were discovered thanks to those 6tonss of Mexican herb!

George Washington Used Medical Marijuana

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George Washington wrote in letters on numerous occasions about his weed-growing exploits.

The first president of the United States of America wore some horrendously uncomfortable dentures. For some releaf (hehe) from the discomfort, he smoked cannabis. This was long before the California medical marijuana card came on the scene, so the great politician grew his own herb. He wrote in letters on numerous occasions about his weed-growing exploits. He took his pot growing very seriously and was always experimenting with ways to create the best, most pain-zapping weed possible. 

Medical Marijuana Legalization Reduces Suicide Rates

A study has shown that since medical cannabis was legalized in the state of Colorado, the overall suicide rate fell by 5 percent, the suicide rate of males between the ages of 20 and 29 fell by 11 percent, and the suicide rate of 30- to 39-year-old males fell by 9 percent. So, living in a legal medical marijuana card state makes you quite a bit less likely to kill yourself. Good news! 

The Chilean Miners Trapped Underground in the Atacama Desert in 2010 Medicated with Cannabis

When the San José copper–gold mine collapsed in 2010 trapping 33 men underground, one of the first things that was dropped down to them (after absolute essentials) was some medical herb. It was a highly stressful situation for the men involved, and medical cannabis was used to keep them calm and relaxed under such extreme conditions.

Those eight interesting facts will absolutely win you friends, lovers, discounts, free drinks, complimentary bowls, invites to dinner parties, promotions at work and, hell, maybe even a wonderful spouse!

MMJ Myth-busting: Separating Fact from Fiction

Experimenting with medical marijuana can be very intimidating for a lot of people. The sad thing is that there are many types of people who could benefit from MMJ who are being put off by the hype, stigma and lies surrounding its use. Luckily, we’re here to bust some of the most common myths surrounding medical marijuana so that you can get back to consuming your medication without worrying about myths over truths.

Myth: MMJ Is Only for Stoners

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The primary reason for using MMJ is not getting high. It is the legitimate treatment of debilitating conditions.

This is probably one of the most pervasive arguments that people use when showing their disdain for MMJ. Medical marijuana is not the same as street-level weed used for recreational purposes. People with MMJ cards are patients who have seen medical professionals who deem them worthy of treatment with medical marijuana. The process is legal, safe and not about getting high. Most users of medical marijuana view getting high as a side effect of their medication as opposed to the main reason for consuming it in the first place. Now, we’re not saying that you can’t enjoy the high! Of course, it can be a fun side effect, but the primary reason for using MMJ is not getting high. It is the legitimate treatment of debilitating conditions.

Myth: Medical Professionals Don’t Approve of Medical Marijuana

In California, there is a legal process for obtaining MMJ cards. Firstly, you must attend a consultation, either in person or online, with a fully qualified doctor. The doctor must conclude that you need a medical marijuana card. They must then write a letter, outlining your condition and why you require MMJ to treat yourself. This can then be used to obtain MMJ from a dispensary. There are countless doctors in California who approve of the use of medical marijuana for a variety conditions, and some even work solely on writing letters of recommendation for medical marijuana to those who need it. Do not be self-conscious about seeking help for your condition via medical marijuana. If you are in California, it is very easy to find medical professionals who are passionate about this form of treatment and who want to help patients access it as easily and quickly as possible in a perfectly legal manner.

Myth: MMJ Leads to the Abuse of Hard Drugs

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Although there have been some links shown between the use of cannabis and harder drugs such as meth, cocaine and heroin, it is clear those who use marijuana medicinally do not have this issue.

There is a big difference between using a drug recreationally and using it to treat the symptoms of an illness. Although there have been some links shown between the use of cannabis and harder drugs such as meth, cocaine and heroin, it is clear those who use marijuana medicinally do not have this issue. By treating MMJ as a medication instead of an illicit drug, the stigma of its use for this reason can be broken. By continuing to associate medical marijuana with drug abuse, the false links among addiction, criminal activity and the use of medical cannabis will continue to be spread. This is incredibly negative for the many patients who use MMJ daily to manage their conditions and who may be easily put off by what they perceive to be the danger of opening a gate to hard drugs via the legitimate use of medical marijuana as an alleviative treatment for chronic conditions.

Myth: Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Have Proven Benefits

The benefits of MMJ are obvious to anyone who has ever used it to treat an ongoing or chronic condition. MMJ, depending on the strain, can alleviate symptoms associated with numerous illnesses and conditions, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple sclerosis. Cancer sufferers have also reported that MMJ can ease the side effects of chemotherapy, which can often be incredibly grueling. If patient testimony is anything to go by, medical marijuana has a variety of benefits and allows patients suffering from a wide range of illnesses to go out and live their best lives while unwell.

Myth: MMJ Is a Cure-all for Illnesses and Diseases

Although MMJ is an amazing medicine that can help alleviate many conditions, it has not been shown to cure any major condition. Medical marijuana serves its purpose as an alleviative drug. It treats symptoms as opposed to the root causes of illnesses, which is why it is so helpful in assisting patients who suffer from long-term and chronic conditions. Although this may be disappointing for those looking for a quick fix, it shows that MMJ can be incredibly helpful for people who have been put on a variety of pharmaceutical solutions to treat different symptoms of chronic conditions. It’s just about treating your conditions with the best medication available, one of which can be medical marijuana.

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.

Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Florida: The Steps That Need to Be Taken

More than 70 percent of Floridians voted in favor of Amendment 2. The new amendment will be a game changer for Florida medical marijuana patients, caregivers and health care professionals. It will revamp the state’s alternative health care laws and massively modernize the very conservative and limiting Florida medical cannabis laws that have been in existence since 2014.

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Despite the landslide majority vote in favor of more liberal Florida MMJ laws and the impending deadline for implementation, there is still heated debate happening around medical marijuana.

Amendment 2 will ensure much better protection for industry workers, patients, caregivers and physicians. It will also make medical marijuana a realistic and safe treatment option for many people in the state of Florida who, up until now, would not have been eligible for treatment with a cannabis card. Once the new rules are in place, there will be a much wider variety of medical cannabis products, as well as a larger spectrum of strains and strengths, from which to choose. This is all wonderful news for Florida and its inhabitants.

The state is legally required to adopt new medical marijuana laws by July 3, 2017. There will then be a bedding-in period of a few months before the state is obliged to have the new system fully up and running by September 2017.

Despite the landslide majority vote in favor of more liberal Florida MMJ laws and the impending deadline for implementation, there is still heated debate happening within the corridors of power, not to mention homes, cafes and public meeting spaces throughout the state, about the exact nature of the new MMJ laws and the specific details of what the new rules should look like. Many details of the new Florida medical marijuana program have yet to be finalized.

The debate is so heated in Florida because there are conservative in positions of power in the state who are not happy about the adoption of what they regard as laxer drug laws. It is due to these competing factions that much has yet to be decided.

How Much Medical Marijuana Can Patients Get?

Although it is fairly clear that patients will qualify for marijuana treatment with a variety of illnesses such as glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms — similar to other legal MMJ states — it is still not clear what size of prescriptions the law will allow for various conditions. It has yet to be decided how much medical marijuana a patient will be allowed to acquire each day. Will it be left up to the discretion of the patient? Or will there be limits on the amount of herb a person can buy depending on what condition they are suffering from? It is hoped that the Department of Health will decide to allow a flexible amount of medical cannabis to be available and for the patient to decide what they require.

Which Medical Marijuana Products Will Be Available?

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The only thing known is there will be no cap on the amount of THC medical cannabis products sold in the state can contain.

What medical marijuana products will be available has also not yet been finalized. It is hoped and expected that a wide range of products — from edibles to oils to aerosols and ointments to fresh and dried bud — will be available from dispensaries. But the exact details of what will be available are still unclear. What is known is that there will be no cap on the amount of THC medical cannabis products sold in the state can contain. 

What Are the Zoning Laws?

One particular point of contention that is proving particularly difficult to sort out is the exact details of zoning laws for dispensaries. There will be a large increase in a number of dispensaries opening in the state, and not every citizen or city is happy about having a dispensary in their locality. Many cities and districts, including Miami Beach, have put a temporary freeze on new dispensaries opening in their jurisdictions while they attempt to iron out the issues in a way that pleases as many local residents as possible. This is an issue that urgently needs to be sorted out.

What Qualifies a Person as a Caregiver?

It also remains to be decided exactly what circumstances and conditions will qualify a person to become a caregiver, how many people one person can be a caregiver for, and what exactly being a caregiver will allow a person to do on behalf of the patients they are caring for.

What Will It Cost to Join the Registry?

Another detail that remains undecided is the cost of applying to join the Florida Patient Registry. Joining the registry will be mandatory, but the costs involved remain unclear.

Can You Grow at Home?

Unfortunately, under the new amendment home growing will remain illegal. This puts the Florida medical marijuana program well behind other legal MMJ states such as California and Colorado on this issue. Allowing patients to grow their own herb, just as they like it, would have been a huge step in the right direction. Sadly, this is a step Florida did not take on this occasion. Hopefully, in the near future, there will be a rethink on this particular detail of the state’s medical cannabis program.

What About State vs Federal MMJ Laws?

One last gray area (and this applies to all legal medical marijuana states) is the contradiction between state MMJ laws and federal cannabis law. There is nothing the state itself can do about this issue, but surely, as more and more states vote to legalize medical cannabis, it will become unrealistic and silly for the federal government not to look into changing federal MMJ laws concerning medical weed.

It is an exciting time for Florida. They are joining the medical marijuana party in earnest. Amendment 2 will not be a silver bullet — it will have shortcomings, not allowing home cultivation being an obvious example — but it is a big leap in the right direction. There are a number of steps that still need to be taken and decisions that need to be made before full implementation is possible. Time is running out. Get your skates on Florida!

How and Why the State of New York Legalized Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been legal in the U.S. since 1996 — if you live in California that is. For other states, it’s been an uphill battle to legalize medical cannabis, and for some, the battle rages on. As of May 2017, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, and several others allow the use of marijuana in its oil form, with limitations on THC content (i.e., the psychoactive component of the drug).

Even where medical cannabis is legalized, the medical marijuana laws regarding its use vary wildly from state to state. The legalization of marijuana for recreational use is also shifting rapidly across the U.S., muddying the waters on medical marijuana laws and marijuana usage as a whole.

Although California is leading the charge on both fronts, especially when it comes to medical marijuana, over on the East Coast, the traditionally liberal and progressive New York has put in place a surprisingly restrictive and limited medical cannabis program. The state became the 23rd in the U.S. to embrace medical marijuana when it was made legal in mid-2014 under an act known as the Compassionate Care Act, signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At the beginning of his tenure, Cuomo announced plans to introduce medical marijuana legally to the state but was also noted and criticized for his long-held anti-marijuana position. Although Cuomo stated he was receptive to change on the medical marijuana front and approached the subject with an open mind, many feared that his medical marijuana laws would be too strict.

Medical Marijuana Laws in New York

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The state became the 23rd in the U.S. to embrace medical marijuana when it was made legal in mid-2014 under an act known as the Compassionate Care Act, signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

These fears turned out to be well-founded upon the introduction of the CCA, which contained a critical clause that allows the New York Department of health to pull the plug on the medical marijuana program any time it chooses.

The list of qualifying conditions is also fairly short compared to other states, with only severe illnesses entitling patients to medical cannabis. On top of this, doctors can be punished under federal law for suppling marijuana to a patient who doesn’t fit the required conditions.

The narrow qualifying conditions include cancer, ALS and other motor neuron diseases, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. This means that only around 10 percent of patients who could benefit from marijuana can actually legally avail of it, which is seen by many as far too restrictive.

The number of dispensaries allowed statewide is also pretty narrow, with only up to 20 dispensaries being grated licenses and only five manufacturers being granted the permission to grow marijuana. For as state composed of just under 20 million people, this seems relatively minuscule to medical marijuana advocates.

No Smoking Medical Cannabis in New York

Another measure that is seen as overly harsh, particularly when compared to other states, is the decision to forbid the smoking of medical marijuana, the most traditional method of taking the medicine. This is regarded as another attempt to appear anti-marijuana by the overly conservative Cuomo.

But it considerably limits patients’ methods and ease with which to avail of their medicine. As it stands, patients are only allowed to consume medical marijuana through vaporization, oils, foods and pills, which is, unfortunately, not the cheapest ways to consume the drug — or the most effective.

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In New York, you can’t legally smoke medical marijuana.

Smoking marijuana has traditionally been held as the quickest way to avail of the drug’s effects. When it comes to chronic and severe pain relief, most patients will want their medicine to work as quick as possible, forcing them to illegally smoke it or purchase a vaporizer, costing them hundreds of dollars on top of the amount they’ve already paid for the medicine. Cuomo and his supporters argued that smoking is not in the interest of public health, but this particular decree is seen by many as yet another attempt by Cuomo to straddle the line.

Just before the bill’s introduction in 2014, the governor spoke about the upcoming legislation.

“We’re going to be sending up a bill shortly that we believes strikes the right balance,” he said.

It was the result of near-constant pressure from medical marijuana advocates, lead by Sen. Diane Savino, the Senate sponsor of the bill, and Assembly sponsor Richard Gottfried. Assemblyman Gottfried admitted the bill was a compromise and also expressed concerns about the projected 18-month implication, concerns which turned out to be largely unfounded as the program got up and running on schedule.

It was a thorny path to medical marijuana legalization in New York, but now that it’s here, hopefully, things can continue to improve. There are certainly signs of it, with advocates campaigning for new conditions to be added to the list of qualifiers. Just recently post-traumatic stress disorder was accepted on the list, expanding some horizons in that sense. At the end of last year, the state Department of Health announced that it will be lifting and revising growth limits due to increased pressure from advocates and patients alike. All in all, things look good for the future of medical marijuana in New York.

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.

The Legality of Medical Marijuana in New York Explained

The legality of medical marijuana in the states has come a long way and has overcome many obstacles since 1906 when heavy restrictions were placed on marijuana. At one point, it was even classified as a poison. Today, however, marijuana for medical purposes is legal in 29 states, including New York. Since 2014, thanks to the Compassionate Care Act, patients are now allowed to use marijuana for medicinal purposes to treat illnesses such as cancer, HIV and AIDs. There has been evidence that medical marijuana can help with problems from glaucoma to epileptic seizures. People have also reported that medical cannabis has helped with inflammation and pain and with coping with the side effects of chemotherapy.

Medical Marijuana Laws in New York

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New York holds much stricter medical marijuana laws, especially with regards to the qualifying diseases and the form of medicine allowed.

In comparison to other states such as California, however, New York holds much stricter medical marijuana laws, especially with regards to the qualifying diseases and the form of medicine allowed.

First, only a handful of illnesses is considered qualifying conditions if you want to try medical cannabis. Cancer, Parkinson’s disease, AIDs and multiple sclerosis are just a few of the ailments. However, recent medical marijuana laws have loosened to allow chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder to be classified as a qualifying illness that could allow for the treatment using medical marijuana. This means that if you have severe pain for three months or more that has not responded well to other treatment, then you can apply for a certification from a medical practitioner.

How to Apply for Medical Cannabis in New York

There are a few stages when it comes to applying for medical marijuana. It is not simply a case of going to your doctor and asking for a prescription, which is actually illegal. The first step is to see if your condition comes under the list of qualifying ailments.

The next step is to ensure that your medical practitioner is registered with the New York Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. Only then can they give you a certification for medical cannabis.

Once you have received your certification, you need to register for the Medical Marijuana Program through the department’s online patient registration system.

The last step is waiting to receive a registry identification card, which you will have to show when you go to the dispensary facility.

Where to Buy Medical Marijuana in New York

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There are currently less than 1,000 qualified doctors in the city who can prescribe medical marijuana.

Out of around 2,000 dispensaries in the United States, there are only a few dispensaries available in New York. Moreover, there are currently less than 1,000 qualified doctors in the city who can prescribe medical marijuana.

Why is this number so low? It is likely to do with the fact that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug and is considered illegal by the federal government. A possible reason for the strict medical marijuana laws could be that lawmakers are highly suspicious of marijuana being used for recreational purposes. Despite the positive stories people have reported from using medical cannabis to treat their illnesses, the state still believes that this alternative medicine can pose risks.

The Prospect of Recreational Marijuana Use in New York

On the other hand, exciting news has emerged recently hinting that marijuana could also possibly be legalized for recreational use in the Big Apple. If this goes ahead, then, naturally, the expansion of medical marijuana will likely increase, which would hopefully allow more people to have easier access to this natural alternative.

How You Can Consume Medical Marijuana in New York

In terms of the form of medical marijuana allowed in New York, only tinctures and oils are legal, and these can be inhaled, vaporized or taken orally in capsules. Smoking is strictly prohibited.

Furthermore, the amount that you have in possession also has a limit. There is a 30-day supply max at any one time. There are different classes of felonies for just being in possession of cannabis; therefore, it is important to ensure that you always have your registry identification card with you.

On top of these restrictions, the cost is also a big factor that explains why a limited number of people have access to medical marijuana. In comparison to other states such as California and Colorado where cannabis will cost you roughly $15 to $25 a day, in New York, you would have to pay around $180. This is a major problem for people who may qualify for medical marijuana but cannot afford it.

In conclusion, New York possesses much tighter medical marijuana laws with regards to the qualification, form and process of obtaining medical cannabis, especially compared to other states such as California. The number of doctors willing to prescribe medical cannabis and the cost appears to be limiting the number of potential patients.

Things are gradually becoming more lenient though for instance in terms of the types of ailments accepted, and there is hope that the legalization will be less restrictive. But overall, it seems that New York still has some catching up to do compared to other states when it comes to making medical marijuana more easily accessible and affordable for people.

4 Best New York Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana became legal in the state of New York in mid-2014, though it took another 18 months for it to become available to patients. Many were surprised with the restrictions and the seemingly harsh limitations of the Compassionate Care Act. The conservative Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to please advocates and opponents of medical cannabis by making an accessible yet restrictive law.

One of the major contentions was the non-smoking aspect, which means medical marijuana in New York can only be consumed via vaporization, ingestion or in capsule form. Another limiting factor of the Compassionate Care Act was the number of places legalized to dispense the drug, which totals no more than 20 statewide.

Currently, there are 19 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in New York, with recent changes to the Compassionate Care Act suggesting that this number will increase over the coming years. In order to sustain more medical marijuana dispensaries, however, Cuomo will also need to implement some relaxations on qualifying conditions. But that’s a discussion for another time.

If you’re a New York patient in need of medical cannabis right now, then here’s a handy rundown of the top four places to pick up your medical marijuana prescription.

Etain Health

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Etain Health operates four medical marijuana dispensaries in New York

Etain Health is one of only five licensed manufacturers of medical marijuana in New York and continues its family-run ethic throughout its statewide medical marijuana dispensaries. Owned and operated by the woman-led Peckham family, Etain Health was founded after the Peckham matriarch was diagnosed with ALS, leading the family on the path to compassionate care. Etain Health operates four medical marijuana dispensaries — one in Albany, one in Kingston, one in Syracuse and one in Yonkers — and is committed to improving the quality of life for patients across New York with high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade marijuana.

Columbia Care New York

Another big hitter in the dispensary field, Columbia Care New York operates four medical marijuana dispensaries statewide. They can be found in New York City, Riverhead, Plattsburgh and Rochester. In April, after wading through a strenuous and prolonged permission process, Columbia Care became the first dispensary in the state to start running a delivery service for their patients. It is committed to making its patients’ lives easier and more comfortable and will no doubt be a key component of the future of medical marijuana in New York.

