2018 Guide to Medical Marijuana and CBD Oil
Welcome to our guide to medical marijuana and CBD oil for 2018. We hope you will find it beneficial to growing your knowledge about this burgeoning new alternative healthcare field.
Cannabis, often referred to as Marijuana, has been around for thousands of years. This all-natural plant has been used for both recreational and medicinal purposes, since its discovery.
In the US, the laws that have long prohibited the use of this drug, are finally giving way to decriminalization and in some states even, full legalization.
All too often, marijuana is misunderstood and misrepresented. Of course, this plays a large role in why the drug has been illegal for so long. The main purpose of this guide is to provide you with accurate marijuana facts and information.
This guide will cover the anatomy of the cannabis plant, including the components that make it such an effective medical treatment for such a wide range of ailments. We will examine the numerous benefits that marijuana has to offer, as well as the few side effects, that it can produce. Furthermore, we will also address the various methods for using marijuana, and which is the best option for you.
Aside from the plant itself, this guide will also review current federal laws and specific Florida state laws. Lastly, you will learn how to become a Marijuana Doctor patient and obtain your Florida medical marijuana card.
Our hopes are that this guide will answer any lingering questions that you may still have about marijuana. The best way to continue breaking down the barriers to this natural medicine is to understand what it truly is. Most importantly, knowing the facts will help you make the right decision for you and your health.
What is Cannabis?
We’ll answer the most basic question, first. Cannabis is an annual flowering plant that can be male, female or even hermaphrodite. It belongs to the family cannabaceae. In this family, you will find Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. We will study these more closely, later on.
Female plants produce large, resin-secreting flowers that contain a high concentration of cannabinoids and are void of seeds. For this reason, growers and consumers alike prefer the dried flower that comes from the female plant. Male plants are used for pollination.
Female flowers grow in large clusters called cola. Cola are the reproductive parts of the flower that are typically vivid in color, but lacking in potency and taste.
The cola are encased in a leaf-like structure called bract. Bract are densely coated in
resin-producing glands that contain the highest concentration of cannabinoids in the entire cannabis plant.
The whole flower is also coated in something called trichomes. Trichomes are translucent, resinous crystals that are responsible for the familiar aromatic essential oils and flavors of marijuana. These trichomes also contain cannabinoids.
Another component of the cannabis plant are terpenes. Terpenes are found in a wide variety of plants, including every strain of marijuana. This component plays a major role in both the flavor and smell of marijuana. We will further examine this component, later on in the guide.
Cannabinoids are the main compound that make marijuana so unique. In order to understand why cannabinoids affect us, we must first understand how they affect us.
The Central Nervous System of the human body contains a specialized network of cell receptors called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Scientists were researching the effects of cannabinoids on the human body when they discovered this incredible system, hence why it was named after the compound.
In terms of maintaining human health, the ECS is the most influential. Receptors are found all over the body, in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands and immune cells. The main goal of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis, otherwise known as a stable, internal environment. The goal is to keep the body where conditions are just right.
There are 3 main components to the endocannabinoid system. These include the cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids and metabolic enzymes.
- Cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of the cell and monitor the conditions surrounding it. If conditions deem it necessary, endocannabinoids will be released.
- Endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. These
naturally-produced chemical compounds are mainly responsible for regulating body processes in order to maintain a stable, internal environment. They are made and used exactly when they’re needed.
- Metabolic enzymes not only ensure that the endocannabinoids are used when they’re needed, but also make sure that they’re not used any longer than necessary. These enzymes will destroy the endocannabinoids once they’ve been used.
The ECS is extremely important when it comes to surviving in a rapidly changing, increasingly hostile environment. This system begins functioning when we’re still in the womb, and continues through nursing, growth and injury.
To apply this to a real life situation, we’ll look at inflammation. When someone is experiencing inflammation post-injury or illness, the endocannabinoid system communicates with the immune system (through receptors) to signal immune cells to get to the infected or damaged area.
The endocannabinoid system’s job (in terms of inflammation) is to keep the healing process on track, ensuring that the immune cells destroy germs, remove damaged tissue and then stop.
When the immune system is activated inappropriately, chronic inflammation (persistent inflammation without injury) and autoimmune disorders (destruction of healthy cells) can occur. The ECS prevents these types of things from occuring so that the cells and the body can return to homeostasis.
Phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids that naturally occur in plants, especially cannabis. There are over 113 known phytocannabinoids in marijuana, but the most well-known are THC, CBD and CBN. These chemicals react with the body’s built-in endocannabinoid receptors, producing a variety of euphoric and therapeutic effects that marijuana is known for.
CB1 (cannabinoid receptor 1) is the first of these receptors, found in the brain, nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands and organs. CB2 (cannabinoid receptor 2) receptors are associated with the immune system & its related structures, as well as the GI tract. These receptors each behave differently and are mainly responsible for determining the behavioral effects of cannabis when consumed. CB1 and CB2 also play a role in determining how your body’s endocannabinoids affect you.
As research progresses, scientists hope to better understand how different strains of cannabis interact with these receptors in order to produce more unique, specialized forms of medicine.
It is believed that small doses of cannabis can actually signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more receptors. Because the ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, increasing the number of receptors may make the system more responsive, and possibly help to prevent disease. In a nutshell, this is primarily why cannabis-based therapy may be so effective at treating such a wide range of illnesses and associated symptoms.
There have been many studies conducted on the effects of cannabinoids to determine the potential for use as medical treatment.
Medical Uses for Marijuana
The potential of marijuana as a medical treatment and the therapeutic effects that it provides builds a solid case for legalizing the drug. Federal laws on marijuana have made it difficult to study the effects, however research suggests that marijuana is a safe and viable alternative to a slew of different, possibly dangerous, prescription medications (we’ll elaborate on this after we go over the benefits of medical marijuana.)
Additionally, hundreds of patient and caregiver testimonies further substantiate the use of marijuana as a feasible medical treatment.
Cannabis has the ability to treat literally dozens of different symptoms and illnesses. There are a multitude of unique strains out there, each of which offers distinct benefits and effects. Every strain of marijuana has varying concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. In order to understand these effects, we must examine the structures of each of the main cannabinoids.
The cannabis plant naturally produces cannabinoid acids. Through a process called decarboxylation, the acids are heated and activated, so that they can interact with the receptors of the ECS in the human body.
The two most famous cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). It’s important to note that there are a few others worth mentioning that also promote enjoyable, therapeutic effects.
We can’t discuss THC without acknowledging Israeli Chemist, Raphael Mechoulam. He and his team of researchers were the first to isolate and synthesize THC from the cannabis plant in
- This marked the beginning of marijuana research, which led to the discovery of the other cannabinoids, as well as the ECS itself.
THC is the main psychoactive component in the marijuana plant and quite possibly the most well-known cannabinoid. It’s signature effect, a euphoric “high”, is mainly responsible for its popularity, yet it is also a major reason why the drug has been demonized. Marijuana has been used recreationally for enjoyment for hundreds of years. In recent years, however, it has also proven itself to be a potent medicine for treating a myriad of different symptoms.
