You’ve done your homework, listened to your doctor’s advice, and decided that medical marijuana is right for you. Now what? Everything about medical marijuana can be confusing. However, your introduction to using medical marijuana doesn’t have to be. Here, we’ll cover many of the questions and concerns you may have about using medical marijuana to treat your condition.
Laws, Regulations, and Medical Marijuana Cards
One of the most confusing things about using medical marijuana to treat health conditions is the regulations about WHO qualifies to use it and WHAT they can use it for. This is especially tricky because the laws around medical marijuana vary from state to state.
In Florida, you will need to apply for and obtain a medical marijuana card from the state to buy medical marijuana from a dispensary. To get a card, you must first visit a doctor and receive a diagnosis of a condition that qualifies you to use medical marijuana legally. Qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Florida include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Terminal illness
- Chronic pain
- Medical conditions comparable to those listed
Even if you don’t have one of these conditions, many other conditions could qualify you for a medical marijuana card. Using a doctor who has extensive knowledge about medical marijuana and its uses is a must. Additionally, working with a doctor who can actually help you get a card will make your life much easier!
Medical Marijuana Products
The number of medical marijuana products available can be overwhelming. If you aren’t already familiar with Cannabis, getting a handle on the differences between medical marijuana products can be challenging. The best way to do that is to visit a dispensary (a certified distributor). They will typically have a very knowledgeable “Budtender” who can talk with you about what you are using it for, what the best delivery system would be, and what you can expect from each product.
Here’s a quick Medical Marijuana Product 101
THC & CBD
- Cannabis and Hemp contain a lot of different kinds of cannabinoids.
- THC is the cannabinoid that causes you to get high. No THC=No High.
- Low levels of THC are often recommended for first-time users to prevent any unexpected or scary experiences.
- CBD is a cannabinoid that provides health benefits with no psychoactive effects. CBD=No High. It can also help reduce the anxiety-producing effects of THC.
- Different medical marijuana products have different ratios of THC to CBD.
The term “strain” is used to classify the different types of plants that medicinal marijuana products are derived from. The product strains classify the intensity of the effects and the experiences that they are intended to provide to the consumer.
The Main Classification of Strains are:
- Since these are very stimulating, they are good for conditions like depression or diseases that cause chronic fatigue.
- Since Indica varieties are known for their relaxation health benefits, they are used for conditions like insomnia or chronic pain.
- Hybrid Cannabis are a combination of both Indica and Sativa plants and can be tailored to the needs of patients who have very specific needs for symptom relief.
There are many different ways to consume marijuana, and each affects each patient differently. The primary methods to consume medical marijuana include:
- Ingesting (edibles)
- Topical (lotions, oils, etc.)
Each method has its pros and cons. It’s best to discuss what delivery method is best for you with your doctor or dispensary staff.
How Much Medical Marijuana to Use:
How much cannabis to consume varies depending on individual tolerance. Some people are extremely sensitive to cannabinoids. Others are not and need a more significant amount to feel the same effects. Start with a small amount, observe how you feel, then adjust the serving size/dose as desired.
Your doctor will also give you general dosage guidelines during your medical cannabis card assessment. The staff at your local dispensary will be able to answer some of your questions about dosing based on strain strength.
Where to Buy Medical Marijuana
Our best advice is to find a reputable local dispensary that has a knowledgeable staff. It’s also essential that you feel comfortable asking questions there as well.
To find a reputable dispensary, you can check out company websites, read online reviews, and get referrals from people or experts that you trust. Also, know that you don’t have to buy anything when you walk into your first dispensary.
You can visit a few dispensaries to get a feel for the place and then decide which one you want to use. You also aren’t tied to one dispensary. If you decide that one isn’t for you, you can go to another one.
Asking questions of the staff can get you the best medical marijuana experience. You may be wondering what questions to ask. You could ask the staff or owner:
- Where do your products come from? (they should be able to answer this in detail)
- What hours is the store open? (does it coincide with your availability?)
- How often is your supply restocked? (you want to know it’s fresh)
- How many locations do you have? (your convenience matters)
- How much does my desired strain cost? (you’ll notice some price differences between stores)
The answers you get,and how they are given to you, can help you decide if this is a company you want to build a long-term relationship with or not.
If you are concerned about your privacy, remember that your medical records are protected by privacy laws set out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPPA protects the privacy of medical records and all discussions between a patient and their medical healthcare professionals. However, be aware that the conversations between yourself and any employees of medical marijuana dispensaries are not.
Your Concerns About Safety
Again and again, marijuana proves to be a safe and effective treatment. As with any medication, treatment, or procedure, there are still precautions to consider. Therefore, when trying medical marijuana for the first time:
- Work with a caregiver
- Be aware of how the product may affect you
- Don’t share with others- it’s not safe, and it’s not legal
- Follow dosage recommendations
- Report side effects to your doctor
Want to learn more? Check out our other blogs, along with the rest of our website. Also, be sure to contact our team at Emerald Medical to get all of your other questions answered!