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Getting a Medical Cannabis Card: Where and How

Knowing where you can get a medical cannabis card and how to go about it can be challenging. Find out how to talk to your doctor and more today!

Keyword(s): Medical cannabis card

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Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states, plus Guam, Puerto Rico, and D.C., so you would think that getting your own medical cannabis card should be straightforward. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of roadblocks along the way for anyone looking to begin using medical cannabis.

While it may not be a breeze at the moment, the good news is that it is getting better.

The longstanding myths around marijuana, such as the false idea that it kills brain cells, continue to be dispelled. The American public is growing more comfortable with the idea of legalization, with over 60% in favor. With these positive changes, we can expect that access to medical cannabis will only grow easier.

Don’t get stuck waiting for change in the meantime. There is a lot you can do to get your own medical cannabis card today.

In this article, we will go through the reasons medical cannabis is used and prescribed. We’ll also discuss the ways that people suffering from those conditions can apply for a medical cannabis card in their state. Read on to learn the basics of getting a medical cannabis card for yourself.

medical cannabis card

What is Medical Cannabis Used For?

Federal prohibitions against cannabis have made it extremely difficult for researchers to study its medical uses. As it continues to be studied, scientists are constantly discovering more and more uses for it. It’s exciting to imagine where the research will take us next, but these are the main uses we know so far.

Pain Management

Pain management is one of the most well-known uses for medical cannabis. It is also the most common reason for prescriptions. Cannabis oil is a common and effective choice for pain management.

Medical cannabis is especially important for those suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain is intense pain that does not go away with the normal healing process and often reoccurs without any known reason.

Traditionally, pain and chronic pain are treated with opioids. While these can be very effective in temporarily relieving pain, they come with some powerful negative side effects. Most dangerously, they carry a high risk of addiction.

This is why medical cannabis is such an exciting new way of treating chronic pain. Cannabis is an effective treatment for pain, and it gives pain sufferers a much safer option. In fact, in states where a medical cannabis card gives access to cannabis as a treatment, rates of opioid addiction and overdoses have dropped.

Cannabis is an effective pain treatment for chronic muscle and spine pain, as well as headaches and migraines. Those suffering from arthritis have also found it helpful.

Anxiety, PTSD, and Sleep Disorders

Just like pain, anxiety is highly subjective. Doctors find it hard to treat because it can’t be observed in the same way that heart disease or an injured muscle might be.

Anxiety can be debilitating for those suffering from anxiety disorders. Medical cannabis can help people keep their anxiety under control and live more comfortably.

For those with severe mental health issues, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a medical cannabis card can empower them to manage their anxiety.

It can also help reduce nightmares and regulate sleep. This makes it easier for those with anxiety disorders to get healthy sleep, which is key to reducing anxiety overall.

Multiple Sclerosis and Muscle Spasms

Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes painful muscle spasms that often grow worse over time. These spasms can make it difficult for sufferers to go through their day and perform ordinary tasks.

Medical cannabis can help relieve the pain associated with MS. It’s been theorized that it can also help control the muscle spasms, though more research is needed.

Further research is being done into the ways medical cannabis can help with other conditions that cause muscle spasms, such as Leeuwenhoek’s Disease.


Medical cannabis is also effective when it comes to epilepsy and other disorders that cause seizures. It can significantly lessen the number of seizures that someone suffers.


Medical cannabis can be a blessing for people suffering from nausea. It can keep their nausea in check and increase their appetite.

This is very important for people living with cancer or AIDS, or who are undergoing other treatments that result in nausea.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Medical cannabis can help slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease, keeping the brain healthy for longer. It appears that the THC in cannabis slows down the buildup of plaque in the brain. This plaque is what kills brain cells and causes Alzheimer’s disease.


Glaucoma is a serious condition that causes damage to the eye and can lead to blindness over time. Fluid builds up in the eye, putting pressure on the optic nerves and leading them to deteriorate.

Medical cannabis can help reduce the pressure on the optic nerve, helping to reduce the damage.

medical marijuana cardGetting Your Medical Cannabis Card

If you suffer from any of the conditions that we discussed above, you could be eligible for a medical cannabis card. Unfortunately, since medical cannabis is only legal in certain states, it means that the rules will depend on the state that you live in. Not all conditions are covered in every state, and the rules differ slightly. In this section, we will discuss the general process, but keep in mind that you will need to check out the specific rules for your state.

In this section, we will discuss the general process, but keep in mind that you will need to check out the specific rules for your state.

Once you have determined that your condition is covered by your state’s medical marijuana laws, it is time to start applying for your medical cannabis card.

Proof of Residence

The first thing you will need is proof of residence, such as a driver’s license. You just need to show that you actually live in the state where medical cannabis is legal.

