What Is Medical Cannabis
Even though medical cannabis is still not federally approved, public support for it has kept increasing since California first legalized medical use of marijuana in 1996. In the recent years, medical marijuana has become an increasingly favored hot topic during elections. In 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, which allowed for limited use of special strains of medical marijuana (or medical cannabis). A less restrictive amendment of Florida Marijuana legalization occurred after the November 2016 election, as Florida citizens passed Amendment 2 with 71% in favor of legalizing medical use of marijuana.
So, what is medical cannabis?
Contrary to popular belief, in Florida, medical marijuana is not smoked, and there are 2 types medical marijuana: low-THC marijuana and medical marijuana. As per the Florida Department of Health and under Florida law, “the term medical cannabis includes all parts of a cannabis plant, its seeds, resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, sale, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin.”
According to Florida’s “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014”, low-THC marijuana is for patients with cancer or conditions which cause chronic seizures. As the name suggests, low-THC marijuana contains low amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and its effect is more calming. Medical marijuana contains more significant levels of THC, producing the “high” associated with marijuana. After Amendment 2 was passed, the Compassionate Act Law was updated and new conditions were added to the list of what was considered eligible for medical marijuana use. In addition to the existing condition of terminal illness, the new eligible conditions include:
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Terminal illness
- Chronic seizures
- Chronic and severe muscle spasms
Read more about the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 here.
According to Laura Borgelt, PharmD, of the University of Colorado, our bodies already produce chemicals that reside in cannabis that affect pain, inflammation, and many other symptoms. Marijuana can aid these natural chemicals to work better. Although there is still research going on how much marijuana impacts health, prior studies have shown that marijuana and our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors have an important role in body processes such as metabolic regulation, pain, anxiety, bone growth, immune function, and cravings. Studies have even shown that in some cancer patients, the size of tumors reduced after the consummation of medical cannabis.
Recent studies have also shown some benefits of medical marijuana include:
- Limiting, or killing, the growth of cancer cells
- Lessen nausea and vomiting
- Lessen loss of appetite
- Lessen weight loss
- Minimizing pain
- Reducing severity of epileptic seizures
- Minimizing neurological damage following traumatic brain damage
So how can you access medical marijuana in Tampa, Florida?
According to Office of Compassionate Use
- Patients must be 18 years old, a resident of Florida, with valid Florida identification. If you do not have a Florida I.D., another photo I.D. with proof of residency will be accepted.
- Patients must bring legitimate medical records from the primary care physician, describing the diagnosis, to the marijuana evaluation appointment.
- The patient must be diagnosed by a medical marijuana physician in addition to being a patient of the doctor during the immediate preceding 3 months prior to the diagnosis. Find your local medical marijuana physician here.
- Qualifying patients are required to register with the Florida Department of Health under the Office of Compassionate Use.
- Because marijuana prescriptions are illegal under federal law, only medical marijuana physicians are able to supply qualifying patients with medical marijuana.
How to Use Medical Marijuana?
According to Florida medical marijuana laws, medical marijuana can only be consumed in the following manners:
- Vaporized (heated until active ingredients are released, but no smoke it formed)
- Edible forms
Please note that under Florida marijuana law, the use of medical marijuana does NOT include:
- Possession, use or administration of medical marijuana by smoking
- Transfer of medical marijuana to a person other than the qualified patient for whom it was ordered, or their legal representative
- Use or administration of medical marijuana on any public transportation, in public space, in qualified patient’s place of employment (if restricted by employer), in state correctional institutions, on the grounds of preschools, primary and secondary schools or on any school bus or vehicle
For more information on medical marijuana in Tampa, FL or to see if you qualify click here. You can also call us on (727) 202-4325.