NYC Marijuana Dr.

NYC Marijuana Dr. is led by Dr. George Moskowitz, a board-certified family physician with more than 30 years experience under his belt. He is a registered practitioner with the Department of Health and can certify a potential patient into the compulsory New York Medical Marijuana Program. The steps include an initial visit with Moskowitz to determine patient viability, and then, if successful, a follow-up visit where the patient will receive their MMJ certificate. Moskowitz is located in New York City, with a Manhattan branch opening up soon.

Vireo Health

Latin for “I am green; I am vigourous,” Vireo Health is a collection of scientists and physicians who have dedicated themselves to the cause of high-quality, highly effective cannabis-based medication. Unlike the previous three medical marijuana dispensaries, Vireo is funded and run by a broad investor base of health care professionals, allowing it to focus on the people who matter most — their patients. Having already established outlets in Maryland and Minnesota, it recently opened a branch in New York. Its mission is simple: produce and distribute pharmaceutical-grade cannabis to patients in need.

MMJ - New York Bridge

As the fight to legalize medical cannabis for every patient who needs it rages on in New York, more medical marijuana dispensaries should indeed come to the fore.

Those are the top four in New York.

As a little bonus, here’s a popular dispensary from the state’s closest neighbor!

Garden State Dispensary

Not technically located in New York, Garden State is a dispensary in New Jersey, just across the George Washington Bridge. New Jersey’s medical cannabis laws are laxer more lax compared to its neighbor’s strict decrees: Patients in New Jersey can smoke the medicine, as opposed to patients in New York who can only vaporize or consume medical marijuana in oil or edible form. So, if you happen to live across the bridge, you’re in a far better position to consume your medical marijuana than New York residents. Garden State Dispensary is a cool port of call for those looking to pick up their medicine, styling itself almost like an upmarket cocktail bar. They also grow their own medical marijuana, so you can count on their produce being fresh and leafy.

As it stands, because of the harsh laws, options for medical marijuana in New York are pretty scarce. But then again, so are the patients. New York’s list of applicable diseases and afflictions are so narrow and restrictive that there simply aren’t enough patients to render medical marijuana dispensaries profitable and worthwhile.

As the fight to legalize medical cannabis for every patient who needs it rages on in New York, more medical marijuana dispensaries should indeed come to the fore, providing more options and consuming methods for patients across the state.

An Empire State of Mind: Medical Marijuana in New York

Medical marijuana is gaining more popularity as an alternative to conventional medicine and a more natural option to treat various diseases and illnesses. Although there is still a lot more research to be conducted, many miraculous stories have surfaced, and this alternative medicine seems promising.

It may also come as a surprise to know that using cannabis as medicine is not new. In 2737 B.C. China, Emperor Shen Neng prescribed marijuana to treat various illnesses malaria, gout and memory problems.

Today, medical cannabis is legal in 29 U.S. states, including New York. Each state has varying laws regarding the form and amount of medical marijuana allowed. Furthermore, only certain health conditions may qualify for a medical cannabis prescription. There are different ways to take medical cannabis, such as tinctures, smoking or edibles; however, the only legal way to consume medical marijuana in New York is orally.

Health Conditions that Qualify for Medical Marijuana in New York

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You will need to discuss with your doctor whether medical marijuana would be appropriate for you.

If you are living in New York and are interested in trying medical cannabis, the first thing you would need to consider is whether your health condition qualifies. The health issues that qualify by law include cancer, HIV or AIDs, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis. You will need to discuss with your doctor whether medical marijuana would be appropriate for you. Furthermore, your doctor will need to be registered with the New York Department of Health for them to issue you with a certification for the medicine.

Requirements for Physicians to be in the Medical Cannabis Program

If your doctor is not registered in the medical marijuana program, they must meet a list of criteria to be accepted. First, they must complete a four-hour course approved by the commissioner, and they must be qualified to treat patients with serious conditions such as cancer, epilepsy and inflammatory bowel disease. Moreover, they must be licensed, in good standing as a physician, practicing medicine and registered with the New York Department of Health.

Registering for the Medical Marijuana in New York

Once you have received your certification from your medical practitioner, you can then register for the medical cannabis program through the Department of Health’s online patient registration. There is a fee of $50 to apply. Proof of identity as well as residence must be provided, and the Department of Health will then send a registry identification card. Patients then simply must take their certification and identification card to a dispensing facility to obtain the medical marijuana they need.

Buying Medical Marijuana in New York

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The price of medical marijuana in New York can vary; however, the Department of Health works with consultants to make sure that pricing is comparable between all dispensaries.

In New York, there are 20 dispensaries; almost 900 medical practitioners who are registered to prescribe medical cannabis; and 14,400 patients who are certified to buy the medicine. The possession limit in New York is limited to a 30-day supply, and you can purchase tinctures, vaporizers and medical cannabis concentrates.

The price of medical marijuana in New York can vary; however, the Department of Health works with consultants to make sure that pricing is comparable between all dispensaries. To get an idea, medical marijuana in New York will cost you roughly $30 per gram, but depending on how much you require, this means that it could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month.

Fortunately, one of New York’s medical cannabis producers, Etain Health, has recently created a discount program for customers. The idea is to make medical marijuana more affordable, and they do this by ensuring that for every $100 spent, there is a $5 discount until $400 is spent. Then the discount increases to $10 per $100 spent. If you end up spending $1,000 or more, then you will receive a $15 discount for every $100 spent.

How Medical Marijuana in New York Compares

Overall, New York seems to have a stricter program compared to the other legal states when it comes to being qualified for medical marijuana. Only several serious illnesses and diseases are considered for this form of medication. Chronic pain that causes health and function degradation has also been accepted as an ailment that will qualify for medical cannabis. Moreover, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be allowed to certify people for the medicine, and the state is even considering home deliveries.

A leading telemedicine portal called NuggMD is hoping to make access to medical cannabis in New York more reasonable by facilitating the link between patients and licensed medical practitioners. This is hopeful as more and more states are starting to get on board with legalizing marijuana for medicine and patients are continuously seeing benefits from it.

As medical marijuana laws in New York start loosening the restrictions and regulations, an increase in patients is expected. Hopefully, more will be able to benefit from this alternative form of medication.

Why Everyone Is So Interested in MMJ Tinctures?

If someone mentions medical marijuana, chances are that you’ll automatically think of a blazing joint or even a vape pen. The truth is that there are multiple ways to consume your MMJ. From edibles to smoking, the variety is wide. However, a method that is quickly growing in popularity is actually one of the oldest methods of consuming marijuana. MMJ tinctures are easily bought or prepared, and patients are ensuring that they are becoming more popular by the day.

What Are MMJ Tinctures?

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MMJ tinctures are actually one of the oldest methods of consuming marijuana.

A tincture is a high alcohol-based liquid that has marijuana infused into it. It is usually administered via a dropper onto the tongue from a small bottle. It allows for patients to dose themselves steadily throughout the day. It is also a more discreet way of consuming medical marijuana and is easily transported, given the fact that it is easily disguised.

Where Do You Get MMJ Tinctures?

You need to make sure that you have your medical marijuana card so that you can legally obtain MMJ. Speak to your physician, or get an online consultation and you’ll be given a letter stating your need for medical marijuana. Then you’ll be able to visit your local dispensary and speak to them about the best tincture for you. As with any form of medical marijuana, different strains work best for different symptoms, so make sure you’re informed before you make a purchase.

How Do You Make MMJ Tinctures?

The comfort of a professionally produced tincture is obvious, but what if you want to venture out and make your own homemade tincture? There are two main methods of doing this: the hot method and the cold method. There are positives and negatives to each method, and it is best to research both extensively before you try them out at home.

The Hot Method

Hot extraction means that heat is used to extract the THC from the marijuana buds into the tincture. It’s a far more involved process than cold extraction, but its fans argue that it is totally worth the effort.

First, you’ll need to chop your marijuana buds so you have a greater surface area with which to work. Then, you need to bake it in an oven for four to five minutes at 325°F. After baking, transfer your buds into your alcohol solution using the highest proof of edible alcohol that you can find. This will depend on what is available in your area. Simmer your mixture of marijuana and alcohol in a bowl in a water bath, making sure the mixture never actively simmers.

There are some safety issues in this process, so make sure you are extremely careful. If you’re in any way nervous, cold extraction may be a better option. Finish off your tincture by straining it. YouTube is an excellent resource for finding involved videos that show off every step of this complex process

The Cold Method

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Once you have your medical marijuana card, the easiest way to make MMJ tinctures is with the cold mehtod.

If hot extraction seems too intimidating, you may prefer to do the cold extraction. It takes a lot longer but is far easier for patients who aren’t as familiar with the methods involved in extracting MMJ to tincture form.

All you’ll need for cold extraction is a glass jar, medical marijuana and high-proof alcohol. Fill your jar about three-quarters of the way with medical marijuana. Then, top off the jar with alcohol, leaving some room to stir and shake. Put the lid on your jar, and shake it twice a day for about two weeks. When you notice the color has gone from the MMJ, remove the mixture from the jar, strain it and use it as a tincture. This process is much easier than hot extraction but will produce a slightly weaker tincture than hot extraction.

What’s the Best Way to Use MMJ Tinctures?

The best way to use a tincture is to place one or two drops under your tongue from a dropper bottle. Less is more with MMJ tinctures, and you will have to play with the dosage and frequency until you find the right amounts for you. As the concentration of MMJ tinctures can be a lot higher than smoking, vaping or edibles, take an easy hand at the start. The good thing about a small tincture bottle is that it can be easily slipped into your handbag or pocket, so if you feel the need to use more, it’ll be right there whenever you want it.

MMJ tinctures are a great place to start for someone who may be slightly unsure about the best way to consume medical marijuana. They are discreet, easily transported and without any other side effects just as having to smoke, vape or eat something to ingest the MMJ. As long as you have your medical marijuana card, the world of MMJ tinctures is your oyster, so get out and see what the fuss is about!

What a Medical Cannabis Patient in New York Needs to Know

Medical marijuana has been making waves on the West Coast since it was first introduced in California in 1996. Since then, especially within the past five years or so, other states have introduced medical cannabis to patients across America. New York became the 23rd state to introduce the drug when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law in July 2014. But for a state with a liberal reputation and voting history, New York’s medical marijuana laws are notorious for being some of the most restrictive and complicated. It can be tough for patients across the U.S. to keep track of medical marijuana laws as it applies to their home state, so for the medical cannabis users of New York, we’re here to make it easy!

Medical Marijuana in New York

Although the conditions that permit medical cannabis use in California are wide, varied and loose, New York is, unfortunately, a lot more restrictive — or at least it has been for the past two years. Officially, you must suffer from a specific, severe, debilitating or life-threatening affliction such as cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s, ALS or neuropathy problems. On top of that, you must be suffering from “associated or complicating conditions” for your particular disease, specifically wasting syndrome, chronic pain, seizures or persistent muscle spasms. This rigid and largely severe conditioning is undoubtedly what gives New York its harsh reputation in the medical marijuana arena, though there are recent signs that these laws are being relaxed.

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New York became the 23rd state to introduce medical cannabis when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law in July 2014.

A bipartisan bill that would introduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition was passed by the Senate Health Committee and now awaits the final hurdle of approval.

There is also heavy campaigning by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal to add menstrual cramps to the list of qualifying conditions, a motion that has seen celebrity support from Whoopi Goldberg and is currently being pushed forward.

So, although the initially restrictive measures for medical marijuana in New York might be disheartening to potential patients, there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel, a light that can only grow stronger as more and more states around the U.S. begin to adopt medical marijuana laws.

How to Obtain Medical Marijuana in New York

The first step to obtaining medical marijuana in New York is to present to your physician with a condition you suspect might entitle you to medical cannabis treatment. The physician will make an assessment, and if he or she is registered with the New York Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program, they may make a recommendation for medical cannabis and issue you with a certificate.

The next step in a pretty convoluted process is to register with the Medical Marijuana Program through the Department of Health’s online Patient Registration System. After your registration is thoroughly processed, you will receive a Registry Identification Card, which is the all-important document to legally get you inside the dispensaries and start availing of medical cannabis.

Medical Marijuana Rules in New York

So now you’re through the dispensary door, you should know a thing or two about how much medical cannabis you can carry around with you and how exactly you can avail of it. Unlike California, New York has made the bizarre decision to forbid all smoking of medical marijuana. The only approved forms of taking the medicine are liquid and oil, for vaporization or inhalation, or capsules that can be administered orally. Exactly why the Department of Health has banned the smoking of medical cannabis remains a mystery. We can only guess that they wanted to draw a firm and decisive line between medical use and recreational use. Although this may change in the future, as it stands currently, smoking is a no-go for the medical cannabis patients in New York.

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The first step to obtaining medical marijuana in New York is to present to your physician with a condition you suspect might entitle you to medical cannabis treatment.

All the details about how you can take your medical cannabis must be written on your certification form by your physician. This means you can’t deviate from the methods of administration you enter initially. The form will also contain information about the authorized brand or use. Again, this is in sharp contrast to states like California, who are much more liberal with the methods of procurement and administration. As marijuana has now been legalized for recreational use in Cali as well, we can hope that the situation will not remain so rigid for NY; though it may take some years to catch up.

Again, this is in sharp contrast to states such as California, which is much more liberal with the methods of procurement and administration. As marijuana has now been legalized for recreational use in California as well, we can hope that the situation will not remain so rigid for New York, though it may take some years to catch up.

When you arrive at the dispensary, it is also important to note that they can only hand out a 30-day supply or less, and unfortunately, it is illegal to grow your own medical marijuana at home. State-registered dispensaries are the only way to obtain the medicine, and even then, there are many hoops to jump through.

While the medical marijuana in New York is undoubtedly restrictive and strict relative to other states, the good news is that it can only get better. It might seem like an uphill battle to avail of medical cannabis at this point in time, but there are people working behind the scenes to make sure everyone in New York gets a fair shot at availing of the many benefits of medical marijuana.

Should Medical Marijuana Candy Be a Thing?

Some cannabis card holders may say the question is redundant. Medical marijuana candy already most definitely is a “thing.” The real questions are: Should it be welcomed as an appropriate method of consumption, and should it be as readily available and promoted as all other forms of MMJ?

Actually, we should really be asking ourselves, “Why shouldn’t medical marijuana candy be a thing?” Consuming your MMJ via candy comes with no health risk, so it makes no sense as to why it wouldn’t be a viable option. The only time where this isn’t true is for those with a sugar-sensitive illness such as diabetes or certain forms of cancer. In those cases, it is better to opt for a different method of consumption.

The great thing about medical marijuana is how dynamic it is. People have come up with all sorts of ways to consume it, and the development of MMJ candy is just another fantastic addition to the ever-growing list of consumption methods. This can only be viewed as a good thing as everyone’s needs are different. If there are plenty of options available, then people are able to choose the method best suited to them and their treatment plan.

Why Medical Marijuana Candy Is a Good Thing

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Medical marijuana candy is very discreet to eat, which is important for most cannabis card holders.

A good argument for the promotion of medical marijuana candy as a method of consumption is its ease of use. Candy, by nature, is very easy to consume. You simply pop it in your mouth, and off you go! Additionally, candy is very discreet to eat, which is important for most cannabis card holders who want to consume without drawing attention to themselves.

A great thing about medical marijuana candy is that is makes consuming MMJ more palatable. Some cannabis card holders can find consuming the plant in other forms much harder to stomach, even in normal edible form. This is especially true for those suffering from digestion problems. Medical marijuana candy masks the taste of the cannabis, which means that even those with the most sensitive stomachs can consume with ease.

Things to Consider When Consuming MMJ Candy

Some people may argue that medical marijuana candy shouldn’t be a thing simply because they could land in the hands of children. Kids are naturally curious creatures, and anything left lying around could be accidentally consumed by little ones. This is especially true for kids under 5 who don’t quite have a grasp on what they should and shouldn’t eat. Although this is particularly a problem for younger children, it poses a risk to older ones, too, due to the fact that they look and taste like normal candy.

As with any other potential hazards for your kids, the best way to avoid them getting their mitts on your MMJ candy is to make sure it is kept out of their reach at all times. Additionally, it’s probably a good idea not to consume it when they’re around, or else there will only be a temper tantrum when you say you can’t share the treats with them. Plus, you’ll be undoing Barney’s “sharing is caring” work! If they never see the candy, they’ll never ask for it, so it’s best to keep it out of sight.

The exception to this rule is if your child is the cannabis card holder in your family. In this case, MMJ-infused candy could work as a great method of consumption for them due to the fact they don’t have a strong weed taste and that you can limit their dosage.

Thankfully, cannabis card holders aren’t short on options if they’re looking to invest in some medical marijuana candy. There are a number of MMJ candy manufacturers working in the U.S., and their range of sweets is getting more and more diverse.

The Best Medical Marijuana Candy Your Cannabis Card Can Buy

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If chocolate is your thing, opt for Punch Combos, a chocolate bar that is packed with cannabinoids.

If you’re looking for something with a great THC-to-CBD ratio, go for Dixie Mints, a tasty pack of mints that come in orange, peppermint and mixed-berry flavor. Chill Pills from The Growing Kitchen are hard candies with a high CBD count, which is great for relieving pain, inflammation and insomnia. If chocolate is more your thing, then opt for Punch Combos, a chocolate bar that is packed with cannabinoids. For the vintage candy fans among us, you can’t get better than Remedy Plus’s huge range of old-school candies that are bound to ignite some nostalgia in you. All these products are available state-wide in California once you have a cannabis card.

If you’ve thought it over and decided candy isn’t exactly your thing, perhaps you could be more tempted by edibles instead? They’re just as delicious, and you can make them in the comfort of your own home. Why not check out our 4 Sweet Medical Marijuana Edibles Recipes and our 4 Savory Medical Marijuana Edibles Recipes.

Medical marijuana candy provides another dynamic way for cannabis holders to consume, so there’s no real argument for it not to be a thing. Anything offered to the market that can make patients treatment plans easier or more comfortable should be embraced wholeheartedly.

The Most Respectful Ways to Consume Medical Marijuana in Public

Although consuming medical marijuana has finally started to become a widely accepted thing to do, 420 card holders still have a long way to go until doing so in public becomes completely welcomed. Not only are there those who would rather you didn’t consume around them for surface reasons — the smell, the image it creates — but there are also people who unjustly hate for the plant and go out of their way to make consuming in public as hard as possible. Fortunately, these people are becoming rarer.

It’s important to know how to consume your MMJ respectfully and, most importantly, legally. Until the new legislation is passed legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, medical marijuana card holders will still have to be careful about where and when they consume. Thankfully, MMJ is a wonderfully dynamic plant, and 420 card carriers won’t ever be short on ways they can use it.

Smoking

It should go without saying that smoking is not an inconspicuous way to consume medical marijuana. The smoke produced is not only very visible to anyone who may want to complain about it, but also it creates a very distinctive smell — one that is usually unwelcome to those around the smoker. Weed smoke clings to people’s clothes and hair and can create an unpleasant atmosphere for those in the vicinity of the smoker. This is especially true for children.

It is imperative to be respectful of those around you when consuming MMJ. You can’t put your need for some relief over everyone else’s right to inhabit a comfortable environment.

It’s also important to note that the police will not take kindly to someone openly smoking marijuana in a public place, regardless of whether you have a medical marijuana card or not.

Vaping

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Vaping medical marijuana doesn’t give off a strong smell

A nice alternative to smoking MMJ is vaping. Vaping is done using a vaporizer and is a much more conspicuous way of consuming than smoking. When you pull on the vaporizer, the cannabis is heated and creates a vape cloud, which you then inhale. This vape cloud is much more discreet than smoke as it disappears nearly instantly once you exhale it. Additionally, vaping doesn’t give off a strong smell. You can even get special scented vapes to cover up the marijuana scent completely.