This, unfortunately, means that if you live in a state where it remains illegal, you will not be able to obtain a medical cannabis card yet. But, as legalization movements continue to gain strength, you should hopefully gain access to treatment in the near future.

A Doctor’s Recommendation

Since medical cannabis is a medical treatment, you will require approval from a doctor. This prescription basically verifies that you do suffer from an approved condition and require medical cannabis to help treat it. This system is in place to help ensure that people in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal do not take advantage of the medical system.

Since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, so doctors cannot actually prescribe it. What you need it a recommendation from a doctor.

This can be difficult to obtain. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding cannabis, even though it is an effective treatment for so many diseases and conditions.

Because of this stigma, some doctors may not be willing to recommend medical cannabis. Some doctors may simply not feel qualified due to lack of medical marijuana training, and the fact that many of the breakthroughs are so recent.

You may need to look beyond your regular family doctor to get the recommendation you need to apply for a medical cannabis card. You can find listings online for medical cannabis doctors in your state.

Using Your Recommendation or Applying for a Card

In some states, such as California, you can bring your doctor’s recommendation to a dispensary and begin receiving benefits without getting a medical cannabis card. With this recommendation, they will be able to register you at that particular dispensary and may provide you with a smaller ID card so you don’t need to bring your full doctor’s recommendation every time.

However, even if your state allows purchasing with a recommendation, it is generally better to apply for your medical cannabis card.

Find the application on your state’s government website or from a state health department office. Generally, the application will ask for basic information such as your address, as well as background about your medical condition. Any supporting documentation you can provide will make your application easier.

You will also need to pay an application fee. Fees differ from state to state and may be lowered if you have Medicaid status.

Once you’ve applied, your card will be mailed to you within a few weeks, or you can pick it up at a state health department office. You will need to bring your card with you every time you visit a dispensary to pick up medical cannabis. You will also need to bring an ID card, such as a driver’s license.

Know What You’re Applying For

The rules differ significantly from state to state. It is important that you know exactly how the medical cannabis card system works in your state to avoid inadvertently breaking the law.

Some states allow dispensaries, businesses licensed to sell cannabis, to serve you. Others allow for caregivers, who are specific individuals you can designate to be your provider.

The amounts you are allowed to have also differ by state. Make sure you know the limits, as possessing more than the allowed amount is still a crime.

What “Legal” Medical Cannabis Really Means

Cannabis is not legal anywhere in the United States according to federal law. Full stop.

Medical cannabis in the United States is currently in a bit of a legal gray zone. The states are legalizing it on their own, but as far as the federal government is concerned, marijuana is not a legal medical treatment.

However, if the state you live in has legalized medical marijuana, you will not face any trouble as long as you follow your state’s rules. This means properly obtaining a medical cannabis card, and following your state’s laws when it comes to purchasing and using cannabis.

It also means that your authorization to use medical cannabis does not necessarily extend outside of your home state. Some states, such as Arizona and Delaware, allow dispensaries to take out-of-state cards, but make sure you know the rules before you travel.

You also need to ensure that your card is up-to-date. Generally, there is a time limit on the validity of your medical cannabis card. This period is usually one year.

If you attempt to use your card to get treatment after its expiration date, you are obtaining cannabis illegally. So, be sure to always renew your prescription.

Finally, since medical cannabis is illegal federally, some employers can still issue drug tests and persecute employees based on marijuana usage. Before applying for a medical cannabis card, make sure that you know your employer’s policy. Determine whether you are eligible for any protections under medical or disability policies.

Wrapping Up

Applying for a medical cannabis card might seem complicated. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be.

If you suffer from a condition that medical cannabis can help, you don’t need to wait any longer to get the treatment you need. By following the instructions in this article, you can obtain your medical cannabis card and start getting relief today.

Educate yourself about the specific regulations in your state. Find out the covered conditions and if you are eligible. Determine whether you can go to a dispensary or obtain a caregiver. Make sure you know your state’s maximum amounts and it’s regulations when it comes to out of state cards.

Once you’ve got a doctor’s recommendation, apply through your state health department. Once you have your card, ensure that you keep it updated and stay aware of any changes in your state’s laws.

You will not be able to get a medical cannabis card if you live in a state where medical cannabis has not yet been legalized. Stay informed about legalization movements within your state and find out what you can do to help.

To find out more about medical cannabis and how you can get treatment, contact us today.

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About Quantum9

Quantum 9, Inc. is a Chicago, IL-based cannabis consulting firm. We specialize in getting high net worth individuals and private equity cannabis business licenses to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana. We have over 50 marijuana consultants that work for the company, and we have practiced in 12 countries. Our areas of expertise include permit acquisition, team building, employee training planning, and process planning. We help clients fully maximize the potential of any cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary business.


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