All across America medical professionals and government officials have been working hard to determine if there is a need to change the laws regarding medical cannabis. Many states have made the hard decision to allow individuals who are suffering some of the most horrific diseases to seek relief from pain and other life-altering changes.
To date, there are more than two dozen states that have legalized marijuana for medical reasons while almost a dozen more have taken it one step further and legalized if for recreational use as well. In 2014 New York joined those pro-medical marijuana states with the passage of the Compassionate Care Act. While many believe the regulations are some of the most restrictive in the country, individuals who have benefited from it agrees that New York made the right decision.
What is medical cannabis?
Cannabis is one of the few plants that is universally recognized due to its distinctive look and, in some cases, how it has been portrayed in pop culture. Once only talked about behind closed doors, marijuana is now considered an appropriate topic of conversation in even the strictest of homes.
The perception of marijuana has evolved over the past few decades as well. The idea of “hippies” and “flower” children smoking a joint while protesting government control, has morphed slowly into reality. Average citizens are now utilizing the medicinal properties of this plant to treat conditions that modern medicine is often unable to help. Instead of getting “high,” individuals are now more interested in pain relief, boosting appetite and it’s the ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Most Americas now understand and support its legalization.
Although the FDA has not changed its position on cannabis at this time, the majority of medical professionals will agree the unique properties are well worth further study. Marijuana can be used in a number of ways to treat diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and even individuals who are battling opioid addiction.
Though some users prefer to break down specific chemical components found in cannabis such as THC (the compound responsible making users “high”) and CBD, others believe the two compounds work better when left as they naturally occur.
Currently, New York has made only four methods for consuming marijuana legal, topical application, sub-lingual, vaporization and capsular. At this time, smokable and edible products are prohibited. Even though the exact reason cannabis is so beneficial is not known at this time, one thing is for sure, individuals who have access to these products have a much better quality of life than those who do not.
How to get a medical cannabis card in Rochester?
As in other areas of the state, to obtain a medical marijuana (MMJ) card, individuals must have been diagnosed with at least one disease for a condition that has been approved for treatment. Once individuals have been diagnosed, they must be certified by a provider who is licensed with the state’s Department of Health.
Not all medical providers have the ability to certify a patients diagnosis so individuals may need to schedule a consultation with someone new. You will be asked to provide your medical records and any diagnostic tests along with proof of residency. Unfortunately, some providers will want to try more traditional methods of treatment before using the therapeutic marijuana method. Having all of your documentation as well as being able to discuss the treatments attempted in the past will help you obtain a marijuana prescription quicker.
Once the provider has certified your condition, you will need to register and fill out an application on the state’s website. There is a non-refundable application fee of $50 that is assessed each year. Some providers will have their office submit the required application for you but others may not. After you have completed the online portion and have been approved by the Department of Health, your MMJ card will be sent to you in the mail.
To purchase any cannabis or other products, you must have that card with you. Individuals who are under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian register as a caregiver. Once approved, they will be responsible for helping you purchase and correctly use your medical marijuana.
Below is the most current list of disease and qualifying conditions that are approved for medical marijuana use. If you are suffering, but your condition is not listed, don’t give up hope. Since it’s inception, the list has been updated each year to allow more patients access. Check back periodically to see if it has been added.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Any condition for which an opioid can be prescribed
- Chronic pain
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with spasticity
- HIV or AIDS
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Opioid Use Disorder if enrolled in a certified treatment program
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Along with one of the life-threatening conditions above, patients must also have one of the following associated conditions:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
Cannabis doctors in Rochester, NY
If you live in the Rochester area and believe you would benefit from this treatment, contact a licensed medical marijuana doctor and schedule an appointment. Sometimes a patient’s medical needs make going to a doctor a nightmare. Pain, anxiety, and depression can make things much worse both physically and mentally. Thankfully some providers have access to new technology that can potentially make things easier.
Telemedicine allows patients and physicians to interact with one another over long distances. Regardless if you are miles away or just around the corner, the Rochester medical community wants to make your doctor’s visit a pleasant experience.
For more information regarding New York’s requirements to use medical marijuana visit their website at Department of Health.