Tinctures

Probably the sneakiest and most discreet way for medical marijuana card holders to consume is via a tincture. A tincture is a highly concentrated form of marijuana that has been mixed with an alcohol solution. This solution comes in dropper form, similar to eye or ear drops, making it perfect for carrying around under the radar.

The dropper packaging enables you to discreetly pop a drop onto your tongue or into your food or drink whenever you need to consume. If orally consuming the mixture doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry: You can also put a few drops onto your skin, and it will have the same effect. The incredibly discreet nature of tinctures means you’re being respectful of everyone around you when consuming while at the same not earning yourself any unwanted attention.

Edibles

A discreet — and delicious — way to consume medical marijuana is edibles. You can conjure up tasty MMJ-infused treats into just about any form you want — the more imaginative the better. MMJ Recs favorites include MMJ granola bars and MMJ mac and cheese. Edibles are perfect for respectful public consumption as they are indiscernible from normal snacks. The only way you could possible insult someone by consuming any of these delectable treats in public is by refusing to share them!

Drinking

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Drinking your medical marijuana is particularly useful to those 420 card holders who need to consume on the go.

Another respectful and handy way to consume medical marijuana in public is by drinking it. MMJ is just as delicious when consumed in a drink as it is in edible form and can be done so in a whole host of ways, from juices to smoothies to teas. Creating medical marijuana-infused drinks is easy to do, but there are some guidelines you need to follow to ensure you do it right. Check out our guides on how to make juice, smoothies and tea to become au fait with the best methods.

Drinking your medical marijuana is particularly useful to those 420 card holders who need to consume on the go. You can make up batches of juice in the morning for you to consume in the car, at work and at home discreetly and respectfully with ease. Additionally, being stopped by the police with a flask of tea in your car isn’t going to land you in any hot water – (excuse the pun!).

When consuming your MMJ, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Although most people wouldn’t have a problem with someone consuming discreetly in public, they will have a problem with you doing so in a disrespectful manner. To be safe from insulting anyone, stick to the above methods of consumption when out and about, even if you have your medical marijuana card, and you’ll be creating the safest and most comfortable environment for everyone.

Will Florida Legalize Medical Marijuana to the Same Extent as California?

The results of the U.S. presidential election overshadowed the results of a few very significant votes: the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, Massachusetts and Nevada. Earlier in the night on Nov. 8, 2016, Florida voters (who played a major role in the presidential election, too) passed a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana, which was, in fact, the first victory scored by the pro-legalization side on a critical night in America. It took the people of Florida some serious legwork to make it to the legalization stage, but will they follow their West Coast allies in making medical marijuana available to the same extent?

This serious legwork should not be underestimated. The pro-legalization side in the Sunshine State has had a serious fight on their hands for the past few years, even to reach the point they’re at now. Unlike California, where it’s possible to avail of medical marijuana with a medical marijuana card, the situation in Florida is a little thornier. The vote brought to the table this past November was one of the briefest legalization laws ever passed in America. From start to finish, it only takes up five pages. It’s titled Amendment 2, and although you may think that the brevity of the law makes it clear and concise, it actually provides more problems than solutions.

It essentially means there are a lot of details left to iron out and many debates to be had over the intricacies of the bill. And it’s already had some teething problems since its birth. Although the law was accepted in November, it wasn’t actually passed until Jan. 3, 2017. And it’s not even fully legal yet.

Although medical marijuana is legal in spirit in Florida, Amendment 2 specifically states that patients must obtain a letter of certification from a physician and a state-issued, valid medical marijuana card. Fair enough. The problem lies in that fact that these required ID cards are not available to citizens and won’t be until at least June 2017.

Fortunately, there is a mechanism in place that states that the Florida Department of Health must finalize its medical marijuana regulations by June 3, 2017. So with a bit of luck, there won’t be too much dillydallying.

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According to Amendment 2, the Florida Department of Health is responsible for overseeing the implementation and regulation of medical marijuana.

The question, then, is what can go wrong in that time? The introduction and management of the state’s new MMJ laws will be overseen by two key people: Florida’s Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Celeste Philip and Gov. Rick Scott. Scott is the man in charge, but Philip runs the Florida Department of Health, which, according to Amendment 2, is responsible for overseeing the implementation and regulation of MMJ. For Scott’s part, he opposed medical marijuana in 2014 but has had little to say in recent months about Amendment 2 and its implications.

That could be because he’s playing to the gallery. About 71 percent of Florida’s voters were in favor of legalizing MMJ, and Scott could potentially make himself very unpopular very quickly if he pushes back against the will of his people. So it’s clear to all involved that this is a crucial time in the quest to legalize MMJ in Florida. The Senate is preparing its medical marijuana plan, and it remains to be seen exactly what routes and decisions will affect it. The issues on the table are varied and intricate. The most controversial ones comprise who should be considered eligible for MMJ treatment and how many licenses should be given out to marijuana growers.

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California has been a kind of trailblazer in many respects on the issue of MMJ, and it’s great to see other states following their lead.

It remains to be seen whether Florida will embrace MMJ laws to the same extent as California. Two main features of California’s laws have yet to be discussed in relation to the Sunshine State, as they’re regarded as too liberal to be introduced immediately. The first is that California has no limits on possession of MMJ, whereas Florida requires that patients have a physician’s recommendation before they acquire MMJ from state-licensed dispensaries. California also allows patients to cultivate their own marijuana at home. In Florida’s case, this is not allowed to any degree.

California has been a kind of trailblazer in many respects on the issue of MMJ, and it’s great to see other states following their lead. Even though Florida has a fight on their hands with a good few issues to smooth over, the fact that Amendment 2 was supported overwhelmingly by the people should provide a clear path to legalizing MMJ across the board. Although it remains to be seen if Florida will be as welcoming to the treatment as their partners on the West Coast, the good news is that the first few key steps have been made successfully. Only time will tell how Florida implements the legalization of medical marijuana and when exactly it’ll be freely available to patients.

How Medical Marijuana Can Help the Elderly

When someone mentions the word “marijuana,” what typically springs to mind is an image of young people smoking recreationally. However, ever since the legalization of medical marijuana in 28 states, the use of medical marijuana among the elderly has become popular as a more natural alternative to prescription medicines.

There are various strains of marijuana, and some are void of THC, the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive effects. This means that patients can take marijuana purely for the medicinal benefits without getting high. As people get older, they are likely to start experiencing a host of health problems from arthritis to Alzheimer’s. Here is a list of ways medical marijuana can help the elderly with a variety of health conditions.

Glaucoma

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Studies show that taking medical marijuana may help with glaucoma risk factors and symptoms.

Glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerve, which carries information from the eye to brain. As fluid pressure increases in the eye, vision loss gradually occurs. Current treatment includes laser therapy, eye drop medications and surgery; however, these options may cause undesirable side effects or may not even be sufficient in reducing the fluid pressure in the eye. Studies show that taking medical marijuana may help with glaucoma risk factors and symptoms such as reducing intraocular pressure, inflammation and mydriasis, a condition in which the pupils dilate.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common health problem that affects almost 50 percent of people more than 65 years old. There are five main groups of arthritis, and the various symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, and swelling and inflammation of the joints. Despite mixed opinions as to whether cannabis can help with arthritis symptoms, THC, a cannabinoid found in marijuana, is known to help with chronic pain and has been shown to effectively treat patients and ease severe arthritis.

Cancer

Cancer is one of the most talked about diseases in the world, yet doctors and scientists are still looking for a cure. It affects people of all ages, though there are certain cancers that may affect the elderly more, such as prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. This is because of age-related factors such as chronic inflammation, in addition to changes in tissues and organs, make the cells’ microenvironment more ideal for cancer to develop. Unfortunately, there is no sure answer as to whether medical marijuana can cure cancer completely; however, patients have been known to shown improvements in terms of coping with the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, after taking medical marijuana in the form of cannabis oil. Furthermore, research has shown that cannabis kills cancer cells by inducing a specifically programmed cell death called apoptosis. The compounds found in marijuana also stop the proliferation of cancer cells and tumors.

Alzheimer’s Disease

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Studies have revealed that THC can slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins in nerve cells, which is known to be a key factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental deterioration and is the most common type of dementia. With an increase in age comes with an increase in the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, along with other things such as a family history of the disease. Symptoms include memory problems, disorientation, insomnia, speech problems and even hallucinations. This can be a very distressing disease, not just for the patient but also for family members and relatives. Studies have revealed that THC can slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins in nerve cells, which is known to be a key factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, marijuana is also thought to help improve other symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as insomnia, motor functioning and weight control.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is another condition that is likely to affect the elderly as bone deterioration increases with age. Bones become weaker and brittle, increasing the chances of breakage and fracture. CBD may help with strengthening of bones as well as heal broken bones. CBD does this by preventing the enzyme FAAH from breaking down bone-forming compounds, thereby helping to preserve bone strength. Bisphosphonate, which is typical medication for osteoporosis, can come with side effects such as muscular pain, fever and joint pain. Alternative treatment in the form of medical marijuana is promising as it combats theses effects and is a more natural form of medication to treat osteoporosis. For the elderly, smoking may not be the most appealing way to take medical marijuana; therefore, using tinctures may be a more ideal and discreet method.

Overall, there is still research to be carried out to confirm the viability of medical marijuana as a cure for a host of diseases, and there will always be experts for and against. Nevertheless, things seem promising as medical marijuana has time and time again been proven help treat inflammation, which has been called the root of most diseases, while modern medicine focuses on mainly dealing with symptoms.

Do I Need Medical Marijuana? A List of Some of the Most Notable Qualifying Conditions

Most people may not realize that cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. This may be because in the U.S. under federal law, it is illegal to be in possession of this plant. Times have changed, though, and as 28 states in the have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, the use of this once-controversial plant has increased dramatically and enabled people of all ages to use it as an alternative to help with a range of diseases and illnesses from cancer to epileptic seizures. This is great news for people looking for a more natural way to aid health problems. If you’re wondering if you might benefit from medical marijuana, here’s a list of illnesses and diseases that are considered qualifying conditions and that might make you eligible for a California medical marijuana card.

Crohn’s Disease

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Cannabinol (CBD), which is a cannabinoid found in marijuana, has anti-inflammatory properties, and in the case of Crohn’s disease, it can limit intestinal inflammation.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract. People with this disease can suffer from cramping, abdominal pain and persistent diarrhea. Although diet and prescription medicines are some forms of treatment, around 60 percent of patients with Crohn’s disease will require surgery at some stage during their lifetime. Cannabinol (CBD), which is a cannabinoid found in marijuana, has anti-inflammatory properties, and in the case of Crohn’s disease, it can limit intestinal inflammation. This is because compounds found in the marijuana plant closely imitate endocannabinoids and have been proven to play a significant part in reducing gastrointestinal inflammation.

Cancer

Cannabis can’t cure cancer, but there is no denying that medical marijuana has helped many people cope with the side effects of cancer treatment, such as chemo-induced nausea. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has claimed that cannabis can even help to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.

Depression

Depression affects more than 15 million Americans and is a serious mental illness regardless of the level. Different cannabis strains are known to have a stress-relieving effect, and low doses of THC have been proven to increase serotonin levels (happy hormones) as well as relieve anxiety. Most people who use medical marijuana smoke it because it is the fastest way to experience the effects.

Epilepsy

If you suffer from epileptic seizures, there is evidence of cannabis’s ability to reduce the debilitating condition. The research is promising, especially for people with a treatment-resistant form of the disease. For children and the elderly, two groups that epilepsy more commonly affects, medical marijuana in the form of tinctures is an ideal way to take the medication. CBD, which is the main compound in cannabis, is confirmed to be a safe and effective treatment for epilepsy.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects the spinal cord, optic nerve and brain, which means it can affect your nerve system. This can result in symptoms such as fatigue, spasms, dizziness and balance problems, and the disorder is incurable, which can make life very difficult for patients. Medical marijuana, in the form of cannabis oil, or prescription medicine has been helpful in easing these symptoms by relieving pain and improving brain function as the cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory.

Chronic Pain

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The most common use of medical marijuana is to treat chronic pain.

Chronic pain can be caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia as well as general pains such as headaches, muscle soreness and cramps. The most common use of medical marijuana is to treat pain, and it can work very effectively depending on the level and type of pain and a person’s own physiology. The main method of using cannabis for pain relief is to smoke the marijuana. This is also the quickest way to experience the painkilling properties.

Arthritis

Arthritis, like multiple sclerosis, is an incurable disease. It causes joint inflammation and pain, mainly in the spine, hands, knees and hips. This mostly affects people aged 40 and older, and taking medical marijuana in the form of tinctures or vaping are ideal ways of coping with this disease. Again, this works by reducing inflammation and pain in the joints as the compounds CBD and THC hold painkilling properties.

Insomnia

Insomnia affects many people throughout their lifetime, especially due to today’s hectic, fast-paced lifestyle. Medical marijuana can be used as a helpful alternative sleep aid as opposed to prescription sleeping pills, which may require higher and higher doses as your body becomes used to the drug. The indica strain tends to result in heavier sleep effects compared to sativa, which has more energizing effects.

This list is in no way conclusive of the diseases, illnesses and conditions that medical marijuana can help with. People with glaucoma, weight issues from illnesses such as HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s disease could also potentially benefit from the use of medical marijuana. If you suffer from any of the above illnesses, all you have to do is obtain a medical marijuana card online and try this method of treatment yourself.

The Most Medical Marijuana-friendly Countries in the World

In California, medical marijuana card holders are blessed when it comes to how the state views MMJ. Not only does the Golden State have some of the laxest medical marijuana laws in the country, but it is also only mere months away from legalizing the plant for MMJ card holders and recreational users alike.

Although Californians have a tendency to see their state as the center of the universe, it is not the only place that has such open-minded medical marijuana laws. Countries all around the world have similar laws whereby MMJ card holders gets to enjoy the same type of freedom you get here at home. Let’s take a whirlwind tour of the most medical marijuana-friendly countries in the world

The Netherlands

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Amsterdam has long been lauded for its relaxed attitude toward medical marijuana.

Where else could you start except for in the weed capital of the world? This northern European country has long been lauded for its relaxed attitude toward marijuana in general and medical marijuana in particular. It should come as no surprise that the Netherlands’ medical marijuana program is probably the best in the world with huge amounts of government money going toward research to better it even further. MMJ users in the Netherlands have two options when it comes to obtaining the plant: informally from a recreational dispensary or formally through a pharmacy. Accessing marijuana in the Netherlands is as easy as you’re going to find anywhere else in the world with about 700 weed dispensing “coffee shops” spanning the country.

Jamaica

Jamaica is seen by some as the beating heart of the global marijuana community; however,  for a country with such a prolific and well-documented history of promoting the plant’s recreational use, Jamaica only actually decriminalized the possession of marijuana in 2015. Nowadays, with the bureaucratic nightmare of decriminalization behind them, Jamaica is every ounce the MMJ mecca that it has always been believed to be. It even has a cannabis licensing authority that is in charge of the cultivation and distribution of the plant for medical and scientific purposes. Although MMJ is not easily accessible to everyone in Jamaica, if you have your California medical marijuana card on you when you’re traveling to the country, you can get a permit in the airport for a few dollars that will allow you to consume MMJ wherever you want.

Uruguay

Uruguay hit the headlines in 2013 for becoming the first country in the world to completely legalize marijuana, which destroyed the country’s powerful drugs cartels. In Uruguay, you’re welcome to grow up to six plants of your own at home or acquire some from the state-controlled marijuana dispensary program — and you don’t need a medical marijuana card to do so. Although this program has had some teething problems, nowadays, the price for MMJ is so low that everyone can afford it, which means that those in vital need of its healing powers can access it easily. Uruguay has been somewhat of a trailblazer on the South American weed scene. Since the legalization of the plant in 2013, Chile and Colombia have followed suit, and more are set to follow.

Canada

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Canada has had a medical marijuana program since 2001.

Our northerly neighbors may not have total legalization yet — they’re working on it! — but they do have a pretty great medical marijuana program that has been in place since 2001. In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in Canada, you must have a diagnosis and a recommendation for MMJ use from a licensed physician. Then you can acquire the plant from any of the 29 licensed producers who are accessible from every corner of the country. According to recent data, about 29,000 Canadians are now benefiting from the wonder plant.

Israel

Believe it or not, Israel is also a trailblazer when it comes to medical marijuana research. It was an Israeli scientist who was one of the first researchers to identify cannabidol (CBD) and who later determined the structure of tetrahyrdocannabidiol (THC). Ever since the 1960s, the small Middle Eastern country has been refining the study of the plant, and in 1992, it approved marijuana for medical use. Today, around 25,000 Israeli patients use the plant to treat a whole host of ailments.

Denmark

Although MMJ is not widely accepted through the entire Scandinavian country — you could see yourself slapped with a fine for openly consuming outside of the Christiania district of Copenhagen — the Danish attitudes to cannabis are pretty lax. Medical marijuana has been legal in Denmark since 2011, and all you need is a prescription to legally acquire and consume it. Although only three types of cannabis are legal for medical use — sativex, marinol and nabilone — a whopping 88 percent of Danish people are in favor of the total legalization of all types of medical marijuana.

As attitudes start to become more liberal and more parts of the world start to open their eyes to the wonders of medical marijuana, you’ll begin to see more countries become havens for both MMJ card holders and recreational users. Unfortunately, some areas have quite a long way to go when it comes to marijuana acceptance, but overall, the world seems to be moving in a more weed-friendly direction than ever before.

Why Florida’s Medical Marijuana Amendment Took So Long

On Nov. 8, 2016, with 71 percent of the vote, Florida residents overwhelmingly voted to legalize medical marijuana. Florida joins 28 other states and Washington, D.C., in legalizing the drug since California got the ball rolling back in 1996. But why did it take the Sunshine State so long to reach a ruling on medical marijuana that the Golden State reached 20 years ago?

Even though medical marijuana has been used to treat a vast number of ailments dating back to China in 2737 B.C., the American outlook on the drug has fluctuated numerous times throughout the United States’ history.

Throughout the 18th and 19th century, marijuana was used in the U.S. for medicinal purposes only be outlawed in the year 1914. Since then, politicians and U.S. citizens alike have been in constant battle regarding marijuana rights. The swinging ’60s were just that. A relaxed attitude on marijuana continued long into the 1970s. It wasn’t until the infamous war on drugs initiated by President Ronald Reagan at the start of the 1980s that attitudes toward marijuana soured and the incarceration rate rose exponentially.

For a number of years following California’s legalization of medical marijuana, Alaska was the only red state to legalize the drug for medical use. In the early 2000s, an increasing number of both Democrat and Republican states started to pay attention to the reported medicinal benefits of marijuana and voted to legalize the drug accordingly.

Upon the passing of Florida’s Amendment 2, many expressed surprise that it took such a long time to come to fruition — with Florida lawmakers trying and failing to do something similar two years previous. Back in 2014, an identically named Amendment 2 found itself on Florida ballots on voting day. If passed, it would have allowed the cultivation, purchase and possession of medical marijuana.

The History of Amendment 2

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Medical marijuana has faced an uphill battle in Florida.

The 2014 amendment failed to pass, gathering just 57.6 percent of the vote (with a 60 percent supermajority required for constitutional amendments). This ballot entry had been a long time coming but faced tough opposition from both more conservative members of the public along with several organizations, such as Drug Free Florida, as well as multiple noteworthy politicians.

For the 2014 amendment to make its way onto the ballot, a minimum of 683,149 valid signatures was required by the February 1, 2014, deadline. In August 2013, signatures had already reached 110,000, triggering a ruling by the Supreme Court of Florida. It was later approved for ballot Jan. 27, 2014. The inevitable rocky road for medical marijuana proved too much for the ballot, yet an earlier poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 88 percent of Florida’s voters supported legalization.

With significant contention from politicians, such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush — who prior to the 2014 vote stated in regards to Florida’s family-friendly reputation, “allowing large-scale marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts” — and the ultimate failing of the bill, medical marijuana faced another uphill battle.

Amendment 2, Round 2

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An indisputable shift in outlooks toward medical marijuana was a key component to the 2016 passing of Amendment 2 in Florida.

Following the 2014 disappointment, a further initiative by the same name was established and, once again, was sponsored by the United for Care organization for the 2016 ballot. In the weeks leading up the general election, election officials of Florida’s Broward County omitted Amendment 2 from some of the mail-in ballots, which led to a lawsuit from the pro-marijuana legalization firm NORML but was eventually dismissed.

Nevertheless, the amendment passed Nov. 8, 2016, with 71.3 percent of the vote, thwarting efforts to kill the amendment by a number of organizations and individuals. An indisputable shift in outlooks toward medical marijuana was a key component to the result, but success was also found due to four significant differences from the 2014 amendment:

• Parental consent is required for doctors to treat minors.
• There is an improved definition of the chronic illnesses that allow patients to receive treatment.
• The bill does not repeal any preexisting laws involving negligence or malpractice.
• Clauses were inserted to more effectively close the “drug-dealer” loophole.

With researchers estimating that Florida’s medical marijuana industry will be worth upwards of $1.5 billion by 2020, medical marijuana is quite literally having its moment in the sun.

“With this historic vote, we can expect similar programs acknowledging the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis begin to take hold in the southeastern region of the United States,” stated NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano.

Although many are reveling in the 2016 result, there are several hurdles yet to conquer. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been one of the principle opponents of marijuana throughout his career, and many are concerned about how his attitudes may affect state laws.

Florida, specifically, now faces severe cost concerns, too. In February 2017, medical marijuana in its purified form cost a staggering $240 per gram, forcing users to continue to buy off the black market for as little as $15 per gram.

It’s been a long and arduous journey for medical marijuana in Florida. Although further obstacles are certain to occur, the passing of Amendment 2 indicates a brighter future for those seeking medical marijuana as an alternative form of medicine.

How to Make Medical Marijuana-infused Tea

With the advent of medical marijuana cards so too came a whole host of new and inventive ways to consume medical marijuana. All across California, MMJ card holders are transforming their cannabis into delicious juices, whipping them up into tasty treats — both sweet and savory — and vaping it away till their hearts’ content. And these are only a few of the ways to consume this super-plant. Long gone are the days where you’d have to smoke a joint to reap the innumerable benefits of this medical marvel.

Although all methods of consumption have their plus points, a new and innovative way to enjoy MMJ has recently come over the horizon: medical marijuana-infused tea. Sure, this may seem a bit out there, but if you (like the thousands of other California medical marijuana card holders across the state) love nothing more than curling up with a hot mug of tea at the end of a long day, this might be the best option for you.

Humans have been making tea for thousands of years, and in that time, all manner of weird and wonderful plants have been brewed. From jasmine to dandelions to nettles, there’s never been a shortage of inventiveness when it comes to this magical drink. So it was a natural progression that people would start experimenting with brewing medical marijuana.

The method for MMJ-infused tea is relatively simple, but you’ll need to make sure you have the following ingredients as well as your California medical marijuana card.

Medical Marijuana-infused Tea Recipe

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There is nothing better than curling up with a hot mug of medical marijuana-infused tea at the end of a long day.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 gram medical marijuana buds
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • Tea bag
  • Sugar (optional)

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Butter?” But yes, you will definitely need butter to make the tea for a very important reason: On its own, THC is not water-soluble. Unless it is coated in a fatty substance, you won’t be able to benefit from its ameliorative power. When butter is mixed with the buds, the fat in the butter reacts with the heat of the tea to release the THC from the marijuana buds, allowing it to be ingested.

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on ingredients, here’s your method.

Directions
  1. Grind up the marijuana buds using a pestle and mortar to make sure it’s done well without completely powdering the plant. If necessary, use a knife to cut up any stubborn bits.
  2. Mix the ground marijuana buds with the butter. Make sure all the buds are coated — but not completely soaked — in the butter.
  3. Fill a metal tea ball or diffuser with the marijuana and butter mixture. If you don’t have access to a diffuser, it’s OK to empty an old tea bag. Cut the tea bag open, and fill it with the mixture instead, making sure to fold the tea bag back over so no MMJ spills out. It’ll be a little messier, but you’ll achieve the same results.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. It’s important that the water isn’t heated using a kettle.
  5. While keeping the water simmering over medium heat, lower the metal tea ball into the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes
  6. If you want a certain flavor to your tea, add in any other tea bag you want for the last 5 minutes of simmering.
  7. Take out both tea bags, and add sugar, honey or any other sweetener you want to.
  8. Sit back, and enjoy!

An even easier way to make MMJ-infused tea is to get a tincture and simply put a few drops into your regular cup of tea. A tincture is a concentrated type of cannabis that is mixed in an alcohol solution and consumed by putting drops either directly onto your tongue or into whatever drink or food you’re having. If you’re in a rush to make your MMJ tea, this is the best method for you as it is much less time-consuming.

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Tea infused with medical marijuana has the same long-lasting, potent effects as other methods of consumption.

Like other ingestible methods of consumption, medical marijuana-infused tea takes approximately one hour to for you to feel its benefits. Also like other ingestibles, it’ll have the same long-lasting, potent effects.

Although medical marijuana is naturally reparative and soothing, there is something that has to be said for the magical powers of tea in and of itself. Tea is the go-to relaxant for many 420 card holders and others alike, and it’s easy to see why: Tea is jam-packed with antioxidants, natural phytochemicals and theanine, which together give the body a boost and have been known to lower stress levels, improve concentration and even ease bouts of depression.

Mixing these two super-ingestibles was a stroke of genius. Their power together is much more effective than it is separate. The preparation of this extraordinary drink couldn’t be easier, so what are you waiting for? Grab your medical marijuana card, and get brewing!

Which Is Best: Buying or Growing Your Own Medical Marijuana?

For someone who has a newly minted medical marijuana card, going to the local dispensary can feel like the only logical option to obtaining their medication. They tend to have a wide variety of MMJ and are staffed by people who can advise you. However, as medical marijuana laws in California also allow people to grow their own at home, many people ask themselves if growing their own medical marijuana is worth it. Before you decide which is best for you, here are some things to consider.

Do You Have Space?

The first thing you’ll need if you want to commit to growing your own MMJ is space. It might seem obvious, but your home must have the space for your project. If you live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, it’s probably better to go down to the dispensary. Most people who grow their own have a dedicated room for their plants. This is not like growing a regular plant in a vase. Marijuana needs a lot of care and attention. It may seem slightly daunting, but with the right setup, anyone can grow their own.

Are You Following the Law?

Once you’ve decided on your dedicated space, you need to make sure that it doesn’t contravene the law. Under California medical marijuana laws, those who consume medical marijuana can grow plants in up to 100 square feet. If you’re a carer who is responsible for up to five patients, you can grow plants in up to 500 square feet. It may seem like a lot, but it’s definitely worth measuring and checking just in case so that you’re not accidentally breaking the law.

Do You Have the Right Equipment?

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Many supplies you’ll need to grow medical marijuana can be purchased in any gardening supplies store.

The initial equipment is expensive, but you will end up saving money in the long run by growing your own medical marijuana. In addition to the seeds or starter plants, you’re going to need to invest in sturdy pots in which to grow the plants. Depending on your preference, you can grow multiple plants in larger pots or individually plant them. Like any other plants, medical marijuana will require soil (air-permeable soil is best) as well as supplements to help it grow. Liquid or pellet nutrition supplements can be used, and they can be easily purchased in any gardening supplies store.

Lighting is also very important to encourage medical marijuana growth. You will need to purchase growth lamps to ensure that your plants get the best light. Investing in proper LED or fluorescent lights are the best bet for a crop that will meet your medical needs. Timed lights are best, and it’s advised that you have them on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours to ensure the correct balance.

Fans are also an essential purchase if you want to cultivate MMJ at home. Medical marijuana needs to have air circulating near it to ensure that carbon dioxide levels are at an optimum level.

Can Gardening Soothe Your Symptoms?

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The act of growing your own medical marijuana might even help your symptoms.

If your MMJ card has been issued for mental health or anxiety reasons, growing your own medical marijuana may prove to help your symptoms. Gardening has been shown to be a soothing and productive activity that actually can assist those suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression. So, even when your plants aren’t ready to be consumed, they’ll still be helping you in a small way to alleviate your symptoms.

Do You Have the Right Seeds for Your Symptoms?

When picking your seeds, you need to know what specific symptoms you will be managing with the medical marijuana you’ll be growing. From chronic pain to anxiety to insomnia, it’s important to make sure that you don’t put a lot of hard work in on a crop that may actually work against your symptoms. Do your research carefully before you buy, and make sure you get your seeds from somewhere with a good reputation.

Do You Have a Great Local Dispensary?

Although there are clear bonuses to growing your own medical marijuana, there is also a lot to be said for being a loyal customer of your local dispensary. Dispensaries will have a full range of MMJ, so you’ll be able to try a few strains before you settle on the one that works best for you. The dispensary is also a great place to ask all the questions you might have before you embark on your MMJ journey.

If you’re a newbie to the medical marijuana world, the thought of growing your own might be impossibly intimidating. The professional retail environment of a dispensary can be reassuring as can the opportunity to ensure that you’re purchasing your medicine under the guidance of people who know exactly what they’re talking about.

Whether you’re growing your own or visiting the dispensary, do your research, and make sure that the medical marijuana strain you end up with is the one for you. Knowledge is power, so make sure that whatever avenue you go down, you’re armed and ready to make the best decision for you.

 

Will Medical Marijuana in Florida be a Good Thing for Patients

There is a new understanding and acceptance of the massive health benefits of medical marijuana has taken place in the United States over the past decade or so. People around the country are catching onto the fact that this gloriously healthy herb can be of enormous help to patients who suffer from all sorts of physical and psychological ailments.

In 2014, Florida joined in on the action, albeit a bit sheepishly. The state allowed the medicinal herb to be used very sparingly and only in very specific cases. In the rare cases where medical cannabis use was allowed, the strain had to be very low-THC, and the weed could not be smoked. No fun!

But luckily for MMJ-interested Floridians, the good people of the Sunshine State decided by a large majority to upgrade their medical marijuana laws when they voted on the issue in November 2016. More than 70 percent of Florida voters decided to pass Amendment 2 and, in so doing, bring their medical cannabis laws firmly into the 21st century.

What Is Amendment 2?

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Amendment 2 is good for medical marijuana patients and the MMJ industry at large in Florida.

Amendment 2 will change (and greatly improve) the medical cannabis laws in Florida, making it much easier for patients to be prescribed medical cannabis by their local physicians. The amendment will protect doctors, patients, caregivers, industry workers and dispensaries from prosecution. It will recognize many more ailments as deserving of treatment with medical marijuana and will also make a much wider variety of strains and strengths of medical cannabis available across the state.

This is all very good news for medical marijuana patients and the MMJ industry at large in Florida. To have less draconian rules and regulations in the state can only be a good thing, freeing up the industry to innovate, grow and provide the best possible service for its customers. Businesses will be able to operate safely, and doctors and patients will be free to work together in finding the best possible treatments that will increase the quality of life of people suffering from a whole host of conditions. The state will reap major financial rewards, and new employment opportunities will be created. It truly is a win-win.

How Can Floridians Get a Medical Marijuana Card?

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A patient will only need a letter from a Florida physician stating that their condition will be helped by treatment with medical marijuana.

Amendment 2 will potentially put Florida at the vanguard of legal MMJ states. It will match most other open-minded states in the reasonableness and sensibleness of its medical marijuana laws. A patient will only need a letter from a Florida physician stating that their condition will be helped by treatment with medical marijuana and that the benefits of such treatment will outweigh any potential costs. A much broader list of medical conditions will qualify a patient for treatment with medical cannabis, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV, Parkinson’s disease and Crohn’s disease.

Caregivers must be 21 years of age or older and must pass a background check. Dispensaries will be allowed to produce and distribute cannabis in a variety of locations all across the state. An extensive variety of marijuana products will be available, such as edibles, oils and sprays. These are all great developments for Florida MMJ patients and the industry.

Unfortunately, patients will not be allowed to grow their own herb, but hopefully, this will be something that the state rethinks in the not-too-distant future.

So a wide variety of high-quality, high-strength medical cannabis products will be available to Florida’s citizens under the new law. Fully legalizing Florida medical marijuana is a wonderful development that stands to improve the quality of life of thousands, if not millions, of people in the state in the coming years.

Why Should You Get a Medical Marijuana Card?

The benefits of medical marijuana use in alternative health care are now well-documented and no longer up for debate. Rafts of studies are showing that MMJ helps with myriad conditions, has strong disease prevention properties and can be a great promoter of overall health. MMJ inhibits tumor growth and even seems to kill cancerous tumor cells while sparing the surrounding healthy cells. This gives MMJ an advantage over conventional chemotherapy, which tends to obliterate all cells in its path.

Cannabis also has strong painkilling properties, calms the minds of people who suffer from chronic anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and shows great potential to improve neurological functioning after a person suffers a stroke. MMJ is is an excellent stimulator of appetite, it reduces nausea and vomiting symptoms, helps alleviate the pain and irritation of glaucoma, calms tense muscles, and reduces spasming. It also seems to control seizures in epileptic patients.

With all these health benefits, it is undoubtedly the case that Floridians will benefit hugely from the introduction of medical marijuana to their sunny state.

Welcome to the party, Florida!

The Finer Details of California Medical Marijuana Requirements

In 1996, the state of California passed the Compassionate Use Act (or Proposition 215), which legalized the possession and use of medical marijuana for those in possession of a California medical marijuana card, which is issued to those suffering from the more than 50 qualifying conditions laid out by the state government. Just last year, California saw yet another expansion of the state’s marijuana laws with the passing of Proposition 64, making the consumption of recreational marijuana also legal under state law.

Although this new proposition won’t come into full effect until early 2018, patients who hold a California medical marijuana card are asking what this new law will mean for their rights and access to their medication. Other members of the public who previously may have considered qualifying for a California medical marijuana card are also wondering what this new law will mean for their rights and whether it would still be beneficial to register as a medical marijuana patient. The following article aims to tackle these questions along with the finer details of application and qualification of a California medical marijuana card.

What Rights Have Changed

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With a California medical marijuana card, there are some limitations to Proposition 64 MMJ users can get around.

Proposition 64 enables members of the public who are 21 years of age or older to both possess and consume medical marijuana. However, there are still some limitations in terms of accessibility, the volume of possession and restrictions to areas of consumption that California medical marijuana card holders can still get around.

Because of the massive overhaul required by the new legislation, adult-use shops will most likely not have access to a license to legally sell and distribute marijuana until at least 2018. Although it will now be legal for members of the public to possess and consume cannabis, it will still be illegal to buy and sell it. Similarly, there will also be restrictions on how much cannabis members of the public can possess and grow at any one time. As it stands, the legislation states that the average citizen can now possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana flowers or 8 grams of concentrate while walking around in public without fear of arrest. Recreational users will also be permitted to grow up to six plants in their home. Consumption of cannabis will continue to be prohibited in public spaces, which means that if members of the public wish to partake, they’ll have to do so in a private setting.

What Are the Benefits of Applying for a Medical Marijuana Card?

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People with a California medical marijuana card will be able to access fast-track lines at dispensaries.

Those in possession of a California medical marijuana card will continue to have access to the licensed medical marijuana dispensaries that are already in operation. Once the legislation is set for the legal distribution of cannabis, the same dispensaries have pledged to create fast-track lines for those in possession of a California medical marijuana card to ensure that continued quick and easy access to their medication is possible.

420 card holders will also have less strict regulations on how much marijuana that they can grow at home: 100 square feet will still be permitted, as opposed to the just six plants allowed for the public. Consumption of medical marijuana will also continue to be allowed in most areas that tobacco smoking is, so long as the patient is in possession of the proper documentation.

Proposition 64 also created two new taxes: one levied on cultivation and the other on the retail price that California medical marijuana card holders will be exempt from paying. This means that patients who use medical marijuana will be able to rely on their medication staying at a steady price and not be subjected to volatile changes in the market price of the now commercialized drug.

Qualifying for a California Medical Marijuana Card

To qualify for a California medical marijuana card, you’ll first need to speak to a licensed physician. This can be your primary doctor; a specialized 420 doctor at an evaluation clinic; or, for quicker, more streamlined access, you can use online services such as the one that MMJ Recs provides. During the evaluation, you’ll need to provide a history of your medical records along with the reasons why you believe that access to medical marijuana would be beneficial to you and your treatment plan. Common qualifying conditions include depression, anxiety, AIDS, migraines, cancer, insomnia, glaucoma and chronic pain. For a full list of the qualifying conditions, follow this link here.

Once you’ve been assessed and approved by a licensed physician of your choosing, then you’re recommendation letter and California medical marijuana card should arrive in the mail, complete with your full name, date of birth, patient ID, expiration date (you’ll need to apply for a renewal of your card annually), your doctor’s signature and an embossed seal. With this card, you’ll be given access to all the rights that were stated above. Just make sure that you keep it on you at all times to avoid any confrontation from police officers.

Medical marijuana is a life-changing drug and one that has helped countless people manage their conditions or assisted them on their road to recovery. So, after reading this article, if you feel like your life would be improved by access to MMJ, then know that you’re just a few clicks away from receiving a California medical marijuana card of your own.

Florida and Medical Marijuana: The New Rules

Florida has allowed access to low-THC, non-smoked medical cannabis as an alternative health care option for patients with cancer or chronic seizures or spasms since 2014. In March 2016, the law was amended to allow access to high-strength medical marijuana for patients with terminal illnesses. But it remained one of the nation’s more conservative and limited medical marijuana programs.

But in November 2016, more than 70 percent of Florida voters cast a vote in favor of Amendment 2, which promises to widely expand Florida’s medical marijuana laws.

Amendment 2 101

MMJ Recs - Florida

With the passing of Amendment 2, Florida now allows high-strength medical marijuana to be used.

Amendment 2 protects patients, caregivers, doctors, dispensaries and industry staff from prosecution or civil sanction under state law. It will also allow high-strength medical cannabis to be used for a much wider list of medical conditions.

Although Amendment 2 requires the state to adopt the new medical marijuana rules by July 3, 2017, and have them fully operational by September, controversy is still raging. Heated dialogue is ongoing among voters, pressure groups, the Florida legislature, and the Florida Department of Health about what the exact rules and regulations will be within the new system.

What We Don’t Know

Many rules have yet to be written, but there are strict deadlines for finalizing the fine details. Details have yet to finalized about how to issue medical cannabis cards, about prescription amounts for various ailments, and about the specific qualifications caregivers will need. There are also some outstanding issues around zoning laws for the expected increase in the number of dispensaries that will open in the state. Some cities and districts, Miami Beach among them, have put a temporary ban on new dispensaries opening while they decide on their own zoning rules.

These issues must be sorted out by July 3, and the state must begin issuing licenses and ID cards within the following three months.

