How To: Get Your Medical Marijuana Recommendation (Weed Card)
How to stay legal and medicated at the same time.
Good weed has never been so accessible in modern America. And justifiably consumed. As more states move to legalize cannabis in some form, many different ways that different people interact with the stuff are revealed.
In states where weed is legal on a medicinal basis, the "stoner" label is replaced with a "patient" designation. (Not to say that your Grandma who suffers from glaucoma and treats the symptoms with trees isn't a huge fucking stoner—the wise woman gets down on some Super Smash Brothers—but it's a matter of branding, and owning the stoner identity.) We digress.
If your state is one that recognizes the realness of Dr. Ganja, and employs a medical marijuana program, well, firstly as D.J. Khaled would say: "Bless up. Major [key emoji]!"
Also, you're going to need a unique license to purchase the stuff. Here's how to make that happen:
Image via Lynne Hand/Flickr
Do you suffer from migraines? Experience seizures? Parkinson's disease? Sometimes have acute nausea, or trouble eating and sleeping? Are you one of the estimated 36 million people living with HIV/AIDS? Weed can help. Do you just feel anxious sometimes? Weed can help you too. (Just maybe hold off on dabbing for now, slick.)
These are qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana recommendation—and are not to be taken lightly. The desire to score high-end nugs should never be motivation to misrepresent your health. Poser. At the same time, if you'd rather treat your back pain with cannabis over a pharmaceutical remedy; you do you, baby.
A good place to start is this list from Leafly. You'll find the qualifying conditions for each state. They differ depending on where you are. For instance, in Tennessee medical marijuana extends only to the use of non-psychoactive CBD oils to treat intractable epilepsy. Whereas in California, though not expressly stated on any official list, you can pretty much secure a weed recommendation for, like, having to drive to the Valley once a week or something. But in all seriousness: Be real with the weed doctor.
Image via NewCannabisVentures.com
Finding a Qualified Cannabis Doctor
The Internet has made this a very easy thing. Mobile apps such as HelloMD or GetNugg connect patients with verified, licensed weed doctors over live video chat. Otherwise, search for local cannabis-minded doctors in your area. Weedmaps, Yelp, and Google are great tools for this task. In California, walk down most main streets and look for the usually neon-lit, green cross hanging outside of the establishment.
Because of Federal regulation, it is illegal for doctors to prescribe a patient marijuana. However, it is within legal bounds for doctors and physicians to recommend a medical marijuana treatment.
Again, depending on your location, once you've found a doctor, the process and consultation shouldn't take any longer than a traditional visit. In New York, one of the state's first medical marijuana patients described the experience as painless:
"I went to the doctor and he filled out a certificate online, and after that I left with my certificate and went home on my computer and had to fill out some questions. Then (the state Department of Health) sent it to me in the mail."
Don't forget to bring a proof of residence, and a few forms of identification. Most recommendations are valid for up to one year. You'll need to remember to renew your card on an annual basis.
Image via Dank Depot/Flickr
Procuring Legal Nugs
It's 2016. It's probably chill in the journalistic ethics department for us to tell you how to find a dispensary in your town, but it's also probably superfluous and unnecessary. Technically, we already did. Scroll up, as Weedmaps, GetNugg and Leafly also offer dispensary locator functions. There we go again.
Now that you're legal, find the strain that suits your needs and medicate appropriately.