That’s all fine and dandy, but how does it work? As we previously discussed, our body comes with a natural cannabinoid processing system, the ECS. This is because our body produces endocannabinoids on it’s own. The most common is called anandamide. You’ve experienced a rush of anandamide if you’ve ever experienced the euphoric feeling of a runner’s high. When we consume the cannabinoid, THC, through marijuana, it binds to these receptors (CB1 and CB2)
in the same way. This of course is what allows us to experience the mind-altering effects that
THC has to offer.
Now that we know the benefits of THC, the symptoms it can treat, and how it works, we must also address the possible side effects of the famous cannabinoid. Many of the side effects are short-term but may include:
Potential long-term THC use, risks and effects include:
- Possible anatomical brain changes, specifically in the corpus callosum. This part of the brain is the communication pathway between the two cerebral hemispheres. A study showed that long-term THC use may affect the microstructure of the corpus callosum. It is important to note, however, that these results were self-reported which makes it impossible to verify the accuracy of this study.
- Bronchitis is another risk associated with not only THC, but smoking in general. In order to avoid this, you might consider an alternative to smoking your marijuana.
- There have been several studies conducted to determine the risk of cancer from
long-term THC use. No evidence has been found linking the two, although again, you can decrease your risk by choosing a different method of consuming the drug (instead of smoking).
- One study found that there was a slight decrease in verbal cognitive function (memory) over a 5-year period of marijuana use. The results of this study were also found using self-reported data, so again, it’s impossible to verify accuracy.
- The risk of psychosis will only apply to those at risk for other psychotic conditions, such as schizophrenia. This study determined that long-term THC consumption resulted in an onset of schizophrenia approximately 3 years earlier.
- The most likely long-term use risk is developing a THC tolerance. This would mean that you would require more and more THC in order to experience the benefits. Luckily, there is a simple solution to this effect, and that is to take a tolerance break. In other words, give your body a break from THC to clear the cannabinoid out of your system.
This cannabinoid shares a similar structure to THC, as well as a few of its psychoactive properties, if taken in high enough doses. Currently, THCV is only found in trace amounts of the plant, making it difficult to get in large doses. It can also act like CBD in the fact that it can weaken the effects of THC. THCV has several unique benefits to offer.
This cross between THC and CBD acts as an appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for those looking to lose weight. It should be avoided by patients suffering from anorexia and those experiencing appetite loss from nausea or cancer treatment.
THCV may be able treat diabetes. Research indicates that this cannabinoid may have the ability to regulate blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance.
While studies are currently being conducted, there is some evidence that THCV can treat
Alzheimer’s by reducing brain lesions, decreasing tremors and improving motor control.
THCV may also be able to reduce anxiety attacks in people suffering from PTSD without suppressing emotion.
Lastly, THCV is being studied to see if it can help with osteoporosis and other bone conditions as it may promote the growth of new bone cells.
While THCV may currently be difficult to find, it’s not impossible. As the marijuana industry grows, more products with a higher concentration of THCV will hit the market. Until then, your best bet is to look for African Sativas, as they are naturally higher in THCV.
The second most popular cannabinoid would be Cannabidiol (CBD). It offers a wide variety of medical and therapeutic effects, without the psychoactive or intoxicating experience. Due to this
fact, CBD is actually legal in most places. CBD has the unique ability to treat many of the same symptoms as THC, minus the high. This appeals to people who need relief but must also stay clear headed.
The cannabis plant contains high concentrations of CBD, making extraction fairly easy. Because of the popularity of the cannabinoid, CBD-heavy strains are being cultivated to meet demand for the product.
This cannabinoid was first isolated in the 1940’s, but its chemical structure was not described until the mid 1960’s, again by Raphael Mechoulam. Once released into the bloodstream, CBD molecules interact with receptors of the body, much like THC does, however CBD does not interact with CB1 or CB2 receptors in the brain. THC does, which is what allows you to get high.
CBD doesn’t get you high, simply because it cannot activate the receptors that would allow it to. While CBD cannot activate these receptors, it can still occupy them. This is how CBD dampens the high associated with THC. If THC can’t get to these receptors, the euphoric feeling will be diminished.
While CBD does not activate all receptors, it does activate a few of them. The activation of the Adenosine, Serotonin and Vanilloid receptors allow us to reap the benefits of the medicine without getting high.
Adenosine: These receptors, found in the brain, are mainly associated with feelings of anxiety. If these receptors don’t work properly, anxiousness can set in. CBD ensures that the receptors function as they should, thus decreasing feelings of anxiety.
Serotonin: Consuming high concentrations of CBD will keep serotonin receptors active. When these receptors are active, we experience a boost in positivity and a decrease in feelings of depression.
Vanilloid: Active Vanilloid receptors decrease inflammation and regulate the perception of pain so that it is not felt as much as it would be if these receptors were inactive.
Before we get to the ailments that CBD can treat, we must first go over some of its most important and beneficial properties.
Anti-inflammatory- It can decrease inflammation from MS, Arthritis, injury etc…
Anticonvulsant- CBD can suppress epileptic seizures and non-epileptic seizures.
Antiemetic- It can reduce nausea and vomiting. This is especially helpful to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment that often suffer from intense bouts of nausea and vomiting.
Antioxidant- CBD mitigates neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Antipsychotic- This cannabinoid mediates psychotic disorders such as Schizophrenia and
Antitumoral- CBD can fight and slow the growth of tumor & cancer cells.
Anxiolytic- It combats PTSD, anxiety and depression.
As you can see, CBD has proven itself to be quite effective in the medical field. The following list is not comprehensive, as CBD is still being studied, however the medical disorders listed below have all been decreased or improved through the use of CBD.
Perhaps the most incredible property of CBD is that it comes with almost no serious medical side effects. Furthermore, studies have shown that there is no lethal dose of CBD.
- While small, one potential side effect of CBD use is dry mouth.
- CBD can inhibit liver enzymes from metabolizing drugs. This means that if you were on a heart medication, introducing CBD may stop the heart medication from taking effect
which can be dangerous. It’s advised that you speak with a doctor before using CBD.
CBD Oil in the Medical World
CBD oil has skyrocketed to stardom in the medical world as it is easily accessible to a large portion of the population. As seen above, CBD has the ability to treat a number of symptoms from a variety of illnesses. CBD in oil form makes ingesting this medicine easier than ever because you don’t have to smoke it. This has helped thousands of people of all different ages find relief from symptoms which otherwise would have been left untreated.
There are a few more CBD strains worth noting due to their specific health benefits and potential as medical treatments. Each of these cannabinoids are related to CBD, so they are all also non-psychoactive.
Arguably one of the most unique cannabinoids, CBG has the unparalleled ability to actually convert to THC or CBD. Understanding this process has helped scientists figure out how to produce high-THC/low-CBD strains, as well as high-CBD/low-THC strains of marijuana. As we’ve previously learned, being able to grow specific strains is invaluable when it comes to medical treatment.
