Getting Medical Marijuana
David G. Ostrow (Medical Marijuana Doctor) gives expert video advice on: How can I get a prescription for medical marijuana?; How much does a visit to a marijuana clinic cost?; Once I qualify, where can I get medical marijuana? and more...
How much does a visit to a marijuana clinic cost?
The cost of visiting such doctors I'm not really up to answering because I practice in the state of Illinois where we don't really have state legalized cannabis program. I'm told it's anywhere from $100 to $150, which would be in line to going to any doctor for any kind of ailment and getting a physical exam, having your history taken and then a recommendation will be written. Some practitioners may require additional laboratory tests or other tests to confirm the underlying condition for which the cannabis is being requested and so that would entail further expense.
Once I qualify, where can I get medical marijuana?
Well, once you qualify and have a letter of recommendation from a physician, as well as a state-issued or locally-issued card. Then you would need to go to what is called a "medicinal cannabis dispensary", or co-op as they frequently are. Storefronts that have been set up for the purpose of providing an environment not only for the purchasing of medicinal cannabis, but also perhaps for using it, and/or testing it out and seeing how you react to it and what the right dose is for you under a supervised and controlled environment. Unfortunately, the federal government does not recognize the legality of selling cannabis for medicinal purposes, so they have been concentrating their law enforcement efforts, in states like California, on raiding and arresting the people who run these dispensaries, and seizing their supplies, and sometimes it's almost like a gambling type of thing where they'll close one set of dispensaries, and another will open up and run for awhile, and then it goes around like that. And that's really a great problem for patients, that they have to worry that even though they're enrolled in a legalized program, but they're still subject to harassment, arrest, and seizure of their medicine by the federal government.
Do medical records show if I am a medical marijuana patient?
I believe that one's medical records should show whatever treatment you're using, whether it's FDA approved, off label, or in the case of medicinal cannabis an alternative, non-FDA approved thing. However, since many of the practitioners who do the evaluations and recommendations are specialists-- HIV specialists, pain specialists, or even, we even now have medical marijuana specialists-- they may not be your regular practicing physician, so unless you tell the doctor--that specialist--to send a letter to your regular primary physician, it may not be in your primary medical record.
Where can I get information on medical marijuana dispensaries?
There is a lot of organizations that exist for education and dissemination information regarding medical marijuana dispensaries, one of the best known is called ASA or Americans for Safe Access, they are reliable organization for both disseminating information about access points for medicinal cannabis but also for taking legal action against the federal government or state governments.
What is a medical marijuana caregiver?
A medical marijuana caregiver is someone who specializes in evaluating and recommending a medical canabus. Or more likely they will be a friend or family member who is a primary caregiver to that individual, say that has HIV and will help them obtain it , help them determine the right dose, make sure they are using it properly and not causing problems for themselves or their family and so forth. So it has both a formal and informal meaning.
If medical marijuana is legalized, would more people be using marijuana?
If medial marijuana were legalized, obviously, many more patients would be using a legalized form of marijuana; however, the accusation that the legalization of medical marijuana for adults with specific medical conditions sends a signal to youth and young adults who might then feel more tempted to use marijuana obtained from illegal sources is just not borne out by the evidence. At least, 10 of the 12 or 13 states that have now legalized medical marijuana programs epidemiological research has shown that if you compare the numbers of arrests of young adults and teenagers for possession of illegal cannabis before and after the programs went into effect it either stays stable or actually goes down. So, we are not seeing an effect on people's perception of the pros and cons of experimenting with illegal cannabis.
Do existing marijuana laws really hurt patients?
Absolutely! I mean, I have a whole file in my office which is called "Medical Marijuana Horror Stories", and I collect them from all over the United States: and people are going to jail. People are having their medicine taken away,and being held for long periods of time before their cases are disposed of. And people are really suffering because of the ambiguity of the laws between states, localities, and the federal government.