At the time of writing, there are medical or recreational marijuana programs in 33 states plus D.C. Best estimates suggest there are close to three million medical marijuana patients in the U.S. and California accounts for approximately one-third! When applying for an MMJ card, you usually need to register with the state’s program and pay a fee.
You must also see a physician for a medical marijuana evaluation. They will discuss your medical condition and decide if you are a good candidate for medicinal marijuana. This guide aims to help you successfully negotiate marijuana evaluations.
What Is a Medical Marijuana Evaluation?
A medical marijuana evaluation involves a consultation with a licensed physician. You need to make a special appointment. No matter where you live, you can’t get an MMJ card without a doctor’s approval, and you can’t get their approval without an evaluation! The process involves the medical professional assessing your candidacy.
Medical cannabis evaluations seldom last more than 20-30 minutes.
The doctor reviews your medical history and asks you a few questions to see if you are eligible. You may need to present evidence that you have one of the current qualifying conditions.
In certain states, such as California, it is possible to conduct the entire evaluation online! You don’t even need to leave your home. Once accepted, you receive your MMJ card through the post as usual. However, these services also provide a temporary ‘digital’ card. In theory, you can buy marijuana minutes after passing your evaluation.
What Are the Qualifying Medical Conditions?
The list of qualifying conditions varies according to the state marijuana program in question. However, the following medical issues are typically classified as a good enough reason to receive an MMJ card recommendation:
- Terminal Illness
- Severe pain or nausea
- Seizures, including those associated with epilepsy
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Severe/persistent muscle spasms
- Multiple sclerosis
- Ulcerative colitis
There are several more, but we recommend checking out your state’s qualifying conditions. Physicians in certain states get an element of leeway in MMJ evaluations. In California, for example, a patient with any ‘chronic or persistent medical symptom that limits their capacity to conduct a major life activity is potentially eligible for an MMJ card.
We have heard of some cases where MMJ patients are approved for reasons one might not expect. Here are a few other medical marijuana conditions that may surprise you:
- A cough
- Cocaine dependency
- Color blindness
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Amblyopic dyslexia
- Writer’s cramp
Where to Go for a Medical Marijuana Evaluation
In most states, you should find a dedicated medical marijuana evaluation center. The wonders of modern technology mean that you can find a suitable physician online. Tons of websites enable you to enter your address and show you the nearest appropriate location. On some sites, you request an appointment by completing the HIPPA compliant patient-intake form. