There are several benefits to obtaining a medical marijuana card if you live in one of the many states that offer this option. Often, those who have found success self-medicating with cannabis are reluctant to speak with their doctor about it. This may be due to the murky legality of cannabis or a fear of rejection. While medical marijuana was initially reserved for those with terminal or debilitating conditions, today many states have expanded their parameters to include a number of common conditions as well. We’ll take you through the benefits and go over some of the many good reasons to get a medical marijuana card.
Common Reasons To Get a Medical Marijuana Card
If you think medical marijuana is only for seriously ill patients, think again! There are many common conditions for which your doctor may recommend cannabis products. These conditions affect millions of Americans every day.
Classical Greek physician Hippocrates of Kos is credited with the famous quote “all disease begins in the gut.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that roughly 60-70 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases. Irritable bowel disease (IBD) is the most common functional gastrointestinal illness worldwide. Pro-cannabis physicians commonly recommend medical marijuana for relief from symptoms of digestive diseases such as IBD and Crohn's Disease. In a survey-based study, participants noted improvements in abdominal pain, appetite, nausea, and diarrhea with cannabis use.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mood disorders impact 9.7% of Americans yearly. Mood or affective disorders can have debilitating symptoms that can negatively impact day to day life. This group of mental health conditions includes major depressive disorder, dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder), anxiety disorders, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and seasonal affective disorder, to name a few. In some states, mood disorders are a qualifying condition for medical marijuana treatment. In one Washington State University study, the research team found that “one puff of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC was optimal for reducing symptoms of depression, two puffs of any type of cannabis was sufficient to reduce symptoms of anxiety, while 10 or more puffs of cannabis high in CBD and high in THC produced the largest reductions in stress.” If you’re one of the nearly one in ten adults who suffer from mood disorders, it may be a good reason to talk to your doctor about getting a medical marijuana card.
It’s estimated that 30% of the population suffers from sleep disruptions, and about 10% report that it causes them functional impairment during the day. Symptoms of insomnia include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking often during the night
- Waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep
- Waking up feeling un-refreshed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4% of adults in the US use prescription sleep aids monthly. Some report negative side effects with these medications including impairment the following day and potentially dangerous parasomnia, or non-waking behavior, such as sleepwalking or operating a vehicle in their sleep. If you struggle with sleep, your doctor may recommend the use of medical cannabis. According to medical marijuana physician Dr. Matt Roman, “Marijuana is an effective sleep aid because it restores a person’s natural sleep cycle, which so often falls out of sync with our schedules in today’s modern lifestyle.”
According to a clinical review, pain relief is the most commonly cited reason for using medical cannabis. Those who suffer from chronic pain may be prescribed opioids, which have been known to contribute to a growing health crisis in the United States. Pharmaceutical opioid overdose deaths increased nearly 4-fold between 1999 and 2009. Those who suffer from chronic pain may also choose to self-medicate with alcohol or other substances. The National Academies Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is effective to treat chronic pain in adults. If you suffer from pain, your doctor may be able to help with a medical marijuana recommendation.
Why get a medical marijuana card?
The benefits of obtaining a medical marijuana card may outweigh the costs, depending on your individual situation. Although many states require a sizable registration fee, renewal fee, and of course the costs associated with visiting a physician, it may save you money and headaches later on. The benefits include:
- Legal Protection - The laws regarding cannabis possession and use vary by state, and marijuana is still federally prohibited.However, the ability to produce a medical marijuana card for local authorities can provide some legal protection if you are found in possession of weed. It is best to know the legal limitations of medical cannabis in your state.
- Lower taxes - With a medical marijuana card, some states waive their excise and cannabis retail taxes for patients, as these additional costs could prevent them from receiving the medical care they need. While other prescriptions are rarely subject to sales tax, most dispensaries are still required to charge sales tax on marijuana.
- Purchase limits - The amount of cannabis that users can purchase on a daily or monthly basis can vary greatly between recreational and medical users. For example, in Washington DC, adults over the age of 21 may possess two ounces or cannabis or less without penalty, while those with a medical recommendation may purchase up to four ounces in a 30-day period.
- Appropriate dosing - Perhaps one of the most important benefits of obtaining a medical marijuana card is the ability to use cannabis under medical supervision. If your doctor has experience in managing conditions with cannabis, they will be able to make recommendations on how much and what types of cannabis may be best for you.