Research has also shown that CBG carries great potential in treating illnesses such as cancer, and a variety of bowel and bladder disorders.
This cannabinoid is found in high concentrations, in plants that also have high concentrations of CBD. CBDV is an impressive anti-convulsant, meaning that it can be highly-effective at lessening the severity of seizures. It is also a promising anti-nausea medication.
Believe it or not, this is the second most prominent cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant. CBC is full of potential. Not only does it have the ability to reduce anxiety, but can also play an part in whole plant therapy due to its heavy-concentration.
What is Whole Plant Therapy?
Today, there are medicines that are THC-only or CBD-only. These are referred to as isolates because they single-out one specific cannabinoid.
Whole plant therapy is the form of treatment that utilizes all of the compounds in the entire plant. There are over 100 different cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, all of which have important benefits to offer.
Some studies suggest that marijuana is most useful when all of the compounds are working together. This is known as the entourage effect. Whole plant therapy also helps to preserve the terpenes (aromatic compounds) that have proven themselves to be quite an important component in medical treatment. We’ll look at Terpenes more closely, soon.
If you don’t want to smoke, you can still experience whole plant therapy by using a full-spectrum extract.
Decreasing Opioid-Related Deaths
Studies have shown that states which have passed medical marijuana laws have seen a significant decrease in prescription opioid use. These studies also suggest that the use of medical marijuana in place of opioids will not only save hundreds of thousands of lives but also billions of dollars, each year.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are prescription painkillers. A few examples of these drugs are OxyContin, Vicodin and Morphine. Common side effects of opioid use include sedation, nausea & vomiting, constipation and dizziness. Severe side effects of routine opioid use include tolerance & dependence, respiratory depression and even death.
According to the CDC, approximately 115 people die from opioid addiction in the United States each day. This is almost 42,000 people each year. According to the National Institute of Health, 25% of patients that are prescribed opioids misuse them; 5% of which end up transitioning to heroin. Aside from thousands of deaths per year, the misuse of prescription opioids cost approximately $78,500,000,000 This includes the cost of healthcare, treatment, lost productivity, criminal justice proceedings, etc…
Opioids VS. Medical Marijuana
Studies have shown that marijuana users can, at times, experience a mild dependence. Unlike opioid dependence, marijuana dependence can be reversed relatively easily. This is due to the fact that marijuana dependence can be broken without having to go through the debilitating withdrawal symptoms that opioid users have to deal with.
The human body is extremely adaptable and can develop a tolerance to any drug. A negative side effect from consistent opioid use is cognitive impairment (memory loss). When a patient develops a tolerance to opioids, they will require a higher dosage to get relief from chronic pain.
The problem is many physicians are reluctant to up the dosage in fear of intensifying these side effects and potential addiction.
A survey was conducted on patients who have used both opioids and medical marijuana. Results of this survey have shown that participants reported a much higher satisfaction rate from cannabis, as far as pain relief is concerned.
If you’ve been interested in the subject of medical marijuana long enough, you’ve probably heard the names Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid. These three words are the generalized classifications of cannabis that you’ll often hear in a dispensary. Consumers commonly use these classifications to determine the effects of the marijuana they select.
This category of cannabis is commonly believed to be energizing and mood-boosting, which is why it is better for day-use. Sativa is said to pair well with creativity, physical activity and social functions.
This category of marijuana originated in Europe and Western Eurasia. It is tall and narrow in stature. Sativa has a long flowering cycle and is better suited to warm climates with a long season.
Indica is thought to be the complete opposite of Sativa strains, and is recommended for nighttime use. It is generally more relaxing, and can even be sedating.
First discovered in India, Indica is a shorter plant, with much wider leaves when compared to
Sativa. The exact opposite of Sativa, Indica is grown in colder climates with a shorter season
Hybrid strains are typically a combination of Sativa and Indica, but their exact effects can differ depending on the concentration of each.
Choosing a Strain
There are literally hundreds of different strains to choose from. Assigning strains to one of these three generalized categories, makes selecting a strain much easier. It is especially convenient for those new to the cannabis world, as choosing a strain can be extremely overwhelming.
With that being said, there is actually very little evidence to suggest that these classifications will follow a specific pattern. In other words, there is no real proof that all Sativa strains will be energizing and all Indica strains will be relaxing.
Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D. and chemist stated, “There is no factual or scientific basis to making these broad sweeping recommendations, and it needs to stop today. What we need to seek to understand better is which standardized cannabis composition is causing which effects, when delivered in which fashions, at which specific dosages, to which types of [consumers].”
When it comes to choosing the right strain for medical purposes and treatment, you must be more specific. In order to find the right strain for your medical condition, you must focus on the specific cannabinoids, THC and CBD.
The next time that you walk into a dispensary, it is likely you’ll hear these generalized terms. The more specific that you can be with your budtender, the better off you will be! This is not to say that it won’t take some experimenting to find the perfect strain to treat your symptoms. With so many strains available, it is likely that it will take some tweaking, but at least you’ll be able to narrow your choices down significantly by focusing on cannabinoids, rather than Sativa, Indica or Hybrids.
We briefly addressed terpenes early on in this guide, however, they are a vital part of the plant that deserved to be looked at more closely. These aromatic compounds are produced by the same glands that produce THC and CBD. Terpenes are not unique to cannabis as they are found in a variety of other fruits, plants, and flowers. While they are found in many different plants, terpenes are responsible for the many unique scents associated with cannabis. Different strains will provide different smells, and thus, different effects.
When asked about the significance of Terpenes in medical treatment, Dr. Jeffrey Raber said, “Terpenes seem to be major players in driving the sedating or energizing effects,” He went on to say, “Which terpenes cause which effects is apparently much more complicated than all of us would like, as it seems to [vary based on specific] ones and their relative ratios to each other
and the cannabinoids.” By smelling different strains, you will be able to determine which ones stand out to you and quite possibly, which ones will be able to most effectively treat your symptoms.
Common Cannabis Terpenes
There are over 100 different terpenes present in the cannabis plant alone. Each of them offers different effects and medical benefits. Additionally, each terpene vaporizes at a different heat, which is important for you to know if you choose to smoke or vape your marijuana. If smoking is your method of choice, you must be very careful not to overheat or burn your cannabis. This can damage the terpenes and reduce their healing effects.
Below we go into a bit more detail about some of the most commonly found terpenes. Marijuana generally has a very distinct smell, however as the strains get more specific, so do the aromas.
Pinene – This terpene carries a pine scent and vaporizes at 311 degrees fahrenheit. It promotes memory and alertness, however, it can also be counteractive to some of THC’s effects. Pinene has been shown to treat ulcers, pain, cancer, asthma and anxiety.
Limonene – If your cannabis strain smells of citrus, it probably contains limonene. This terpene vaporizes at 348 degrees fahrenheit. As a mood booster and stress reliever, it’s no surprise that limonene relieves anxiety and depression. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation &
pain and even fight cancer.
Myrcene – This terpene provides an earthy aroma and takes effect at 332 degrees. Aside from relaxing you, Myrcene can enhance the effects of THC. This terpene is an antioxidant that is also capable of treating pain, inflammation and insomnia.
Caryophyllene – Vaporizing at a much lower temperature of 266 degrees, caryophyllene smells spicy and can relieve stress. It can be beneficial to those suffering from anxiety and depression as well as pain and ulcers.
Linalool – This one will put off a floral scent, vaporizing at a whopping 388 degrees fahrenheit. Linalool is mood enhancing & sedating and provides quite a few health benefits including treatment of anxiety & depression, pain & inflammation, insomnia and even neurodegeneration.
Humulene – If a woody aroma appeals to you, you would be drawn to humulene. This anti-inflammatory terpene vaporizes at a cool, 222 degrees.
Ocimene – Sweet smelling ocimene vaporizes at just 122 degrees fahrenheit. Ocimene is one of the most unique terpenes, as it is antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial. It is also a natural decongestant.
Terpinolene – Last, but certainly not least, we have terpinolene which gives off an herbal, floral aroma. This one vaporizes at 366 degrees and is also another sedative. Terpinolene is similar to ocimene as it, too, is antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial.
The terpenes listed above are just a few of the terpenes present in the cannabis plant. As you can see, there are a wide range of scents available. Terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids to provide the unique health benefits and effects of medical marijuana. The combinational potential of these compounds opens the door to a vast spectrum of medical possibilities.
Forms of Marijuana
Flower: The dried female marijuana flower is the most prevalent form of cannabis. The flower itself contains a high concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes, making it extremely popular for both recreational and medical use.
There are many different types of concentrates available on the market today. Concentrates are any product that is obtained through an extraction process. There are a few solvents that can be used for this process, the 2 most common being butane and co2. These solvents strip the plant compounds, which results in a product that contains a heavy ‘concentrate’ of cannabinoids.
Kief and Hash: Kief is also known as “dry sift” or “pollen” as it is essentially ground-down flower. Kief is extremely potent, containing a large amount of cannabinoids and aromatic terpenes. It is used to create wax, however, it is usually found in a powder form. Hash is created from compressed kief, and is often found in brick form. You can consume these two forms in a number of ways (smoke, vapor, edibles, dabbing).
Oils: There are many different types of oils available to consumers. This form of cannabis can be extremely high in THC, purely CBD, or contain a mixture of both. Oils are typically used by vaping, eating or drinking.
Wax: To make wax, oil must be whipped while it is still in the purging process. Wax can be smoked, vaped or dabbed.
Shatter: Usually extremely high in THC, shatter will have a brownish tint and is see-through and very thin. This form of marijuana can be consumed by smoking, vaping or dabbing, as well.
Tincture: This is a liquid concentrate made through alcohol extraction that pulls out all of those precious cannabinoids. In the early 1900’s, tinctures were a commonly used form of medical treatment.
Infusions: Simply put, these are any product infused with cannabis concentrates. These commonly consist of lotions, soaps and sprays.
Properly Storing Your Medication
Some forms of marijuana are more delicate than others, so special care must be taken to preserve them. There are several factors that can degrade cannabis, such as temperature, humidity, light and air.
The truth is, temperatures that are too cold or too hot can be extremely detrimental to your cannabis.
While you may have originally thought that placing your marijuana in the fridge or freezer would be a good idea, you’ll actually want to steer clear of both. The fridge not only provides an unstable temperature, but also less than ideal moisture levels. Placing your cannabis in the
freezer can ruin the trichomes, which are the part of the plant that contain the valuable cannabinoids and terpenes. This can decrease the quality of effects that the marijuana can produce. Be cautious and avoid the surrounding area, as well.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, too much heat can also damage your bud. Hot places can cause the plant to become dry and brittle, resulting in a hot, harsh smoke. It’s best to store your weed away from heat sources and windows.
The best temperature to keep your cannabis at is room temperature, or 68-76 degrees fahrenheit. Anything below 68 degrees fahrenheit can damage parts of the plant while anything above 76 degrees increases the chance of mold growth.
Marijuana is extremely susceptible to humidity, so you must pay attention to moisture levels. Consider placing a humidity pack in the container with your bud (especially if storing your cannabis for longer than 2 weeks.) Too much humidity can promote mold growth while too little can lead to dry and brittle weed.
Optimal humidity levels are between 59 and 63 percent. Humidity packs will keep your marijuana in this range.
A study conducted on the factors that degrade marijuana concluded that light was the most damaging. It can destroy many of the precious cannabinoids that make marijuana such an effective medical treatment.
You should always store your cannabis out of direct sunlight, in a cool, dark, (relatively) dry place. Keeping it out of direct sunlight will also help control temperature and humidity.
A popular choice for many novice users is to keep cannabis in a plastic bag or container. Plastic can actually ruin trichomes and cause the flower to sweat, promoting mold growth.
Your best bet is to place your marijuana in an airtight glass container, like a mason jar. This will slow the degradation process. A mason jar is inexpensive and easily accessible. There are even ultraviolet mason jars that will protect your cannabis from light, as well.
It’s important to note that you should always store different strains in separate jars in order to preserve their specific flavor profiles.
Storing Other Forms of Marijuana
Tinctures and concentrates are much more durable than flower, however, we still recommend that you take the same precautions and store them in a cool, dark, dry place. Some good options are in a low cabinet or basement.
Edibles are the most likely form of marijuana to spoil quickly. Most edibles you’ll find at the dispensary will be packaged in a way that will allow them to last a while. Cannabis infused products and edibles often times will come in packaging that will tell you how long they can be stored for. We do not recommend storing these products for a long period of time.
Methods of Using Marijuana
Now that we’ve gotten an in-depth look into the chemical makeup of the cannabis plant and the forms that it can take, we’re going to examine the many different methods of consuming marijuana. You have probably heard of at least a few of these methods, while others may be new to you. Different people have different preferences, so it’s extremely helpful to have so many different options.
There are 3 main categories when it comes to choosing a method of using marijuana. These are inhalation, oral consumption or applying topicals.
Once you inhale marijuana, the gases travel to your lungs. Once it’s reached your bloodstream, you will begin to feel the effects. Inhalation allows you to feel the effects quicker, however they also last a shorter amount of time.
Smoking: This is the most widely utilized method of marijuana consumption. Smoking is the simplest way to use marijuana, but can be done in a number of ways.
- Joint: All that you need to roll a joint is some rolling paper. This is one of the least expensive options for smoking weed.
- Blunt: A blunt differs from a joint in the fact that it is rolled in cigar paper made from the tobacco plant. This paper contains nicotine. It is important to keep in mind that there are several health risks linked to nicotine-use.
- Hand Pipe: These are small, portable and convenient which makes them a very popular choice. Hand pipes come in a variety of different forms & styles. They trap the smoke from the burning cannabis in a bubble until you inhale it.