What is certain is that once the new rules are in place, the medical marijuana industry will be strengthened and the medical cannabis market will be much bigger.

Although the final details are not concrete just yet, we do know a lot about what Florida’s new medical marijuana rules will look like. Here’s what we know already about Amendment 2.

What We Do Know

MMJ Recs - weed

Once a person has a doctor’s note, they will then be entitled to obtain an ID card and purchase medical marijuana.

In order to qualify, a patient will need to get a letter from a Florida doctor stating that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and will benefit from using MMJ. Once a person has this doctor’s note, they will then be entitled to obtain an ID card and purchase medical marijuana.

The new rules will allow patients with a much broader range of ailments to qualify for treatment with medical marijuana. Conditions such as AIDS, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, as well as various other physical and psychological conditions with similarly debilitating effects will qualify a patient for medical marijuana use. It will be largely up to the doctor’s discretion, and if he or she believes the patient’s condition is serious and would benefit from MMJ, then the patient will qualify.

In order to become a caregiver, a person will need to be more than 21 years old and will likely need to be submitted to a background check. They will require an ID card from the Florida Department of Health, and there will be a limit on the number of patients they can help.

A physician issuing an MMJ letter will need to examine the patient and explore their medical history. The physician must believe that the benefits of medical marijuana use will outweigh any potential negative side effects for the patient.

Dispensaries (which will be called medical marijuana treatment centers) will need to be registered and regulated by the Florida Department of Health. They will be able to produce and distribute medical cannabis. The Department of Health, in conjunction with local authorities, will determine the number and location of these centers.

It is expected that a wide variety of medical marijuana products, such as edibles, tinctures, aerosols, oils and ointments, will be available from dispensaries. There will not be a cap on the amount of THC allowed in these products.

The Department of Health has yet to determine how much medical marijuana will be an adequate supply, but it is expected that the amount available to patients will be flexible and in accordance with the patient’s self-determined needs.

The new laws do not allow patients in the state to grow their own medical cannabis.

It is important to remember that Amendment 2 will not allow patients to smoke marijuana in public or require employers to allow patients to use MMJ at work. Driving under the influence of cannabis will still be illegal. There will also be the usual contradictions between state and federal law, with MMJ use still illegal at the federal level.

Amendment 2 is an exciting new development, and it promises to be very good for the Florida medical marijuana industry.

What Are Medical Marijuana Tinctures, and How Do I Make Them?

Medical marijuana tinctures are probably the least controversial way to consume cannabis. They are also the most underrated of all the cannabis products because they are not as fun to take compared to smoking marijuana in a joint. Nonetheless, they are nothing new, despite how new they might be to so many marijuana consumers. Tinctures were actually the main form of medical marijuana until it was banned in 1937. They are an ideal method for both recreational and medical users, especially for children or people with respiratory problems.

Medical marijuana tinctures are a liquid concentration of cannabis where the THC and cannabinoids are extracted and dispersed into alcohol. In the past, tinctures were the most common form of marijuana medication used. Today, tinctures are not as popular, but they are simple to use and can provide an accurate dosage. They are discreet and can be taken on their own or combined with food or drinks, which allows medical patients to take their medication anywhere while still maintaining their privacy.

Medical marijuana tinctures are easy and inexpensive to make, and you can customize the recipe to suit your needs. Below are three methods that will allow you to produce tinctures in as little as an hour. Firstly, you will need the following:

  • Herb grinder or food processor
  • Glass/ceramic bowl
  • Mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • Kitchen scale
  • Canning jar with lid
  • Tincture bottles with droppers
  • 1 ounce of buds per quart of alcohol
  • The highest proof alcohol you can find

    Method 1: The OG Method

    MMJ Recs - kitchen

    Medical marijuana tinctures are easy and inexpensive to make.

  1. Thoroughly dry and grind 4 grams of bud.
  2. Bake the cannabis at 240 degrees in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes to decarboxylase it. This is to create the psychoactive compounds in the weed.
  3. Immerse the cannabis into 2 ounces of high-proof alcohol in a canning jar, stir and cover tightly so that the evaporating alcohol does not escape.
  4. Let sit 2 to 3 hours in a cool, dark place. The longer it sits, the more effective it will become.
  5. Stir the brew again, then strain through a cheesecloth, collecting the liquid tincture in a bowl.
  6. Pour the liquid through the cheesecloth a second time, then bottle the tincture in opaque bottles as soon as possible to avoid exposing it to light.

Method 2: The Cold Brew Method

MMJ Recs - freezer

Freezing the cannabis maintains the integrity of the cannabinoids and increases the tincture effectiveness.

This cold brew method of creating medical marijuana tinctures freezes the plant matter to maintain the integrity of the cannabinoids and increases the tincture effectiveness. It takes longer to produce the tinctures, and this method works best if you use high-quality cannabis.

  1. Put your well-dried and decarboxylase buds into a freezer bag, and place them in the freezer for a couple hours. Put your bottle of alcohol in there, too, as both plant matter and alcohol must be kept as cold as possible during this process.
  2. Once the buds are frozen, take them out of the freezer and grind them into rough chunks using an herb grinder or food processor.
  3. Combine 1 ounce of ground plant matter with 1 quart of alcohol in a sufficiently large mason jar.
  4. Close the jar, and shake vigorously for at least 5 minutes before putting the jar back into the freezer.
  5. Every few hours over the next 48, pull the jar out the freezer and give it a shake.
  6. After 2 days, strain out the plant matter from the cold liquid tincture through a piece of cheesecloth and save it for use.
  7. Pour the resulting tincture through a coffee filter to remove any fine particles, and bottle the tincture in opaque bottles as soon as possible to avoid exposing it to light.

Method 3: The Warm Brew Method

  1. Mix the cannabis and alcohol in a 1-quart mason jar. Cover tightly, and shake well.
  2. Completely cover the jar to block out all light, which can cause the tincture to go bad.
  3. Place the covered jar in a warm, dry place for 30 to 60 days. The longer you wait, the more potent the tincture will be.
  4. When ready to process, strain the mixture through a double-thick piece of cheesecloth over a mesh strainer into a bowl. The mixture should be dark green.
  5. Transfer the alcohol tincture into opaque bottles, and keep in the refrigerator.

Overall, not only are medical marijuana tinctures a great smoke-free option, but also, they are an ideal method for children or for the elderly who cannot smoke. Tinctures are also a lower calorie alternative to edibles such as brownies and cookies, and they also have a long shelf life when stored properly in a cool, dark place.

Once you have made your tinctures, to use, simply apply drops of the solution under your tongue. The main advantage of this method is that the medicine is absorbed through into the body’s main blood supply to the tongue. The euphoric effects of a medical marijuana tinctures will start to become apparent slightly slower than they would if you were smoking but significantly quicker than they would from an edible. You’ll experience the effects of two to three drops under your tongue in around 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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.

MMJ Rec - cannabis

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.

How — and Why — You Should Make Cannabutter Right Now

There are many ways to consume medical marijuana, from smoking and vaping to juicing and applying lotions. One of the less common ways to take marijuana is by consuming it in the form of cannabutter. Cannabutter is marijuana-infused butter that has beneficial cannabinoids, which results in a potent and highly concentrated form of medical marijuana. It is the main ingredient in many cannabis-infused recipes.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active chemical responsible for most of the marijuana’s psychological effects and is what is extracted during the process of making cannabutter. If you have ever eaten a space cake, then you have ingested cannabutter. It is the most common way of producing marijuana edibles. Cannabutter is not only the yummiest way to transport THC, but it is also highly effective at preserving the natural effects of the cannabis plant.

It is simple to make, and for non-smokers, cannabutter is a preferable way to take marijuana. It can be made using the remains of the plant, which are usually discarded after harvesting. However, the most effective cannabutter is produced using the buds or bud leaves, which contain an abundance of resin. Follow the simple steps below to produce the best cannabutter.

How to Make Cannabutter in Three Easy Steps

MMJ Recs - weed

The most effective cannabutter is produced using the buds or bud leaves.

Step 1: Activate the THC

To activate the THC in cannabis, heat needs to be applied by a process called decarboxylation. To do this, place the cannabis on a baking sheet, heat the oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cannabis turns crumbly and dry.

Step 2: Melt Butter

Next, melt butter in a saucepan. Use four sticks of butter to every ounce of cannabis. Once the butter has melted, add the cannabis, and lower the heat to simmer.

Step 3: Let It Cook

Let the weed cook for three hours. Remember, good things take time! Don’t forget to stir occasionally, and keep the heat low. You will know it’s ready when the top of the liquid turns thick and glossy. After simmering, strain the butter to remove the buds. The butter can now be used as a replacement for normal butter in recipes.

The Difference Between Smoking MMJ and Eating Cannabutter

Most people know the physiological differences between smoking cannabis and consuming it. When you smoke a joint, THC travels through the lungs, passes into your bloodstream and is delivered unprocessed to your brain and heart. This produces a link to your nervous system, resulting in rapid psychedelic effects. Furthermore, the effects come on within a few seconds to a couple of minutes. The noticeable high tends to last for one to three hours.

When we consume cannabis, the way your body absorbs chemicals such as THC through digestion differs. THC travels through metabolizing enzymes produced by the liver before it can be fully immersed in your intestines. When you consume marijuana, it could take 30 to 90 minutes before you experience anything. This is also dependent on whether you have an empty stomach or not. The effects can last for three to seven hours, and then you gradually descend. Consuming marijuana is more effective for longer lasting pain relief, muscle spasms and other similar conditions, but it takes longer to work than smoking it and is therefore not as useful if you require immediate medical marijuana relief.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it can be easy to overdose or under-dose when eating marijuana-infused edibles, as the effects don’t become apparent immediately. An ideal way to ensure you get the right amount is to start with a small amount on an empty stomach and wait at least an hour for it to take effect, then decide if you need more.

In short, when you eat medical marijuana, it produces more body-centered effects versus smoking marijuana, and the effects are more evenly spread throughout the body.

The Benefits of Cannabutter

MMJ Recs - cookies

Most people agree that of all the fats and oils that can be used to create edibles, cannabutter produces the tastiest results.

There are many other reasons why cannabutter is amazing. Not only can cannabis-infused baked goods offer health benefits, but also, they provide a cleaner high because there is no smoke or carcinogens involved. Additionally, because butter is high in saturated fats, cannabutter can bind the THC molecules and stop them from cooking out. This allows you to make highly potent goods.

Most people agree that of all the fats and oils that can be used to create edibles, cannabutter produces the tastiest results. It can be used as a butter replacement in practically any a non-marijuana-infused recipe, giving you many different options. It is most commonly used in cakes, brownies and cookies, though it can be difficult to decide how much to use. Just remember that in edibles, the effect takes longer to come up, but it also stays longer in the system; therefore, it is best to start with a small amount first.

For children, people who suffer from respiratory allergies and asthma, or for people who simply don’t really want to smoke but still would like to have all the benefits of medicinal marijuana, cannabutter is the perfect answer.

So, now that you know how to make cannabutter, get ready for some serious baking in the kitchen. Whether it’s to treat pain or disease, cannabutter is not only simple to make but also provides great benefits for the mind and body.

Medical Marijuana in Florida: The Story So Far


On Nov. 8, 2016, Florida vote overwhelmingly in favor of the controversial Florida Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, which allows patients diagnosed with debilitating medical conditions to lawfully obtain and use medical marijuana.

Some have argued that, even with this new amendment in place, the rules set by the Florida Department of Health that outline the new regulations for the issuance of identification cards, qualification and standards of caregivers, and rules for the registration of medical marijuana treatment centers are still too restrictive and would make it more difficult for new businesses to enter into the industry.

So what does all this mean, and what rights do patients have? How does one apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida? Can any doctor prescribe it? How long does it take, and where can you access it? The following article aims to answer all these questions and shed some light on what this new amendment will mean for patients, their caregivers and family members, and the public at large.

What Rights Have Changed?

MMJ Recs - weed

With the passing of Amendment 2, more people will be able to use medical marijuana in Florida.

The new amendment will allow the use of medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions that have been diagnosed by a licensed physician. Back in 2014, the Florida legislature approved the use of low-THC and non-smokable medical marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures and muscle spasms under the Right To Try Act. Last year, this was expanded to include patients with terminal conditions and allowed them to use stronger strains of MMJ. Under Amendment 2, patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other similar conditions will now be covered. So, a wider pool of patients will now be allowed access to medical marijuana as a form of treatment, and the MMJ itself will be available at a higher-THC concentration.

How Do You Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida?

Patients must be at least 18 years of age and be a Florida resident with a valid Florida I.D. to provide proof of residency. If you do not have a Florida I.D., then you can use an out of state I.D., passport or another valid form of photo identification in conjunction with a proof of residency document, such as a bank statement or utility bill. Patients must also obtain legitimate medical records from their primary physician that state they’ve been treated by for at least three months prior to application and that outline their diagnosis and medical history.

All patients will be required to register with the Department of Health — more details on this will follow once the Florida medical marijuana program has been fully implemented.

Finally, patients must also show that they have tried other forms of treatment, without success, and their ordering doctor must determine that the risks of this form of treatment are reasonable in respect to the benefits to the patient.

Can Any Doctor Prescribe It, and How Long Does It Take?

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Florida physicians must complete an eight-hour course and examination before they can prescribe medical marijuana.

To acquire access to medical marijuana in Florida, patients will first need to seek treatment from a licensed physician for least three months before they can validate their prescription. Additionally, the physician must have completed the required eight-hour course and examination. Of the 340 doctors that are already fully licensed, many have reported that they have received an influx of new patients to seeking medical marijuana as a form of treatment. There are currently 1,495 patients registered in the state of Florida, but that number is expected to increase steadily in the coming months. The Office of Compassionate Use, which is tasked with regulating medical marijuana in Florida, has predicted a significant increase in registered physicians within the first quarter of the year to cope with the rising demand.

Where Can You Get You Medical Marijuana?

There are currently seven licensed organizations within Florida, with five already authorized to distribute medical marijuana. At least one more additional license will be granted following a recent settlement made between the Department of Health and two southwest Florida nurseries. Once the patient registry reaches more than 250,000, an additional three licenses will be made available, with one being designated solely to black farmers. The dispensaries currently open are in Tallahassee, Clearwater and Tampa, but according to the Florida League of Cities, 55 cities statewide have put zoning moratoriums in place that either ban or heavily restrict dispensaries from opening. Most of the moratoriums that have been put in place are temporary while the cities and counties await news of the new regulations to come out from the passing of Amendment 2.

Smoking vs. Vaping: The Best Way to Consume Medical Marijuana

Living in the dawn of the medical marijuana card revolution sure does have its perks. Not only are more MMJ card holders able to access the amazing benefits of this super plant, but they’re also spoiled by all the ways they can consume it. But tinctures, edibles, topical lotions and juices still take a backseat. When it comes to popularity, two consumption methods still reign supreme: smoking and vaping.

Although most people instantly think of lighting up a joint when they consider consuming medical marijuana, a lot of medical marijuana card holders will tell you that this is not representative of their experience. Many opt to vape instead. Although you may be onto something in thinking that vaping is seemingly “better,” the argument is much more nuanced than that. There is no “right” way to consume MMJ, nor is everyone better off choosing one method or the other.

If you’re still humming and hawing over which method to choose, take the following points into consideration. And remember, when it comes to MMJ, you should trust your gut, and choose the method that works best for you — regardless of what others say.

Health

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Burning medical marijuana, just like burning tobacco, produces tar and other carcinogens that actively harm your lungs.

There are no prizes for guessing which of the two methods win when it comes to health. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for your whole life, you’re aware of the risks associated with smoking. Unfortunately for medical marijuana card holders, when you smoke MMJ, you’re still exposed to these dangers. Burning MMJ, just like burning tobacco, produces tar and other carcinogens that actively harm your lungs.

When you vape, you keep the MMJ below the point of combustion, so none of the bad stuff is created. Instead, it’s gently heated with essential oils, which means you’re getting all those amazing benefits without the dirty side effects. However, it’s important to remember that though there are countless studies done on the harm that smoking does to you, because of their relative newness, vaporizers haven’t been subjected to the same amount of testing, so they’re ability to do you harm is largely unsearched.

Cannabinoids

What most medical marijuana card holders may not know is that there is a huge difference in how much good stuff is inhaled when you choose to vape your plant over ignite it. When you hit the bong or smoke a joint, 88 percent of what is inhaled is smoke gas with non-cannabinoid elements. As we all know, cannabinoids are the best, most active part of the plant and the part most likely to alleviate you of your ailment. Conversely, when you vaporize your MMJ, the substance you’re inhaling is approximately 95 percent cannabinoid, which is much, much better. These lovely little cannabinoids then get to work instantly to make you feel right as rain.

Potency

One place where vaporizers certainly lose points is potency. Although they do give you a more plentiful blast of those all-important cannabinoids, the effects, more often than, not don’t last as long as when you smoke, which means you may have to consume it more often to get the same buzz.

Discreetness

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A vape pen is an incredibly discreet way to smoke medical marijuana.

One thing that keeps MMJ card holders opting for a vaporizer over a joint is how delightfully discreet it is. Vaping gives you a sense of mystery in what you’re vaporizing. For all anyone knows, it’s just a classic tobacco vape pen. This enables you to consume whenever and wherever you like without fear of backlash from those around you.

Not only is a vape pen more discreet, but it also allows you to escape the added unpleasantness of potent marijuana smoke sticking to your clothes, hair and breath, which is not a stink you want following you around all day, especially if you have important events on your schedule.

Convenience

Some 420 card holders would argue that vaping is infinitely easier than smoking. Sure, you can just hit a button on the pen and — presto — you’re good to go. But it’s not that simple. Most vaporizers are USB chargeable and will need to be plugged in for an hour or two when their batteries waste, which isn’t exactly ideal when you’re stuck in a jam and need a hit. Plus, you need to regularly clean your vaporizer; otherwise, you’ll start to get an unpleasant, stale taste.

Although vaping presents some challenges when it comes to ease of use, something as primitive as lighting something on fire doesn’t. Loading a bowl or rolling a joint is something that can be done anywhere, at any time, provided you have the right tools. Additionally, smoking will give you the same level of relief each time, something that a vaporizer with a weak battery cannot.

Choosing your preferred method of cannabis consumption is an important decision, but always go with your gut instinct. Your body knows best and will respond better to one or the other, sometimes without rhyme or reason. So just trust it, and you’ll be walking on sunshine in no time.

Why More People Are Getting a California Medical Marijuana Prescription

California medical marijuana use became legal in 1990 after the Compassionate Use Act (also known as Proposition 215) was passed. This act allows citizens the right to access medical marijuana as a form of treatment for a variety of debilitating conditions as well as gives doctors the opportunity to prescribe an alternative treatment regime for their patients. Since this act has passed, more and more people are seeking out medical marijuana as a form of treatment for a variety of ailments including AIDS, depression, anxiety, anorexia, migraines, cancer, glaucoma, insomnia and chronic pain. Below are just some of the reasons why people are turning to California medical marijuana as a means of treatment for their medical conditions.

More Research and a Better Understanding of MMJ

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Legalization means more research into the benefits of California medical marijuana.

Doctors and research facilities are now able to assess the efficacy of the drug properly through in-depth investigations, randomized trials and the collation of different data sets from public records. From this research, they’re constantly uncovering innovative ways to harness the positive effects of MMJ to help better treat patients.

This has opened up many doors for people suffering from debilitating illnesses and reduced much of the stigma attached to the controversial medicine. California medical marijuana usage and dosage can now be finely tuned to suit an individual’s needs with tailor-made treatment programs that will ensure the best level of care for afflicted patients.

