What Happens When You Get a Medical Card? Medical marijuana is now available in Pennsylvania, which is a breath of fresh air for those suffering from a variety of chronic health conditions. For those dealing with ailments like anxiety, insomnia, neurogenerative diseases and cancer, medical marijuana can provide relief from pain and emotional suffering that traditional Western medicine may not.
If you’re thinking about getting a medical marijuana card, there are a few things you should understand about the application process. Read on to learn more about how it works, what to expect and how you can use a medical card.
The registration and application process
First, you’ll need to register with the Medical Marijuana Registry. This is the State of Pennsylvania’s official registry, which will also allow you to register as a caregiver if you’re asking for a card on someone else’s behalf. To register, you’ll need to provide basic information:
- Your name
- Email address
- Contact information
You’ll also need a Pennsylvania state ID card or driver’s license—if you don’t have one, your medical card will not be granted. Note that if the requesting patient is under 18, they’ll need to register with a caregiver. All patients can have up to two caregivers.
Once you’ve registered at the Medical Marijuana Registry, you’ll need to make an appointment with an approved medical provider. Once the provider confirms that you suffer from one of the approved conditions, the provider will issue certification and your medical card will be granted. This can take anywhere from immediate issuance to several days or weeks. Working with a specialized physician group like Cannabis Care Consultants can cut the wait down—you’ll get your certification at the appointment.
To receive your card, you’ll need to pay a $50 fee. You may be eligible for fee reductions if you are on public assistance or other low-income programs. After your medical card is granted, it is valid for one year and you can visit licensed dispensaries to purchase medical marijuana products.
What to expect during your medical appointment
What can you expect from your medical appointment? While specifics will vary from provider to provider, you may visit an office or attend a telehealth visit. For example, Cannabis Care Consultants provides online scheduling and telehealth visits to make it easier on our patients.
- During your appointment, your provider will ask you questions about your physical and mental health.
- If necessary, they’ll review diagnostic tests, your medical history and perform a physical exam.
- This allows them to determine whether you have been diagnosed with one of the approved conditions (see below).
- Your provider will also talk to you about what you can expect from using medical marijuana to treat your condition, including potential side effects.
If there’s another treatment option that may be more effective, your provider will discuss alternative therapies. The idea is to ensure you are well-informed about what to expect from using medical marijuana.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there are 23 approved conditions for which you can receive a medical card. Unfortunately, if your illness does not appear below, your application will be denied.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Anxiety disorders
- Cancer, including remission therapy
- Crohn’s disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord)
- Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid use disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin
- Sickle cell anemia
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
How to use and renew your medical marijuana card
Once you receive your card, you’ll be able to go to any licensed state dispensary. This is valid for one year, and you will need to present your medical card each time you visit. Photocopies, receipts and screenshots cannot be accepted.
When your card is about to expire, you’ll receive a 30-day notice to renew. The deadline is usually marked about a week before the card expires. If you do nothing, the card will expire one year from the date of issuance, and you’ll need to re-register.
To renew your card, simply follow the email directions to renew your card online. You’ll need to schedule another medical visit with an approved provider; however, it doesn’t have to be the same provider you initially visited. Once certified, the state will send you a new card. The new card should arrive before your old card expires.
Applying for a medical marijuana card is a simple, streamlined process, especially if you work with a provider like Cannabis Care Consultants. Schedule your appointment online today.
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