- Bongs & Bubblers: These are essentially pipes that integrate water. While there have been no reported scientific studies confirming this, bongs and bubblers are said to be
safer because the water acts as a filter. They also have the ability to cool the smoke, which is also thought to protect the lungs.
- Hookah: Using a hookah is the least common method for smoking marijuana. It requires a substantial amount of cannabis for basically the same result you’d get from one of the other smoking options. Often times, when using a hookah, cannabis is combined with tobacco, which presents the same nicotine risks associated with blunts and cigarettes. Hookah is often used in a group setting because it allows multiple people to smoke at once.
Vaporization: Vaporizing your marijuana is believed to be a safer option than smoking. The vapors produced are free of the harsh plant compounds and toxins, like tar, that can be detrimental to the lungs. Vaporizing is also much more discreet, putting out essentially no odors. For these reasons, it is becoming increasingly more popular.
There are a few different tools that can be used to vaporize your marijuana. These tools will slowly heat the marijuana to a temperature that releases THC, CBD, terpenes, etc. without burning them. The majority of vaporizers utilize waxes and oils as opposed to flower.
- Vape Pens: For those that choose to vape, pens are typically their first choice due to their portability and convenience. Vape pens can easily fit into your pocket, purse, and backpack. Each of them require batteries and some kind of heating element to function.
- Other Vaporizers: If you plan on staying home, there are plenty of tabletop and desktop vaporizers on the market. More durable than vape pens, these vaporizers typically require an outlet power source.
- Dabbing: The newest and perhaps most controversial method of consuming marijuana is dabbing. This form of vaporization is commonly used alongside marijuana with
high-concentrations of THC. The oil or wax is dropped on a heated nail, and the vapor produced is trapped in a bubble until inhaled. This method is controversial due to its image and strong & intense effects.
Oral consumption refers to methods administered through the mouth. For most methods of oral consumption (excluding tinctures), the effects are felt once the product has made its way through the digestive tract and has entered the bloodstream. Oral consumption takes longer to kick in when compared to inhalation, although the effects will last much longer.
- Edibles: This is one of the most beloved methods of consumption. Any food that contains fat or oil can technically be infused with marijuana, as it takes a certain fat content to activate the cannabinoids.
- Beverages: Often infused with oils or tinctures, you can add cannabis to your iced-tea, coffee or even a smoothie. The effects of beverages will be very similar to effects of edibles.
- Tinctures: A tincture itself is a liquid form of cannabinoids. It differs from edibles and cannabis-infused beverages in the fact that it does not have to enter your digestive tract. Place a few drops under your tongue and it will immediately be absorbed by your body.
- Transdermal Patches and Topicals: This method of cannabis use is a major player in the acceptance of marijuana into the medical field. It offers therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects. Applying cannabis-infused lotions, soaps and sprays directly to the skin can relieve muscle soreness and pain.
If you don’t have experience with marijuana, it’s best to start out slow. You will want to choose a small dose of a strain with a low concentration of THC. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll know if you can up the dosage or if something needs to change.
If THC makes you feel anxious, consider using a higher CBD, lower THC strain. If you’re looking for quick effects with a shorter duration, consider smoking or vaping. If you want delayed, longer effects, consider consuming edibles or a cannabis-infused beverage.
Keep in mind that it is very likely that it will take some time and tweaking to figure out what works best for you. Take it slowly. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or budtender questions.
Recreational and medical marijuana are currently illegal under federal law, even though 46 states have legalized cannabis in some form.
Legalization of Cannabis by State (as of July 2018)
Medical and Recreational:
Medical marijuana use was passed by voters on 11/3/98 and recreational use was passed on
11/4/2014. You are allowed to smoke, but you must do so in the privacy of your own home, as public use is illegal.
Possession – You must be 21 or older and can posses up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower. Cultivation – You can grow up to 12 plants per household (6 must be immature) as long as 2
people over the age of 21 reside there.
Medical marijuana use was passed by voters on 11/5/96 and recreational marijuana was legalized on 11/8/16. Smoking is allowed in public however, restrictions do apply.
Possession – You must be 21 or older and can posses up to one ounce of cannabis flower and up to 8 grams of concentrate.
Cultivation – You can grow up to 6 plants per household. There is no limit with a commercial license.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed by voters on 11/7/00 and recreational legislation was passed on 11/6/2012. You are allowed to smoke, but you must do so in the privacy of your own home. Public use is not allowed.
Possession – Adults 21 or older may possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower and 1 ounce of concentrate.
Cultivation – You can grow up to 6 plants, but 3 or more must be immature.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/2/99 and recreational use was approved on
11/8/16. If you choose to smoke, you must do so in your own home. Public consumption is illegal (unless you’re in a designated marijuana club.)
Possession – You must be at least 18 to purchase medical marijuana and 21 or older to
purchase recreational cannabis. You can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower and up to
5 grams of concentrate.
Cultivation – You can grow 6 mature plants, 12 immature plants and possess unlimited seedlings.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/6/12 and recreational on 11/8/16. Smoking and other forms of consumption must be done in the privacy of your own home.
Possession – You can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower and up to 5 grams of concentrate if you are 21 or older.
Cultivation – You can grow 6 plants per adult over the age of 21, up to 12 plants per household.
Medical legislation was passed on 11/7/00 and recreational use was approved by voters on
11/8/16. Smoking and other forms of consumption must be done in the privacy of your own home.
Possession – You must be 18 or older to purchase medical marijuana and can possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical grade cannabis. Adults 21 or older can purchase up to 1 oz. of recreational pot and up to 1/8 ounce of concentrate.
Cultivation – Adults 21 and older can grow up to 6 plants (12 maximum per household) ONLY if they live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/3/98 and recreational use was approved on
11/4/14. Recreational and medical marijuana cannot be smoked in public, consumption must take place in the privacy of your own home.
Possession – You must be at least 21 years old and can posses 1 ounce of flower, 1 ounce of concentrate (while you can only purchase up to 5 grams at a time), and 16 ounces of edibles.
Cultivation – Assuming you are 21 or older, you can grow up to 4 plants per household and possess up to 10 seedlings.
Medical marijuana use was approved on 5/19/04 and recreational legislation was approved on
1/11/18. Consumption must take place in the privacy of your own home.
Possession – You must be at least 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of flower. Possession of the amount of concentrate and edibles is unclear.
Cultivation – Adults 21 and older can grow up to 6 plants per household but only 2 can be mature.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/3/98 and recreational use was approved on
11/6/12. Consumption must take place in private as public use is illegal.
Possession – If you are 21 or older, you may possess up to 1 ounce of flower, 7 grams of concentrate and 16 ounces of edibles.
Cultivation – You can grow up to 4 plants IF you have a medical license.
Medical use legislation was originally passed on 11/3/98 however was delayed until 1/1/11. Recreational use was approved on 11/4/14. Consumption must take place in private.