With backing from the medical community, society’s trust and acceptance of the drug is growing rapidly and is becoming seen as a sensible treatment option for a variety of ailments that would otherwise leave patients taking too many prescriptions and experiencing the unpleasant side-effects of traditional medicines.

Finely Tuned Medical Marijuana Strains to Suit Specific Needs

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Indica medical marijuana strains are known for their sedative effects.

Different strains of California medical marijuana can be cultivated to manipulate the levels of the compound THC, which is the main cannabinoid responsible for the many positive psychoactive effects felt by consuming MMJ. In this same way, growers can also alter the potency of the medical marijuana and the different effects that dosing with it may have. Sativa, for example, is a strain of marijuana that’s known to be more upbeat than indica, which is better known for its sedative effects. Being able to manipulate the genetics of the raw material in this way means that patients can be very selective in the kind of effects they wish they receive from their MMJ, which means they can avoid many of the “negative” side-effects they might associate with the drug.

Different, Inconspicuous Dosing Techniques

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Smoking isn’t the only way to get high on California medical marijuana.

More information on dosing techniques is another major contributor in leading many to consider using medical marijuana as a means of medication. For many, the idea of smoking isn’t all that appealing. Although social acceptance of the drug has definitely grown over the past few decades, lighting up in public can make many patients feel uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can consume your California medical marijuana.

Tinctures

Tinctures are a concentrated, alcohol-based cannabis extract that you dose with by placing one or two drops of the extract underneath your tongue. This form of consumption was actually the most common in the U.S. during the 1920s before Prohibition outlawed the drug completely.

Topical Lotions

Topical lotions are made by decarboxylating (a process that activates the cannabinoids present through heat) your California medical marijuana and extracting the active cannabinoids to create a concentrated cannabis oil. This oil can then be mixed in with regular body lotions or butters and applied directly to the skin for topical pain relief.

Edibles

The world of edibles has moved on a great deal from the stereotypical weed brownies that repopularized the drug in the 1960s and ’70s. Edibles also rely on decarboxylation of the medical marijuana. This can be done simply in the oven with baked goods, or more commonly, a cannabis oil is created and added to recipes to create anything from cakes and cookies to savory sauces and soups. This form of consumption makes dosing in public seem completely inconspicuous and helps put patients at ease.

Easier to Access California Medical Marijuana

If you believe that you have an illness or condition that would be eased by the use of MMJ, then access to your drug of choice could not be easier. After the passing of the Compassionate Use Act, dedicated medical marijuana sites such as MMJ Recs created a quick and easy platform in which to apply for your 420 card. They even provide access to specialized medical marijuana physicians who help to guide you through your new treatment regime and approve your access to the drug.

Where Are the Best Marijuana Dispensaries in California?

California is on track to rake in approximately $1 billion a year in tax revenue from the medical marijuana market, so it’s not surprising that there are thousands of marijuana dispensaries active in the state. So how do you even go about finding the right one? Once you have your cannabis card, here are some of the absolute best marijuana dispensaries to buy your medical marijuana in California.

Elemental Wellness, San Jose

Almost like a spa for medical marijuana, Elemental Wellness has everything from yoga and sound-healing classes to massage and cannabis-cooking seminars. It truly combines the physical and mental well-being aspects of MMJ. The selection of things available is dizzying. There are some interesting seeds in the nursery, and its MMJ-infused skin care products are wonderful. But the star is its exclusive strain, The True OG, which is a seven-time Cannabis Cup winner.

Harvest, San Francisco

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Harvest is more farmers market than marijuana dispensary.

Harvest doesn’t look like other marijuana dispensaries. It’s basically an average store — with shopping baskets and all. Their motto — “From Farm to Feeling” — gives the place a farmers market/health store feel, which is exactly what it’s trying to emulate. You’re able to freely browse all the products, adding to the relaxed ambiance. It has a private lounge where members can use the MMJ they purchase, and with cannabis lockers, a 5 percent discount, and early access to rare and limited products, it’s worth becoming a member. With two San Francisco locations, think of it as the Whole Foods of marijuana dispensaries.

Caliva, San Jose

According to Business Insider, Caliva is the No. 1 dispensary in the country. These guys are incredible. Caliva has its garden on-site, so the menu changes frequently. Its concentrates and edible menus are diverse, featuring everything from chocolate-covered espresso beans to MMJ-infused bath salts. Also notable is that it has six exceptionally knowledgeable budtenders who all specialize in different areas and are deeply interested in all things cannabis. Also worth knowing: Caliva gives away free tacos on Taco Tuesday to anyone who spends more than $45.

Airfield Supply Co., San Jose

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Some medical marijuana dispensaries offer more than MMJ. Airfield Supply Co. also offers chiropractic and acupuncture services.

The aviation-themed dispensary Airfield Supply Co. cultivates its MMJ on-site. The staff is extensively trained, so you’ll always be in good hands. It offers cannabis cultivation classes, which useful for anyone who wants to grow their favorite medical marijuana strains at home. Founded by a group of health and fitness fanatics, Airfield Supply Co also offers chiropractic and acupuncture services so members can develop their physical, mental and emotional fitness. This marijuana dispensary strives to provide a complete healing solution, excelling in compassion and professionalism.

Purple Star MD, San Francisco

Name Leafly’s No. 1 dispensary in Northern California and consistently ranking on top of dispensary lists across the internet, Purple Star MD has more than 40 strains of indica flowers alone. Its menu seems to go on for days, but its standout feature is the deep roots the dispensary have within the community. It shares its profits with four local nonprofit organizations.

California Herbal Remedies, Los Angeles

California Herbal Remedies is one of the best for many reasons. First, there is a Mexican restaurant next door. I mean, you can’t really beat that, right? If you want more solid medical reasons to check it out, the fact that it carries more than 70 medical marijuana strains should be enough. There’s literally something for everyone regarding budget and medical need, and the growers always maintain top quality. Check out the specialty strains, which are highly psychoactive.

Coast to Coast Collective, Canoga Park

This place is different: Coast to Coast Collective is in its own building with security, and it comes with parking, so you feel comfortable and in professional hands straight off the bat. Then comes the fact that the dispensary takes the utmost pride in its product. It grows everything on-site, so it is rarely out of stock. The staff is highly intelligent and educated about the medical marijuana they grow. The dispensary has a friendly vibe and provides a sense of wholesome healing.

Humboldt Patient Resource Center, Arcata

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One of the first marijuana dispensaries in California, Humboldt Patient Resource Center holds a Clean Green certification.

Humboldt Patient Resource Center has been around for more 16 years, so it was one of the first marijuana dispensaries in California and rightfully has many awards to its name. It has a great selection of clones available for you to start your medical garden at home, and it holds a Clean Green certification, which ensures it abides by the best practices in the industry when it comes to all things fertilizers, pesticides, waste management and patient information.

RAW Medical Marijuana Collective, San Diego

This dispensary is the bomb. Not only does RAW Medical Marijuana Collective offer a classic range of MMJ strains, including old favorites such as Sour Diesel and Green Crack, but it also has its own brand of medical marijuana tinctures, edibles and oils called Dr. RAW Organics. It is all about delivery, and it’s shockingly speedy — within 20 minutes — so good when you’re in a squeeze. With budtenders who are truly passionate and knowledgeable and will respond to your every query, this dispensary is a laid-back place to get your MMJ.

Captain Jack’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Upland

Captain Jack’s is not only an awesome dispensary that has a good range of MMJ, but it also has some unique glassware. Don’t miss the famed dabs bar. This dispensary is less like a healing center and more like something out of Dude, Where’s My Car?

Now that you know what marijuana dispensaries to go to, make sure you get your get medical marijuana card online so you can enjoy all the benefits of MMJ.

Should Medical Marijuana Be Available to Those with a History of Mental Illness?

If you’re at all informed regarding medical marijuana use, then you’ll be aware that it is considered by some as a trigger for certain mental illnesses. But is it really a trigger, or is that a conspiracy theory preached by those who intend to demonize medical marijuana. It can’t be hard with things such as medical marijuana to separate fact from fiction and then make sound judgments. That’s why in this article we will be discussing whether medical marijuana should be available to those with a history of mental illness. We won’t mince the truth. Rather, we will lay it all out on the table so you can make an informed decision. If you haven’t already, make sure you get your medical marijuana card online.

In spite of government, media and doctors’ warnings about potential mental health issues, many people view medical marijuana as a harmless substance that alleviates stress. On one side of the fence, you have convincing data proving the powerful medicinal properties of the drug in the treatment of many chronic illnesses, diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, nausea, seizures, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, poor appetite and weight loss. Combined with this you have the fact that it’s nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose.

Furthermore, THC — the main cannabinoid in marijuana — has been shown to have positive effects on brain cells. THC is a potent neuroprotectant and sparks neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells)! So if you haven’t already, get your medical marijuana card online!

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Medical marijuana is a drug, and every drug has notable physiological effects.

With all these benefits, medical marijuana can seem to do no wrong. However, it must not be forgotten that marijuana is a drug, and every drug has notable physiological effects when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Anything that changes how your body or brain functions, even temporarily, will have certain drawbacks. This includes even milder drugs such as caffeine. Any decision to use a drug should take into consideration the positives and negatives. Marijuana holds no distinction here.

Although there are almost innumerable benefits to using medical marijuana, it does have its detriments. THC is a psychoactive compound, meaning it affects the mind. Even though THC is a relaxant, in higher doses, it can have the reverse effect, increasing anxiety. Some cannabis users may suffer from hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. Frequent use of the drug seems to double the risk of developing long-term schizophrenia in those with a genetic vulnerability. Those who use cannabis while still developing — teenagers and young adults — have a far higher risk of developing schizophrenia, depression or bipolar.

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Medical marijuana isn’t right for everyone.

Who should avoid smoking marijuana then? Generally, those in their formative years or those with a family history of mental illness. Even those who start noticing heightened anxiety or stress during or after smoking should cease usage. The risk is just too high.

Medical marijuana definitely should not be available to those with a history of mental illness. But often mental illness goes undiagnosed, so how to enforce this on a state level becomes especially difficult. Far easier to implement would be the introduction of marijuana education in schools. This would allow students to make informed decisions based on their family history and their age.

But if those with a history of mental illness want to smoke cannabis despite the risks, then finding MMJ strains very low in THC and high in cannabidiol (another major component of the plant) is the next best thing. Unlike THC, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive. As it doesn’t affect the brain, it far less likely to trigger mental illnesses. There are even CBD oils that contain only trace amounts of THC, and these are likely the best option if you wish to get all the benefits of CBD — anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent — without any of the THC drawbacks.

CBD is an antipsychotic agent. There is much evidence suggesting that the use of CBD in isolation can actually be used to treat psychotic disorders. Ask your local marijuana dispensary for details. If you need a cannabis card, the best place to get it is online!

Hopefully, you now feel a certain illumination concerning medical marijuana use among those with mental illness and can inform others of when (and when not) to avoid weed. There certainly is no simple answer, but having all the facts at hand will lead to better decisions.

If you need to figure out how to get a medical cannabis card online, be sure to check out our other articles, which clearly spell out the process. 

Which Medical Marijuana Strain Do I Need If I Have Insomnia?

Insomnia is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Most people will experience the inability to sleep at some stage in their lives, but true insomnia can be a debilitating condition. It can be a symptom of an illness such as stress, heart disease or sleep apnea and can cause health issues such as irritability, poor concentration, stress and even depression. Fortunately, there is a medical marijuana strain that can help!

Insomnia can be divided into three types depending on how long it lasts. Transient insomnia, which lasts less than a week, is the most common type. Acute insomnia tends to last longer than a week but less than a month. It is most commonly linked to stress. The most serious and long-lasting type of insomnia is chronic insomnia, which can cause serious health issues including hallucinations.

The problem is that insomnia is incredibly debilitating. We need sleep to allow our brains and bodies to rest, so if you’re not sleeping properly, your work, personal life and health will suffer. Conventional treatments for insomnia can be problematic as many of the pharmaceutical solutions can be dangerous or addictive and won’t always help in the long term. Other solutions such as meditation, diet or lifestyle changes won’t work for everyone.

This is where medical marijuana can help. In obtaining a medical marijuana card online, a whole new world will be opened to you in terms of managing insomnia. Different medical marijuana strains have different effects, so you’ll need to know which strains are the most suitable for you. If you get it wrong, you could make your insomnia even worse!

Medical Marijuana Strains: Indica vs Sativa

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To treat insomnia, choose a medical marijuana strain with higher levels of CBD.

Generally, indica strains are better than sativa strains for treating insomnia. The ways in which you consume the weed are many and varied, but avoiding sativa is recommended if you need to drift off. Sativa strains tend to induce more of a giddy feeling, and this should be avoided if you’re trying to fall asleep. It’s also important to go for an indica strain that has smaller amounts of THC because high THC levels can induce anxiety, which could make your insomnia worse, especially if its roots are in mental illness or depression. It’s also important to choose a medical marijuana strain with higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD) as this has sedative effects and has been shown to work to treat other conditions such as extreme epilepsy and psychosis.

Afghani indica is often recommended as a good medical marijuana strain for those who are suffering from insomnia. This strain characterized by a soft and stress-free high that will allow your mind to wander and your body to relax, encouraging sleep to take hold. It also encourages pain relief, which is good if you suffer from other issues alongside your insomnia. A word of warning: This strain can often encourage a strong sense of the munchies so it can be helpful to keep some snacks on hand or else consume it via edibles to curb your hunger. Being full can also help to soothe you to sleep as the body expends energy digesting. This is why we often feel exhausted after having a big meal.

Choosing the Right Medical Marijuana Strain

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If your depression or anxiety is keeping you up at night, a CBD/THC combination can be a helpful treatment.

Sometimes it can be helpful to figure out if your insomnia is a stand-alone condition or a symptom of something larger. Picking strains that can treat the main illness, as well as the symptom of insomnia, can be helpful. The charmingly named Girl Scout Cookies strain contains a combination of THC and CBD that mixes to produce a mildly psychoactive high, which proves very relaxing for the body. It is known for helping to physically and mentally calm users and is also known as a helpful antidote to depression and anxiety, both of which can be the initial causes of insomnia. If your depression or anxiety is keeping you up at night, a CBD/THC combination can be a helpful treatment.

It’s also recommended that you consume your medical marijuana via edibles as their effects tend to be the longest lasting of all the methods of consuming cannabis. If you’re good at baking, the process of cooking your own edibles can also be relaxing enough to help bring on sleepiness. Baking and cooking have been shown to be a therapeutic process, so coupling your medication with an activity that is naturally relaxing can be very helpful in curbing insomnia.

Depending on the cause of your insomnia, there is a medical marijuana strain out there that can help you. It’s very easy to feel as if you’re the only one suffering, but the fact is that the vast majority of adults will suffer from insomnia at some stage in their lives. Medical marijuana can be an effective treatment, and once you’ve found the best medical marijuana strain for you, it won’t be long before you’re counting sheep and fast asleep.

The Tinctures Trend: The New Way to Consume Medical Marijuana

Tinctures seem to be the hot new trend in medical marijuana, but to a newbie, they can be slightly confusing. What do you even do with a small bottle of what appears to be weed alcohol? How can this really help relieve the symptoms that have caused you to seek a medical marijuana card? If you have a cannabis card but you’re not a fan of smoking or taking edibles, tinctures could be the logical way for you to take your medication.

The benefits of medical marijuana are clear for a variety of conditions, both physical and mental. Many people are now speaking to medical professionals about alternative treatments for conditions that can make their day-to-day lives difficult, and medical marijuana cards obtained online have never been more prevalent. There are a variety of ways to consume your medical marijuana once you have your medical card, but tinctures are currently one of the most unpopular as people don’t seem to know the best way to use them.

How to Make Tinctures

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Tinctures are made by grinding your dried buds into a fine powder.

For a lot of people, smoking can be a very off-putting facet of taking medical marijuana. Once you have received your medical marijuana card online, you might not want to take up smoking just to get relief from the medical condition you need help with. Edibles can also be an avenue that a lot of people don’t wish to explore due to dietary restrictions or a preference for avoiding gluten, sugar or other food groups. It’s easy to get slightly bloated if you’re eating weed brownies every day! Tinctures offer an easy and safe alternative.

Tinctures are a safe and easy way to consume your medical marijuana and are surprisingly versatile. It’s easy to make a tincture at home. First, grind your dried buds into a fine powder. Then, let it sit in high-proof alcohol for about a week, giving it a good shake every day. After a week, filter it through muslin or a coffee filter. You’ll be left with a versatile solution that can be paired with a lot of different kinds of food for a new way to take your medical marijuana.

Where to Buy Tinctures

Of course, you don’t have to make a tincture if you don’t want to. They are easily purchased at weed dispensaries, and if you’re unsure, the store assistant will be more than happy to help you. The green dragon, as tinctures are often known, is growing in popularity, and retailers are happy to offer advice and guidance to patients who are unsure as to which method is best for them in the management of their condition.

How to Use Tinctures

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Tinctures are also known as the green dragon.

How can you use your tincture now that you’ve made or bought it? The possibilities are endless! Tinctures can be incorporated into soups, salad dressings and even beverages. You can cook it into most hot recipes, but the earthy taste tends to work better with savory recipes such as stews, soups and rich pasta sauces. You can also use your tincture like a seasoning. It should complement the other elements of the dish you’re making.

If you’re looking for quick relief, the best method of taking a tincture is to place three to four drops under your tongue and allow them to absorb for a minute or two before swallowing. You should feel the effects within 15 minutes, and it should last long enough for you to go about your day-to-day business.

Tinctures are a discreet and easy way to get your medical marijuana fix. Just pop a vial in your bag or pocket, and rest assured that you have your medication with you whenever you need it. A vial will contain about 500 drops, and you only need three or four drops to get relief. It’s often easier to transport a small vial of liquid with you as opposed to joints, tobacco, a vape pen or buds that need to be prepared to be smoked.

In addition to being versatile, tinctures are quite fast acting. You can expect to feel the effects of a cannabis tincture quicker than taking an edible or by smoking, and the effects can often last longer than smoking. The effects of edibles last a bit longer than tinctures, but the positives of tinctures can outweigh this negative if you’d rather steer clear of sugar or flour for health reasons.

Once you have your medical marijuana card, there’s no reason to not give tinctures a try. They’re versatile, easily obtained and consumed, and you can even try to DIY them with little problems. They’re the best medical marijuana option for the person who wants to fit their medication around their life with very little lifestyle change. If this sounds like you, why not give them a go?

8 Celebrities Who Endorse Medical Marijuana

When it comes to celebrity endorsements, the Venn diagram between recreational and medical marijuana generally appears as a singular circle. Although there are many A-listers whose love of green goes under the radar, as the conversation regarding legalization grows every year, so, too, does the number of celebs who supply ringing endorsements for marijuana use.

For a number of famous faces, using marijuana to assist with medical conditions is a way of life, one that over time has trickled down into recreation. One of the strongest advocates for marijuana legalization is the actress and The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg has dealt with glaucoma for many years and uses medical marijuana for pain relief for her eyes and head.

Another one of Mary Jane’s most familiar acquaintances is 79-year-old actor Morgan Freeman. Having spent years suffering from fibromyalgia, Freeman experiences pain in his arm that can often be “excruciating,” with medical marijuana being “the only thing that offers any relief.” He has gone on record as saying marijuana legalization across the board is a long time coming, and he will take it however it comes.

Although numerous celebs known to support the legalization of medical marijuana do not suffer from a medical condition, they often have direct experience witnessing the positive effects it has on friends, family and fellow members of the industry. Alternatively, some are more apt to indulge in marijuana use for recreational reasons, often citing its ability to help them unwind or stir the creative juices.

With more than half the states in the country now offering open access to medical marijuana — and eight of those also permitting recreational use — let’s look at some of the famed supporters of marijuana and a few those whose herbal enthusiasm may just surprise you.

Bill Gates

That’s right: Bill Gates supports medical marijuana.Image by Efes Kitap from Pixabay

That’s right: The richest man in the world supports the use of both medicinal and recreational marijuana. A biographical account of Gates and the uprising of Microsoft, by authors Stephen Maines and Paul Andrews, noted that the business magnate is no stranger to the herb. Gates also voted to pass Initiative 502 in Washington, which led to the legalization of marijuana.

Danny DeVito

Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning actor Danny DeVito has been quoted as saying he is “very excited about the legalization [of marijuana].” When asked about his personal use of cannabis, he was very open about the fact that both he and his wife often partake in a touch of the green stuff. He has also stated that, back in the day, he and fellow actor Michael Douglas bonded by smoking marijuana together.

Rihanna

As one of the highest-selling music artists of the 21st century, Rihanna has a rather large following. Known to care little about the opinion of the general public, Rihanna hasn’t shied away from letting her fans know about her relationship with marijuana. The Barbadian singer even launched her own line of marijuana products at the beginning of 2016 titled “MaRihanna.”

Sir Richard Branson

The second billionaire on the list is Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, which now controls more than 400 companies. Branson, knighted at Buckingham Palace thanks to his contributions to entrepreneurship, is a huge advocate for marijuana legalization. Not only does he often speak out against the prohibition of the drug, but he also is even looking to potentially invest in the cannabis industry.

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga has admitted to smoking medical marijuana on a regular basis.

Eccentric singer and songwriter Lady Gaga put on what is arguably one of greatest halftime shows in Super Bowl history earlier this year. With a peak viewership of more than 116 million people, it’s no surprise Gaga deals with a fair amount of anxiety. The “Poker Face” singer has admitted to smoking marijuana on a regular basis to help her deal with the stresses of her career.

Zach Galifianakis

Actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis, known for his role in The Hangover trilogy and his award-winning comedy talk show Between Two Ferns, is an avid supporter of marijuana legalization. Not only is he consistently outspoken regarding his love for the green, but also, in a segment on Real Time with Bill Maher (who is also a marijuana supporter), Galifianakis proceeded to light up a joint and pass it to others on the panel.

David Duchovny

Best known for his roles as Fox Mulder on The X-Files and Hank Moody on Californication, David Duchovny has publicly spoken about his use of marijuana several times. “I’m all for legalization,” he said. “I think people are going to smoke pot anyway, and the idea that people are in jail for smoking pot and dealing pot is reprehensible to me personally.”

Snoop Dogg

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Snoop Dogg is arguably more famous for his love of cannabis than rapping.

How could anyone write an article about celebrities and marijuana and not include Snoop Dogg? Arguably more famous for his love of cannabis than rapping at this point, Snoop is seldom seen without a joint hanging from his mouth. The rapper, previously known as Snoop Lion, changed his name due to his Rastafarian beliefs and has even developed his own marijuana product line titled Leafs By Snoop.

With more of the United States embracing the use of medical and recreational marijuana each year, celebrities and the general public alike are striving for a more relaxed outlook from those in power. Here’s hoping they continue to listen.

How Long Until Medical Marijuana Is Legalized Throughout the US?

Marijuana laws in the United States have made great strides in recent years. Since California first made medical marijuana legal back in 1996, 28 other states and Washington, D.C., have followed suit. Although more states have also legalized medicinal marijuana use in certain respects, limitations are still in place that often restrict psychoactive strains and require a physician to prescribe the drug versus simply recommend it.

Nevertheless, the outlook on marijuana throughout the U.S. is clearly shifting in its favor. Not only is medical marijuana perfectly legal in more than half of the states, but also recreational use is permitted in eight of those states with California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada all electing to legalize recreational marijuana in November 2016. So how long until the rest of the country follows in their footsteps?

This is a question that isn’t easy to answer. Several key factors play a huge role in predicting which states will be next in casting a positive judgment on the use of medical marijuana. Given the results of the 2016 general election, along with the subsequent picks for certain positions within government, a wrench (or two) have certainly been thrown into the mix.

For example, although the general public has voted to legalize the use of marijuana on a state-by-state basis, cannabis use is still illegal under federal law. Despite there being a total of 44 states in which some form of cannabis law exists, the federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act, which does not recognize a difference between medical and recreational use.

Medical marijuana laws have come a long way in recent years.

Under federal law, cannabis is treated no differently than other substances such as heroin and cocaine. Furthermore, Jeff Sessions, Alabama senator turned attorney general, is known to have a bitter disdain for any kind of marijuana use. Sessions once “joked” to an African-American colleague that he had no issue with the KKK, “until [he] found out they smoked pot,” and was quoted as saying, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

So, perhaps it wouldn’t be wise to hold your breath for a change in federal law. However, as the federal government does not have the ability to direct state and local police, and with only 80,000 out of 1.2 million law enforcement agents operating at a federal level, tackling pre-existing marijuana laws would be rather difficult. Although states looking to legalize medical marijuana may face an uphill battle, it’s unlikely that they’ll stop trying.

So, which states are the most likely to legalize the use of medical marijuana next? Several states passed legislation in 2016 in the herb’s favor, and there were 13 more states that put forward legislation, including those outlined below. Although roadblocks may have been met, it’s clear that there are some states that will be pushing for medical marijuana in the coming years.

In fact, lawmakers in numerous states have already introduced medical marijuana bills in the 2017 session. Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas all have a reasonably good chance to legalize medicinal marijuana within 2017 or soon thereafter.

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Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas all have a reasonably good chance to legalize medicinal marijuana within 2017 or soon thereafter.

Kentucky has already implemented a highly limited law regarding cannabidiol (CBD) strains of medical marijuana, allowing patients with intractable epilepsy and a written recommendation from their physician to obtain CBD oil. Gov. Matt Bevin has also acknowledged medical evidence associated with marijuana. Furthermore, a 2013 Kentucky health poll found that 78 percent of state residents support legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes.

Missouri put forward the New Approach Missouri Bill in the 2016 election. Although regrettably falling short by 23 signatures to make the ballot, this bill would have given voters the opportunity to decide upon the use of medical marijuana. On Jan 5, 2017, Republican Rep. Jim Neely introduced House Bill 437, which would allow terminally ill patients access to marijuana. Additional support is highlighted through a 2016 public poll, which found that 62 percent of Missouri voters support medical marijuana.

It may surprise you to find Texas making this discussion, too. The historically conservative state still currently holds some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country. But in 2015, lawmakers legalized low-THC cannabis oil for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. State Sen. José Rodriguez has since proposed a constitutional amendment authorizing the possession and sale of marijuana for medicinal use. Polling also found 71 percent of Texans support expanding medical marijuana treatment.

Although not as likely as other states, the possibility for North Carolina’s medical marijuana laws to be reassessed is certainly viable. Several bills introduced by legislators have suggested new policies will come eventually, and a CBD-only bill was approved in 2014 for those suffering from intractable epilepsy. With a 74 percent approval rate, polling found an overwhelming majority of residents are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

As is apparent from numerous state laws regarding the use of medical marijuana, progress is happening. Although it is unlikely to be legalized at a federal level anytime soon, more states are becoming increasingly liberal in their outlook toward the drug. Further state legalizations or not, cannabis is assured to continue its immense growth across the U.S. going forward into 2017 and beyond.

The History Of Medical Marijuana In California

Marijuana is America’s number one cash-crop and has been around since the founding of America. It is woven throughout the tapestry of our history – the founding fathers even wrote the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper! But for various reasons, its use was prohibited in the 1920s and by the 1930s it was regulated as a drug in every state. Despite the plant’s almost endless uses and medicinal benefits, multiple attempts to legalize marijuana failed. Until now: 30% of the United States of America has decriminalized the use of marijuana. Some states have gone as far as to legalize marijuana’s recreational use – a huge step. And this progress should continue at an exponential rate. California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use and now over 200,000 Californians have received approval. As well as being one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. California’s marijuana journey from legal to illegal and back again has been an interesting one to say the least and one certainly worthy of an article – hence this article! In this article, we will be discussing the history of medical marijuana in California. 

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Medical marijuana in California has a long and illustrious history.

Pre-Criminalization

Hemp is one of the oldest known domesticated plants having been cultivated for over 12,000 years. America’s colonists grew hemp to support its expansion in the Americas. George Washington pushed for the growth of hemp and even grew the stuff himself. Throughout the 18th and 19th century the use of hemp for paper, textiles, clothing, rope, paint, insulation, food, and animal feed became ubiquitous throughout the states. Medicinal preparations of cannabis were sold at pharmacies from the early 1850s. However, much was unknown about the plant and it was dumped alongside opiates as a dangerous poison and this eventually led to its prohibition despite it being a huge cash crop, with a smorgasbord of practical and medicinal uses.

Criminalization

The Poison Act was passed in 1907 and following two amendments – one in 1913 and one in 1915 – the possession of “extracts, tinctures, or other narcotic preparations of hemp, or loco-weed, their preparations and compounds” became a misdemeanor and the sale or possession of “flowering tops and leaves, extracts, tinctures and other narcotic preparations of hemp or loco weed (Cannabis sativa), Indian hemp” except with a prescription, was forbidden.

In 1925, possession, which was previously treated similarly to distribution, became punishable by up to six years in prison, and sales on the black market, initially misdemeanors became prosecutable by up to six years. In 1927, laws made to prohibit opium usage were extended to include hemp. After this point, penalties for marijuana possession, sale, and growth ballooned out dramatically and the possible jail time became substantial – up to 15 years.

Decriminalisation

However things couldn’t continue to degenerate, criminalization of any drug can only have so much momentum as prohibition fails completely to thwart the use of drugs. Even in cases where a drug’s use has negative ramifications physically, mentally – and economically, socially, and culturally by extension – prohibition fails us and helps black market drug dealers. Far better in every case is the governmental controlling of dangerous substances and the rehabilitation – not condemnation – of substance abusers so that they may live normal lives independent of drugs. More and more Californian people began to catch on to this way of thinking.   

Decriminalization of marijuana, which treats the possession of small amounts of the drug as a civil, rather than a criminal, offense, was established in July 1975 when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 95. Proposition 36 of 2000 was approved by a majority of voters, requiring that “first and second offense drug violators be sent to drug treatment programs instead of facing trial and possible incarceration.”

Then in 2010, the CA State Senate Bill 1449 was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This further reduced the charge of possession of one ounce of cannabis or less, from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana in California

Medical Marijuana in California

In 1996 voters approved of California’s medical cannabis program, proposition 215, making medical marijuana in California legal. This modified state law to grant people with any of a given list of chronic illnesses the “legal right to obtain or grow, and use marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a doctor”. The law also ensured that doctors would not be reprimanded for recommending the drug, and state and federal governments were “to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need.

So there’s our history of medical marijuana in California. We hope you now have a better idea of how far the state has come and that this will provide a greater sense of appreciation when you smoke, drink, or eat your legally owned medical marijuana. The next logical step is to legalize it in all states. This would have advantages far beyond the medicinal, such as dramatically increased tax revenues for the state (illegal drugs cannot be taxed), and the reduction of drug-related crime.  Make sure you have your medical marijuana in California card so you can start to benefit from the drug’s long list of health benefits.

Cutting Through The Controversy Surrounding Medical Marijuana

Despite the fact that a raft of new states voted to legalize medical marijuana, and many voted to legalize even recreational use of the drug, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding cannabis use in the United States. The herb is still illegal at a federal level, and simply crossing a state line with your medical marijuana can turn you from a law abiding citizen into a felon with the potential to do some actual jail time.

The nation is now a patchwork of legal and illegal states. Many forward-looking jurisdictions have opened their eyes to the medicinal benefits of this ancient plant and are issuing suitable patients with an mm card. Unfortunately, many other jurisdictions are still convinced that pot is the devil’s pubic hair – poisonous, maddening, and deeply evil.

So why the controversy? Why do different states, and even different people, look at marijuana in such a different way?

Physicians of the 19th century had a great deal less complicated, synthetic, expensive (and massively profitable) pharmaceutical drugs at their disposal. But one treatment they relied heavily on, to treat labor pains, asthma, nervous disorders, sexual dysfunction, and even colicky babies, was a fluid extract of “Indian hemp extractums”, also known as Cannabis Indica. In the late 1800s marijuana was considered a “superstar” drug in America and Europe, with over 100 scientific studies published in the 19th century verifying its effectiveness.

MMJ was the most popular medicinal drug for much of the 19th century in America, only being overtaken slightly by morphine and aspirin towards the end of the century.

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There are a lot of half-truths and myths surrounding medical marijuana use.

All was well. But then dark forces stepped in…

In 1937 the Marijuana Tax Act was introduced. This made possession, sale or transfer of cannabis within the United States illegal, apart from a few industrial exemptions which were massively taxed. This was a sad day in American legal history because the bill was passed based on extremely shaky evidence that dubiously suggested marijuana was addictive and lead to antisocial behavior. Preston Peet, in his book ‘Under the Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs’ suggests that the real purpose of the prohibition on cannabis was to destroy the hemp industry, making synthetic fiber more valuable and enriching the fat cats who owned the synthetic fiber patents. Was it an early taste of how brutally, nation-destroyingly effective Washington lobbyists would become?

This new prohibition on marijuana really muddied the waters and confused a nation about the possible effects, good or bad, of marijuana. It lead to generations of people assuredly, proudly, fearfully, but ignorantly, exclaiming that weed ‘sent people crazy!’ and was a harmful ‘gateway drug’ that made people violent, destitute, and demented. Misinformation was peddled at a national level and millions of people were successfully brainwashed.

Thankfully we are now managing to claw our way, as a nation (some states quicker than others), out from underneath that particular rock. The light is bright, too bright for some, but we are slowly getting used to it.

A Renaissance is taking place. Rafts of genuine studies are being done, and the truth about marijuana and the medicinal benefits of using a California medical marijuana card are becoming irrefutably clear.

In the last few decades a host of studies have been done that show medical marijuana to have massive potential in treating a myriad of ailments and diseases. Conditions as diverse as nausea, anxiety disorder, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, migraines, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, spinal cord injuries, alcohol abuse, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bipolar disorder, depression, Huntington’s disease, sickle-cell disease, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, PTSD, and anorexia nervosa have all been successfully treated with the use of a 420 card.

Excitingly, it is looking promising that cannabinoids may also be a useful weapon in the battle against cancer, both its prevention and its treatment. Many studies on laboratory animals have now shown that cannabinoids can inhibit tumor growth. They appear to kill tumor cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells, mainly by inhibiting the process of angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels that tumors need in order to grow. This gives cannabinoids an advantage over chemotherapy, because the latter tends to destroy healthy cells as well as cancerous cells.

Studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids can be effective in killing cells from many types of cancers, including lung, thyroid, leukemia, skin, uterus, breast, colorectal, stomach, pancreatic, prostate, as well as a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

This is all very positive news and is adding to medical marijuana’s new, positive image.

Many doctors and physicians in medical cannabis-friendly states are now more willing than ever to learn about the benefits of MMJ, and are more open minded to prescribing their patients cannabis cards, than at any time since the late 19th century.

After almost 80 years of controversy, ignorance, and misinformation, this versatile and useful plant is coming in from the cold and taking its rightful, and uncontroversial, place at the top table of modern medicine.

Medical Marijuana And Modern Medicine: The Real Story

Modern medicine is slowly but surely waking up to the huge health and healing benefits of medical marijuana. MMJ is now being used to treat and manage a whole host of physiological and psychological diseases.

However, despite a slew of studies showing its effectiveness, and mountains of anecdotal evidence from cannabis card patients who have benefited from its use, there is still controversy surrounding medical marijuana. In many circles, marijuana is viewed as a harmful and deviant drug. Rigid thinking in this area means that many people refuse to see cannabis as anything but the dangerous and degrading substance they have been brainwashed into believing it is.

Marijuana’s bad reputation comes from decades of baselessly awful press, and a large amount of deliberate misinformation that’s been peddled by malevolent and cynical forces with sinister agendas.

For much of the 19th century, physicians happily, and to great effect, prescribed Cannabis Indica for a wide range of ailments including nervous disorders, labor pains, nausea, asthma, sexual dysfunction, and headache. Well over 100 studies published in the 19th century validated its effectiveness. Marijuana was well and truly a ‘superstar’ of 1800s medicine. Cannabis was to the 19th century apothecary, what Conor McGregor is to the 2017 UFC.

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Medical marijuana and modern medicine: a match made in heaven?

But in 1937 things changed. The Marijuana Tax Act became law and the use of marijuana for medical purposes or otherwise became illegal. Propaganda was disseminated that said cannabis was of no medicinal benefit and that it was, in fact, sinister and harmful. Stories of people going crazy and committing acts of wild violence and sexual depravity while under the influence of the evil herb marijuana were circulated and the notion that weed was a satanic and horrendous poison seeped into the national consciousness. These wild stories were thoroughly false and baseless, yet a naive populace believed them anyway.

According to author Preston Peet, in his excellent book ‘Under the Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs’, the underlying purpose of criminalizing and vilifying cannabis was to kill the hemp industry, and make the big business interests who ran the synthetic fiber industry even more filthy rich. It seems possible that the alcohol industry, which had just exploded after the end of prohibition in 1933, also stood to benefit from a total ban on marijuana.

Marijuana stayed strictly ‘off the menu’ for doctors and patients (on an official basis at least) for the next several decades, until eventually the mood began to change in more enlightened parts of the nation during the 1990s. California passed Proposition 215 in 1996 which allowed the use of medical cannabis in the state for people with a California medical marijuana card. Gradually other states opened their eyes to the undeniable benefits of issuing medical 420 cards and followed suit, legalizing marijuana for medical use. By the beginning of 2017, 28 US states had legalized medical marijuana.

MMJ is now firmly a part of modern medicine with physicians prescribing a California medical card for physiological conditions such as vomiting, migraines, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, nausea, sickle-cell disease, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, spinal cord injuries, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, muscle spasms, and asthma, as well as psychological conditions like anxiety disorder, insomnia, bipolar disorder, depression, and PTSD.

The benefits of cannabis cards for modern medicine are now being thoroughly explored and studies are bringing a whole host of new and unexpected benefits to light. Studies on laboratory animals are showing that the cannabinoids found in MMJ can inhibit tumor growth, and even kill tumors by inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels that tumors need in order to grow. This is an excellent development in the fight against cancer. Cannabinoids even seem to have an advantage over chemotherapy because, while chemo tends to annihilate healthy cells as well as cancerous cells, cannabinoids seem to kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells intact.

Not only is MMJ easing the pain and suffering of patients with a raft of different diseases, and showing potential to kill tumors, but it is also, according to research from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, showing great potential to improve neurological functioning after a stroke, and a study from the National Cancer Institute is even suggesting that it could have a protective effect against the development of certain tumors! Hurray for cannabis!

So the real story of medical marijuana and modern medicine is a beautiful love story. There was a passionate honeymoon full of laughter, lust and wild nights. Then came a tumultuous middle period in which mistrust, wild accusations and hurt feelings lead to an acrimonious break-up. But that break-up was ultimately character building, and it let the lovers realize just how much then really meant to each other, and they finally got back together in a wonderful reunion, and a renewed, more mature, and deeper love flourished, and looks set to continue to flourish forever more! Warms your heart, right?