Possession – Adults 21 and older can possess up to 2 oz. of flower.
Cultivation – 6 plants total are allowed per household (assuming at least one person over the age of 21 resides there). 3 plants must be immature.
To qualify for medical marijuana in each of the following states, you must be approved by a licensed physician to have a qualifying medical condition. Many of these states also require you to then be approved for a medical marijuana card by the Department of Health.
All of these states require you to be 18+ years old to apply for a medical marijuana card, but parents or legal guardians can obtain medication for minors who qualify.
Alabama (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was put into action on 6/1/16.
Possession – Alabama allows CBD oil only (less than or equal to 3% THC) to be sold to adults over the age of 21. Minors may use CBD oil as long as they suffer from a qualifying condition, but it must be obtained by a parent or legal guardian over the age of 21.
Cultivation – It is illegal to grow cannabis in Alabama.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/2/10.
Possession – Adults 18 and over with a qualifying medical condition can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis.
Cultivation – If you live 25+ miles from the nearest dispensary, and suffer from a qualifying condition, you can grow up to 12 plants in a private, secured area.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/8/16.
Possession – You must be 18+ and have a qualifying medical condition. Qualifying patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces at once.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Arkansas.
Medical marijuana legislation went into effect on 10/1/12.
Possession – You must be 18+ and have a qualifying medical condition. Qualifying patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces at once, depending on what the physician recommends.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Connecticut.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 6/20/18.
Possession – You must be 18+ and suffer from a qualifying illness (to be determined by the state). The patient or caregiver can possess up to 6 ounces of flower and oil.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Delaware.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/8/16
Possession – Those over the age of 18, with a qualifying illness can posses up to a 70-day supply, designated by the approving physician.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Florida.
*More details about the state of Florida can be found below.
Georgia (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 4/16/15.
Possession – If you are 18+ you can possess up to 20 ounces of CBD oil with less than 5% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Georgia.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 6/15/00.
Possession – If you are 18+ you can possess up to 4 ounces in flower and oil combined at any given time.
Cultivation – Cultivation is permitted in the state of Hawaii. You can grow 10 plants, immature or mature, per household.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 8/1/13.
Possession – If you are 18+ you can possess 2.5 ounces of flower and concentrate combined, per 14-day period.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Illinois.
Indiana (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation went into effect 3/21/18.
Possession – Age unspecified; CBD oil permitted for seizures only. Oils must be less than .3% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Indiana.
Iowa (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 5/30/14.
Possession – Age unspecified; CBD oil permitted in limited amounts and must be less than 3% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Iowa.
Kentucky (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 4/10/14.
Possession – Age unspecified; CBD is currently only permitted for epilepsy clinical trials. Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Kentucky.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 6/30/15.
Possession – A 30-day supply of unsmokable cannabis is permitted. You prescribing physician will determine your 30-day supply.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Louisiana.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 4/14/14.
Possession – Adults 18+ may possess up to 4 ounces of flower and up to 36 grams of concentrate per month.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Maryland.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/6/08.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess 1 ounce of medical marijuana in up to 16 ounces of cannabis-infused solids, 7 grams of marijuana in gaseous form, or 36 ounces of liquid.
Cultivation – Cultivation is permitted in Michigan. You must notify the state of your intent to grow when you apply. 12 plants are allowed per household but the room must be enclosed and secured.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 5/29/14.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess a 30-day supply of concentrate. Smokable forms are not permitted.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Minnesota.
Mississippi (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 4/1/14.
Possession – Epilepsy is currently the only qualifying condition for medical marijuana in
Mississippi. CBD oil must contain less than .5% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Mississippi.
Missouri (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 5/1/14.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess up to 20 ounces of CBD oil as long as it contains less than .3% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Missouri.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/2/04.
Possession – Adults 18+ can posses up to 1 ounce of flower and extract, combined.
Cultivation – You are permitted to grow cannabis in the state of Montana. Each cardholder can grow 4 mature plants and have 8 seedlings. A household with 2+ cardholders can have up to 8 mature plants and 8 seedlings.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 7/23/13.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess up to 2 ounces of flower and concentrate. Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of New Hampshire. New Jersey
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 1/18/10.
Possession – Children 17 and under, with a qualifying medical condition, are able to consume edibles with parental or guardian consent. Adults 18+ can possess up to 2 ounces of flower and concentrate, per month.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of New Jersey.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 4/2/07.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess up to 8 ounces of flower and concentrate within a 90 day period.
Cultivation – Cultivation is permitted in the state of New Mexico. Each household with 1+
cardholders can grow up to 16 plants but only 4 can be mature.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 7/14/14.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess up to a 30-day supply of non-smokable forms of medical marijuana to be determined by the prescribing physician.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of New York.
North Carolina (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 7/17/15.
Possession – Currently, the only qualifying condition in North Carolina is epilepsy. CBD extracts must contain less than .9% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of North Carolina.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/8/16.
Possession – Adults 18+ may possess 2.5 ounces of flower (with a specific certification) or up to
2000 mg. of concentrate.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of North Dakota.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 6/8/16.
Possession – Possession limits will be determined by 9/8/18.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Ohio.
Oklahoma (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 6/26/18.
Possession – Adults 18+ can have up to 8 ounces of flower, 1 ounce of concentrate or 72 ounces of edibles in their home. You can possess 3 ounces on your person.
Cultivation – You are permitted to grow marijuana in the state of Oklahoma. Each household with 1+ cardholders can have up to 6 mature plants and 6 seedlings.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 4/17/16.
Possession – Adults 18+ can have a 30-day supply of concentrate. As of 4/16/18, flower is available but only to vaporize. Smoking is not permitted.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Pennsylvania.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 1/3/06.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess 2.5 ounces of flower and concentrate combined. Cultivation – Cultivation is permitted in the state of Rhode Island. Each household with 1+ card
holders can grow up to 12 plants and have up to 12 seedlings.
South Carolina (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 5/22/14.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess CBD oil with less than .09% THC. Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of South Carolina. Tennessee (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 5/4/15.
Possession – Seizures are currently the only qualifying condition for medical marijuana in
Tennessee. CBD extracts must contain less than .09% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Tennessee.
Texas (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 6/11/15.
Possession – Epilepsy is currently the only qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Texas. Concentrates must contain less than .5% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Texas.
Utah (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was enacted on 7/1/14.
Possession – There is no possession limit for hemp oil for adults 18+ however, it must contain less than .3% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Utah.
Virginia (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 11/18/17.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess CBD oil with less than 5% THC. Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Virginia. West Virginia
Medical marijuana legislation went into effect on 7/1/18.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess a 30-day supply of cannabis-infused product. Dispensaries will be selling these products in 2019. Flower is not permitted.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of West Virginia.
Wisconsin (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation was passed on 3/7/17.
Possession – Adults 18+ can possess CBD oil with no psychoactive effects. Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Wisconsin. Wyoming (CBD only)
Medical marijuana legislation went into effect on 7/1/15.
Possession – CBD oil is available to adults 18+ who are suffering from epilepsy that cannot be treated with other medications. Concentrates must contain less than .3% THC.
Cultivation – You are not allowed to grow cannabis in the state of Wyoming.
States Where Cannabis Is Illegal:
Legislation was vetoed in April 2015
On 5/14/18, CBD oil was technically legalized, but because THC is still illegal, it’s practically impossible to obtain in the state.
Medical Marijuana legislation was blocked in 2016.
Medical Cannabis will be on the ballot in South Dakota in November of 2018.
The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana falls into the Schedule 1 drug category, along with heroin, LSD, and cocaine. Schedule 1 drugs are viewed as highly-addictive and offering no medical value. Federal prohibition has greatly impeded comprehensive cannabis research, therefore causing marijuana to be trapped in a catch-22.
In order to reschedule marijuana, its medical value must be proven. No large-scale clinical trials have been conducted, due to federal regulations and marijuanas classification as a schedule 1 drug. For this reason, its medical value cannot be proven until it is reclassified. This is the main reason that the federal legalization of marijuana has been caught in limbo.
Even though large-scale studies and trials proving cannabis’ medical value have yet to be conducted in the United States, several other countries have picked up the slack. A few of the leading countries in marijuana research are Spain, Canada, Czech Republic, Uruguay, Netherlands and Israel. Israel is considered to be the global leader in Cannabis research.
A combination of studies conducted by these countries, ongoing research and countless caregiver & patient testimonies builds a solid case for the medical potential of marijuana to treat a multitude of different symptoms.
It’s important to note that a federal law enforcement officer can technically prosecute a medical marijuana patient, however, it is extremely unlikely. As long as you follow the laws of the state that you reside in, you will usually be just fine. Additionally, doctors cannot prescribe medical
marijuana, but they can recommend it. While federal law continues to hinder the availability of medical marijuana for patients in need, many individual states are working to help them.
On November 8, 2016, 71 percent of Florida voters chose to pass Amendment 2, legalizing all methods of using medical marijuana in the state of Florida, with the exception of smoking. This law provides safe access and availability to qualifying patients. It will also allow caregivers to register with the Department of Health in order to assist qualifying patients with medical care.
Orlando lawyer and medical marijuana advocate, John Morgan, filed a lawsuit claiming that withholding access to smokable marijuana was unethical.
The state argued that smoking marijuana was not an effective medical treatment. Lawmakers also claimed that this was a clandestine attempt to legalize recreational pot.
Luckily, Judge Karen Gievers decided that the state’s argument was irrelevant. She said that the testimonies of the patients that have experienced the therapeutic effects of smokable marijuana were much more compelling than the testimonies of the state’s handpicked medical experts.
As a result, Judge Gievers ruled the ban on smoking medical marijuana unconstitutional on May
25th 2018. This was a huge win for the medical marijuana movement. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. Devin Galetta of the Department of Health, filed an appeal which put an immediate stay on the ruling. Judge Gievers answered back on June 5th 2018, giving the state until June
11th to put a process into action that would provide medical marijuana patients access to smokable marijuana.
As we know, cannabis has the ability to treat dozens of different symptoms. It also offers numerous health benefits. Under Florida law, patients suffering from any of the illnesses listed below may be eligible for a medical marijuana card:
It’s important to note that this list is not comprehensive. A patient can qualify if they suffer from any other debilitating medical condition of a similar nature where a licensed physician feels marijuana would be beneficial.
Possession Laws and Purchasing
Qualified patients are allowed to have a 70-day supply of marijuana. The 70-day supply is determined by the licensed physician, and differs from person to person. The medical marijuana must remain in its original packaging at all times and can never leave the state of Florida. Only the patient is allowed to use the medication.
You are never to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. If convicted, the punishment will be similar to the penalties associated with driving under the influence of alcohol. The first offense will carry a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and/or $1000 fine. The severity of the penalties will increase with each conviction. DO NOT under any circumstances operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
The 70-day supply may be purchased by the patient or their certified caregiver from a state-licensed medical marijuana treatment center.
Steps to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in the State of Florida
In order to become a Florida medical marijuana patient, there are certain steps that must be taken. You must first undergo a physical and medical history examination by a licensed physician.
If that physician determines you are a candidate for medical marijuana, you will be given a certification that will show the validity of your qualifying condition.
You won’t be able to apply for your medical marijuana card until you are entered into the Marijuana Use Registry (Compassionate Care Registry). This registry is run by the Department of Health. Your physician will enter your information into this database after your examination.
Your next step will be to complete and submit your application to the Office of Medical
Marijuana Use. The application usually costs $75 dollars. This is typically the longest part of this process. It can take up to 2 months to be approved.
*Minors may apply for a medical marijuana card, as long as they have the consent and signature of a legal guardian.
At Marijuana Doctor, we understand the burden of health insurance companies not helping with medical marijuana treatment programs. We want all qualifying patients to be able to afford and have access to this amazing medicine. That’s why we are offering a low-cost monthly membership program with lots of money saving incentives.
Check out our affordable Pricing Plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my insurance cover this?
Unfortunately, medical insurance, in the state of Florida, does not cover any kind of medical marijuana treatments as of right now, but we do offer a payment plan to assist our patients with the consultation fees.
Is Marijuana Doctor a dispensary?
No, Marijuana Doctor is a medical office and we specialize in medical marijuana evaluations, as well as, registering patients with the Florida State Medical Marijuana Use Registry, within the Department of Health, so they may obtain their cannabis card in Florida.
What is the cancellation policy?
At Marijuana Doctor we strive to be as transparent as possible with our patients. Please take a moment to read our refund policy:
If you cancel WITHIN 24 hours of payment – you get 100% refund.
If you cancel AFTER 24 hours of payment – you get 100% refund minus a $25 fee.
There is a $50 fee for any No-Show/Reschedule or Cancelled appointment with less than
There are no refunds issued after you have received a recommendation from our doctors.
Can I purchase cannabis right after my appointment?
No. After you are approved by one of our physicians, we provide you with a state application that needs to be sent to the department of health. Then, you will receive your State Cannabis card, needed to purchase your medicine. The Department of Health’s website states the process takes around 30 days. We recommend sending your application as soon as possible after your appointment not to delay the process.
I have my Florida medical marijuana card, now what do I do?
If you have any questions about orders/recommendations from your doctor, send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily assist you.
If you need a refill, please, email us at email@example.com 2 weeks before your initial order expires, and we will assist you in a timely manner.
I have my medical marijuana card in another state. Am I a legal medical marijuana user in Florida?
No. The state of Florida does not have reciprocity with other states. To obtain your cannabis card within this state, and be able to purchase cannabis from a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, you would need to be evaluated by a certified-physician, who can register you in the Florida State Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
Are there dispensaries in Florida?
Yes. Dispensaries are now called medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, currently open throughout the state – they also make deliveries. Our patients are provided with a list of all the medical marijuana treatment centers in their area. Patients are advised to research after their appointment and get the information they need about their medication. You can also locate one close to you, by going to Dispensaries page.