Can Medical Cannabis Work In Conjunction With Medication

What are the effects of using medical cannabis in conjunction with other medication? Does your marijuana interfere with other medication? It is important to understand how any combination of drugs you are taking will work together and the effects that mixing them will have on your body and mind.

In order to avoid any unwanted effects from drug interactions inside your body, it is crucial that you keep your doctor informed and listen carefully to his or her advice.

Pills

If you are taking traditional medical and medical cannabis, we advise asking your doctor what the effects coud be.

Although there is not a wealth of peer-reviewed studies on interactions between medical marijuana and commonly-used medications, there certainly are potential side effects that can occur when MMJ is taken alongside other drugs. Many widely taken prescription and nonprescription drugs, when taken in combination, will react chemically inside the body. These reactions can be good, bad, or benign. Cannabis card patients and their doctors should consider the potential reactions that both prescribed and ‘over the counter’ medications will have with the cannabis they use, because sometimes those reactions are not inconsequential.

Marijuana can have an additive effect when taken in conjunction with certain pain medications. This additive effect, when one drug amplifies the effect of another, is called ‘potentiation’. The effect can be unpredictably strong. Cannabis is often prescribed alongside NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for the relief of pain symptoms from arthritis. The combination is very effective for reducing pain. Patients using their California medical card alongside painkillers need to be careful because the potentiation of these drugs can lead to drowsiness or depression of the central nervous system which controls heart rate and respiration.

Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis is a wonderful herb but it’s best to learn about its effects on your body before consuming.

Medications that are dedicated central nervous system (CNS) depressants or sedatives can bring on a feeling of drowsiness. Certain strains of MMJ (usually indica-dominant hybrids) that have a similar effect can greatly enhance the effects of these drugs. Some medications prescribed for insomnia, anxiety, depression and, as previously mentioned, pain relief fall into this category. So be aware that taking sedative drugs and using medical cannabis may knock you out more than expected.

Antihistamines, which are used in the treatment of allergy symptoms associated with hay fever, have a depressing effect on the CNS. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, so when used in combination with a California weed card can have a potentiated effect.

Antihypertensives are commonly used by people with hypertension to lower their blood pressure. Some strains of medical cannabis, especially sativa-dominant strains, can temporarily increase blood pressure, so if you are taking drugs to lower blood pressure be aware that certain strains of weed may counteract their effects.

Hormone medications can be effected by medical cannabis use. Marijuana can make the oestrogen used in birth control or as hormone replacement therapy less effective. This means the intended effects of these drugs may be compromised. What’s that we hear in the distance?? Oh it’s the the pitter-patter of tiny feet. How exciting!!! Or not. Seriously though, the effects of medical cannabis on birth control pills is often negligible, but it’s always best to be extra-safe and talk to your physician.

Marijuana can slow blood clotting, so when it is mixed with prescription medicines such as warfarin that slow blood clotting, or with nonprescription drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin that have the side effect on slowing clotting, this may result an increased risk of bleeding and/or bruising.

The effect of medications that metabolize within the liver may be strongly impacted by the presence of medical marijuana in the system. Cannabis has been known to slow down, or speed up, certain processes the liver uses to break down medication. This can result in medications being at a higher blood concentration or lasting longer than would normally be the case, or alternatively, being processed more rapidly and losing their effect more quickly. Therefore, the dose or frequency of these medications may need to be adjusted when they are being taken in conjunction with medical marijuana.

It has sometimes been noted that certain medications that may be used to treat patients with cancer, HIV, and people who have had an organ transplant may sometimes interact with medical marijuana. Since many people with these conditions use medical cannabis to manage their symptoms, it is important to check with a doctor to be sure that the particular drugs you are taking are appropriate to take alongside MMJ.

Cannabis has been shown to decrease the effectiveness of metformin (known by the brand name Glucophage) which is used as an aid in controlling the blood sugar levels of diabetes patients, as the effect of lowering blood sugar is opposed by cannabinoids.

Also, marijuana can cross the placenta and be excreted in breast milk, so it’s best for breastfeeding mothers to discuss the potential risks of breastfeeding while using their MM card with their doctor.

So these are some of the more common potential side effects of mixing medical cannabis with other drugs. There can be many advantages to using your 420 card along with other useful drugs, but it is always wise to be conscious and aware of what you are putting into your body, and how those substances will react with each other.

I Have PTSD: Which Medical Marijuana Strain Do I Need?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that affects certain people who have experienced a highly traumatic event. Being involved in warfare, extreme violence, or a road accident, or being the victim of child abuse, sexual assault, terrorism, or other threats to life can result in a person experiencing PTSD. It is also an affliction that can be treated with the use of medical marijuana.

Approximately 7.7 million Americans suffer from PTSD, and 11-30% of soldiers returning from combat in Iraq or Afghanistan have the condition. The main symptoms of this brutal condition are flashbacks, chronic anxiety, depression, insomnia and nightmares. Sufferers respond to innocuous events and cues in the external (and their internal) world with an acute panic response, because they remind them of the initial trauma they experienced.

There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating the benefits of medical marijuana for individuals suffering from PTSD. By aiding in something called memory extinction, marijuana can help reduce the association between innocuous stimuli in the present and traumatic events from the past. It also calms the body and mind, reduces stress, and aids sleep.

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PTSD can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.

There are plenty of studies to back up marijuana’s effectiveness in treating PTSD. A University of Haifa study from 2014 showed that rats that were exposed to trauma, who received a synthetic cannabinoid within 24 hours, did not exhibit PTSD symptoms, however rats that were not treated with the cannabinoid did develop symptoms. This study led to an understanding of the neurological characteristics of the behavioral effects of PTSD. In traumatized subjects there was an increase in brain receptors associated with emotional processing. Cannabis was shown to decrease the numbers of these specific receptors in the areas of the brain that imprinted traumatic memories.

A study by Dr. George R. Greer MD in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2014 showed that participants with PTSD reported, on average, a 75% reduction in major PTSD symptoms while using medical marijuana. Dr. Greer reported, “Many PTSD patients report symptom reduction with cannabis, and a clinical trial needs to be done to see what proportion and what kind of PTSD patients benefit, with either cannabis or the main active ingredients of cannabis.”

As well as evidence from studies, there is also a wealth of anecdotal evidence self-reported by sufferers of PTSD who say that their lives would be unbearable if it wasn’t for the positive impact that medical marijuana has on their debilitating condition.

There is no doubt that medical marijuana is a very effective treatment for PTSD, but not all weed strains are equally effective. Here is a list of seven hybrid strains that people have reported work particularly well in combating PTSD.

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Medical marijuana can help sufferers of PTSD.

Blue Dream is widely available with a California medical marijuana card. It is a mildly high-THC hybrid, and offers very reliable relief from PTSD. The sativa-dominant strain has an energizing and buoyant effect. It contains a nice dose of indica which produces a warm feeling of physical relaxation also. The herb is not very strong, so you can go about your business, feeling clear headed and fully functional while enjoying its PTSD-busting effects.

Grand Daddy Purple is a very pleasant indica-dominant hybrid that produces feelings of happiness, positivity and relaxation. It is often used by cannabis card holders who suffer from depression, and is widely regarded as an excellent strain for treating PTSD.

Stress Killer this is a high-CBD strain created by Royal Queen Seeds and easily available to people with a California medical marijuana card. It has quite low levels of THC, and is ideal for people who enjoy a mild but very manageable psychoactive effect. It will produce a light, sedative high and is ideal for relieving the anxiety that comes with PTSD.

A very popular indica-dominant strain that is famously good for pain and stress relief is Blueberry Kush. This is a big favorite with California marijuana card holders. It puts the body into a very relaxed state, and is widely availed of by PTSD sufferers.

Northern Lights is a massively popular indica-dominant strain that is used extensively by people with cannabis cards who suffer with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. It brings on a mellow high and is a fantastic sleep aid. It takes hold fast and knocks you out hard. Northern Lights and heavy machinery are not happy (or safe) bedfellows!

Even more of an insomnia-wrecker is Master Kush. This is a firm favorite of people who are cursed with chronic and extreme insomnia. It is a very strong strain that is not for first time smokers. You should be an experienced 420 card user before you use this powerful strain! It will knock you out hard and fast, producing a super-mellow high and ultra-relaxed body. Don’t bother getting munch, you won’t be needing it! Oh and make sure you are seated somewhere nice and comfortable when you smoke this awesome strain, because you probably won’t be moving very far for the foreseeable future!

Pineapple Express is a relatively mild sativa-dominant hybrid strain with a THC content of about 20%. The effects are pleasantly relaxing. It provokes a warm, happy feeling, and is eminently usable for during the day. Many PTSD sufferers have enjoyed the effects that this pleasant strain has given them.

Can I Grow Weed With A California Medical Marijuana Card?

California medical marijuana card owners are well served by a small army of friendly, knowledgeable, and well-stocked MMJ dispensaries. But there is also a lot to be said for cultivating your own medical cannabis.

It is a beautiful feeling to sit back, relax, and spark up a bowl that you yourself have reared, tended to, and watched develop over a period of several months. It is a very satisfying experience to grow your own weed, and a rewarding day when you smoke the herb that you have produced with your own hands. It provides a lovely feeling of accomplishment.

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As long as you have a California Medical Marijuana Card, you can grow your own weed.

But what does the law say about cultivating your own cannabis? Does a California medical marijuana card enable a patient to grow their own weed, and if so, in what amounts, and where?

Proposition 215, the California Compassionate Use Act, which came into effect in 1996 makes it legal for patients and their primary caregivers to grow their own medical marijuana for personal use, provided they have the recommendation and approval of a licensed California physician.

The law explicitly covers cannabis cultivation for personal medical use only. Under Proposition 215 patients are allowed to grow whatever amount of medical marijuana they require to treat or manage their particular illness. 420 card patients can be prosecuted if they exceed these reasonable limits. They can also get into trouble for exceeding a local jurisdiction’s cultivation limits.

In 2004 a legislative statute went into effect that broadened Proposition 215. It allowed California medical marijuana card patients to form non-profit medical cannabis growing collectives and cooperatives. Many collectives and cooperatives now operate in the state, however, like in so many areas of MMJ law, exact policies vary from local jurisdiction to local jurisdiction, and many local governments within California have banned or restricted the rights of patients to set up collectives. Collectives tend to attract the attention of law enforcement, and large outdoor grows with over 100 plants are risky as, although they are not necessarily in breach of Proposition 215, they carry a five-year minimum sentence under US federal law.

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Do you fancy growing your own MMJ? Just make sure you’re on the right side of the law.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which came into effect January 1st 2016, established a system for the permitting of marijuana cultivation and dispensaries. It allows patients to grow up to 100 square feet of cannabis for personal medical use, and primary caregivers with five or less patients to cultivate up to 500 square feet. The cultivation of amounts above this is considered to be growing for commercial sale, and to do this a license is required. Again though, this does not mean a local government cannot enforce its own restrictions or bans on the cultivation of medical marijuana in its own jurisdiction.

Problems with law enforcement are always a possibility when cultivating your own MMJ. Patients have been arrested for growing amounts that police deem over and above what they require, or due to complaints from other residents in an area, or for having dubious recommendations. Patients have ended up on trial, needing to prove the veracity of their medical marijuana cultivation needs. The State Supreme Court has ruled that patients have the same rights to medical cannabis as they do to any legally prescribed drug, thus, patients who have been arrested for cultivation can request dismissal of charges at a pretrial hearing, and the dismissal will be granted if the can convince the judge that there is no probable cause that it wasn’t for medical purposes. Patients in this situation, when acquitted, will have their plants returned to them.

You can grow your medical marijuana on your own private property. However, landlords are not obligated to allow tenants to cultivate medical cannabis on their property, and some local jurisdictions have enacted zoning laws that restrict where medical marijuana can be grown.

Proposition 215 does not allow California medical marijuana card patients to sell their excess cultivated medical marijuana. Legal caregivers and members of growing collectives can charge for their expenses in growing for others, but always on a non-profit basis.

When Proposition 64 comes into effect in January 2018 at the earliest, it will become legal to cultivate recreational marijuana. It will be possible to cultivate up to six plants per residence and possess the marijuana produced by these plants. Local governments may still forbid cultivation outdoors, but must allow it inside a private residence or accessory structure that is “fully enclosed and secure”.

These new cultivation laws will not affect the existing legal rights of California medical marijuana card holders to grow as much as they need under the original Proposition 215, or up to 100 square feet under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.
So yes, it is certainly possible to grow your own MMJ in California, but always be wise and aware of how much you are growing, where you are growing it, and what your local jurisdiction’s specific rules and regulations are.

The Difference Between Smoking And Eating MMJ

You may be thinking that marijuana is marijuana regardless of how it gets into your system, but you’d be sorely mistaken. Smoking, eating, and drinking medical marijuana creates different strength profiles and each process has hugely varying half-lives. And therefore, the type of ailments that each form of ingestion is best suited to treating differs greatly. The two most common forms of marijuana consumption are smoking and eating. Knowing exactly how each form works in the body allows you to make an informed decision as to which is most appropriate to your needs. This article is going to give you the ability to make that informed decision. The only other thing you need to stock up on MMJ is a medical marijuana, card which can be purchased online. Without further ado, let’s get into the differences between smoking and eating marijuana!

 

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Whether you’re more suited to smoking or eating MMJ will depend on your tolerance, preference and ailments.


The Science

There are two places where THC can be processed: in the brain and in the liver. Where THC is processed is dependant on how it enters the system. Eaten cannabis gets metabolized by the liver. Smoked or vaporized cannabis is instead absorbed by the lungs and moves to the THC receptors in the brain.

Getting from edible cannabis to cannabinoids being released through the blood is a slow process – taking between 60 and 120 minutes. The metabolizing of these cannabinoids in the liver happens below the surface with no effects presenting themselves until the cannabinoids are released into the blood plasma. Once released, the effects can last anywhere from four to six hours.

The delayed onset of edible marijuana can mean that inexperienced users may consume too high of a dosage as they confuse the delayed onset with low potency. This can lead to folk to have extremely poor experiences that take many hours to subside. Due to the difficulty in titration with edibles, we recommend the lowest dose possible to achieve therapeutic effects. And from there you can work toward your sweet spot. Patience is key here.

As well as producing a longer-lasting high, eating marijuana produces a much stronger high. This means consumption rates and dosage amounts can be reduced. Many people become interested in edibles because they don’t enjoy the harsh experience of smoking or are worried about the long-term health effects associated with it – this is particularly true of those with lung conditions. Let’s not forget that every drug that has positive effects on the body, also comes with a slew of negative effects – some of which may seem non-existent because they are undetectable. Medical marijuana is no different. So for those requiring frequent marijuana consumption in order to temporarily reduce the effects of chronic pain, or to help with epilepsy etc, having a method to reduce daily dosage while increasing the length and potency of the drug is hugely helpful: meaning they are able to tap into the benefits with much less risk.

Due to the way cannabinoids are metabolised in the liver, in order to have the release of the psychoactive effects of cannabis when eating it, marijuana needs to be heated in some way with a form of fat. You won’t feel a high if you eat it straight without preparation as the digestive system is unable to process THC directly. THC is fat soluble. So cooking with fat – olive oil, coconut oil, butter –  will release the THC from the cannabis and allow it to bind with the fat. Once bound to fat, THC becomes processable by the liver. On top of this, it becomes palatable (don’t try eating raw cannabis unless you are seeking tastebud misery).

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Brownies aren’t the only form of edible MMJ…but they might be the tastiest!

Though edible marijuana is often associated with brownies, or a similar assortment of divine, sugary deserts, almost anything you can think of can be infused with cannabis. It has a strong taste, however, so ensure it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients being experimenting with dosage and dishes.     

On the other hand, the effects of smoked marijuana can be felt within seconds. Smoking marijuana gets THC into the blood much faster and at higher concentrations, but it dissipates far sooner too. This allows even the greenest of users to stop before the point of no return. For this reason, we prepose starting with smoking and moving onto edibles if it suits your ailment or your preferences.

And there you have it, the difference between smoking and eating medical marijuana! Pick whichever suits you and your ailment or settle for a combination of the two. But whatever you do, make sure you have your medical marijuana card before you attempt to purchase. The easiest and quickest way to get your medical marijuana card is online. Happy smoking/eating!

Why Cannabis Oil Is An Excellent Pain Reliever

Customers with medical marijuana cards are now able to buy specifically tailored medical cannabis products to aid them in their fight against pain. Cannabis oil is one of those products.

“The traditional use of Cannabis as an analgesic, anti-asthmatic, and anti-rheumatic drug is well established. Our results would suggest that cultivation of Cannabis plants rich in CBD and other phenolic substances would be useful not only as fiber-producing plants but also for medicinal purposes in the treatment of certain inflammatory disorders.”

Amazingly, this was the conclusion to a paper published in ‘The British journal of clinical pharmacology’ by The School of Pharmacy at the University of London, in 1988. They showed that medical cannabis could be four times more effective than Aspirin at giving pain relief and reducing inflammation. 

The scientists themselves acknowledged that this news was in no way groundbreaking; people have been using medical marijuana as a painkiller for millennia. One of the earliest references is in a Chinese legend in which the mighty king prescribes MMJ tea as an anti-inflammatory, way back in 4700 BC, and there are references to the plant being used both medically and socially in almost all Asian, European and African countries since records began.

What the ancients didn’t understand was the science behind this magical plant. Modern research has begun to unravel the mystery and it is uncovering a wealth of health benefits. The reason cannabis oil is so good for your health is because it has cannabinoids in great abundance. It’s these cannabinoids that are proving exceptionally effective at treating a whole range of ailments. These cannabinols mimic the body’s own naturally produced endocannabinoids, which govern many bodily functions. Sleep, appetite, the immune system, pain and many more areas are controlled by these and when there is an imbalance medical cannabis can help restore that balance without any dangerous side-effects.

THC, the most famous of the 80 odd cannabinoids present in MMJ, has always stolen the limelight as it has the most obvious effects on the brain – for this reason it has been studied more and is understood a lot better than its quieter (and second best known) companion cannabinol, CBD. Because of its effects, commercially THC has been the more sought after cannabinol, so for decades strains were bred for more and more THC potency. This meant that the benefits of CBD were largely overlooked.

But why is CBD that important?

Research is showing that CBD has incredible pain-inhibiting and anti-inflammation properties. One of the most effective ways to reap the benefits of CBD without having to smoke medical cannabis is to ingest cannabis oil. Cannabis oil is the cannabis plant extract. It is chock-full of cannabinoids and generally has higher levels of CBD to THC, although make sure to check before you go ahead with your purchase. Medical marijuana card holders who don’t want any of the ‘stoned’ effect can now buy cannabis oil with no THC in it, allowing them to carry on their day as normal.

The idea that cannabis oil is an effective pain reliever is not up for dispute at this stage

CBD has proved to be very effective in the treatment of epilepsy (even on drug-resistant forms such as Dravet Syndrome). Strains such as Harlequin, Charlotte’s’ Web, Cannatonia have been bred specially to have very high concentrations of CBD and very low level of THC. These strains are being used to produce medical cannabis oil with a low enough THC content to be suitable for even children! So for those of us who don’t want the ‘high’ associated with marijuana, these oils are perfect. But don’t worry, you can still get oils with high THC levels if you want to enjoy the benefits of both of the major cannabinoids.

As a treatment, cannabis oil has been shown to be very effective at targeting certain receptors (glycine receptors) that are important in causing inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. The test suggested that CBD would be effective at relieving chronic pain for illnesses