Can I travel with my medical marijuana?
Traveling with medical marijuana can be extremely tricky. There are different statutes in every jurisdiction. Additionally, federal laws make things even more complicated.
You are strictly forbidden from having medical marijuana in your possession if traveling on mass transportation that is departing or entering the United States. These forms of travel include but are not limited to a bus, train, boat, and plane.
The best idea is to check with the laws of the states you’re traveling through and to. If you enter a state where you do not hold a medical marijuana card or where medical marijuana is illegal, state police can arrest you. No matter what state you’re in, federal agents will arrest you and can even charge you with drug trafficking if you’ve crossed state lines.
If you are travelling in a state where you do not hold a medical marijuana card and/or are in a state where medical marijuana is illegal:
- Keep your medication out of sight (preferably in the trunk).
- Do not do anything to draw the attention of law enforcement.
- Be respectful if stopped.
- Volunteer no information whatsoever, remain silent, and do not consent to a search.
If you’re traveling to one of the states where recreational marijuana is legal, it may be much safer to leave your medication at home and purchase it at a licensed dispensary once you’ve arrived. These states include: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Washington D.C.
There are currently 3 states that will allow you to purchase medical marijuana with a card from another state. These states include: Michigan (although each city has different policies), Nevada and Rhode island.
When it comes to international travel, it is extremely important that you verify the laws of the country you’re traveling to. International travel requires your person and your bags to be searched. If U.S. agents find medical marijuana, they can confiscate it and charge you with possession, or worse, trafficking.
Again, it is safer to purchase marijuana once you arrive at your destination (assuming you can access it safely). Medical marijuana is allowed (although there are a few limitations) in the following countries: Australia, Greece, Croatia, Israel, Turkey, Poland, Mexico, Finland, Switzerland, Macedonia, Italy, The Czech Republic, Germany, Columbia, Uruguay, The Netherlands, Jamaica, and Peru.
How dangerous is synthetic marijuana?
Synthetic cannabinoids can contain dangerous, unknown chemicals. It is as unpredictable as it
is dangerous. Synthetic marijuana is not real marijuana. It interacts with the body much like THC does, however, the effects are usually extremely powerful and can lead to life threatening situations. By no means, should you ever use synthetic marijuana. The real thing is much safer and effective at treating symptoms.
For more information, check out the CDC’s page on Synthetic Marijuana
Is it dangerous to mix cannabis with alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, etc?
Mixing cannabis with anything is not recommended. Combining alcohol and marijuana can result in greater impairment, increasing risk of accidents/injury.
Using tobacco with marijuana can be detrimental to your heart and lung health due to an increased exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
It can also be dangerous to combine marijuana with prescription drugs as cannabis can offset the drugs effects. Always speak with your doctor about medications you’re currently taking or thinking about taking and what the possible side effects could be.
Is it safe to breastfeed as a medical marijuana patient?
Whether or not it is safe to breastfeed after using marijuana is still unknown. It is possible for some chemicals to be passed to your baby through breast milk. Because THC is stored in fat, it is possible that your baby can be exposed to it even after you’ve stopped using. Studies on this subject are limited and conflicting so until further research is conducted, it’s best to avoid using marijuana.
Is it safe for elderly people to use marijuana?
Marijuana is relatively safe for anyone, but perhaps even safer for elderly patients. Not only do they not have to worry about effects on brain development, but marijuana is substantially less dangerous than many prescription drugs. 80% of people over the age of 65 take 2 or more prescription drugs each day. Marijuana has the potential to greatly reduce this number, reducing the risk of side effects as well.
Is marijuana a gateway drug?
Most people that use marijuana have never moved on to using “harder” drugs. That is not to say that it doesn’t happen. Perhaps those who have a predisposition to addiction are at greater risk.
Also, some studies have shown that beginning marijuana use in adolescence can lead to a sort of tolerance that would force one to search for a greater high.
Is personal (home) cultivation legal?
It is (currently) illegal to grow your own marijuana in 28 states.
This leaves 22 states (and D.C.) that will allow some form of home cultivation. These states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Keep in mind that each of these states have different laws regarding home cannabis cultivation so it is important to know the details of your state before you begin cultivating cannabis at home.
What is the difference between decriminalization and legalization of
In states where recreational and/or medical marijuana is illegal, decriminalization loosens the criminal penalties for possessing personal amounts. Possessing more than a personal amount and any kind of distribution is still illegal and can carry a severe penalty. Legalization removes any punishments for possessing a personal amount of marijuana.
How long does marijuana stay in your system?
How long marijuana stays in your system is widely determined by how often you use, how much you use and how long you’ve been using. THC can stay in your system anywhere from 20 hours to 13 days. It’s important to point out that regular smokers have reported detection up to 45
days after quitting and heavy smokers have reported THC being detected for up to 90 day after smoking.
It is likely that if you smoke within 2 weeks of a drug test you will test positive. Your best bet is to quit using if you even think you may be drug tested within the next few weeks. Keep in mind that you can still be fired if you test positive even if you live in one of the states where recreational and/or medical marijuana is legal.
How do I take a tolerance break?
It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. Taking some time off every now and then will help you reap the benefits of marijuana when you begin using it again.
The first thing that you need to do is get rid of all of your cannabis. Not having it around will keep you from giving in. Tell your friends and family you’re taking a break so that they know not
to use around you. It will be extremely helpful to find something else to occupy your time. This will help keep you focused as well as provide you with extra time to do something productive! Last but not least, set a date and stick to it. Some people break for a week or two while others will hold off for a few months. Do what feels right for you, but however long you choose, stick to it!
How do I know if I should take a tolerance break?
There are a few reasons why you might want to take a tolerance break, the most obvious being that you’ve developed a tolerance. This means that you’re requiring more marijuana and/or stronger strains to feel anything.
A tolerance break is also recommended if you’re getting too high, too often. This can start to interfere with daily responsibilities and other aspects of your life.
Another reason you may want to take some time off is if you feel you’re relying on it too much, whether it be to relax, socialize, etc… When marijuana use becomes a chore, it loses some of its magic.
Lastly, if you’re throwing all of your money at marijuana it’s probably a good idea to take a step back.
Does having my medical marijuana card affect my concealed weapons license?
Simply put, because medical marijuana is still federally illegal, it is illegal to purchase or own a gun while you are a medical marijuana patient. While it is not technically illegal for you to have your concealed weapons license as a medical marijuana patient, it is illegal for you to be in possession of a gun.
To get more information we strongly recommend you contact Florida’s Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services and/or your attorney.
We want everyone to know of the countless benefits and medical potential that marijuana has to offer. Through education and understanding, this industry will continue to progress, helping
more people find relief than ever before.
If you’re a Florida resident that is interested in becoming a Marijuana Doctor patient, schedule your free phone consultation today!
Call us at (786) 224-4005 or Schedule ONLINE.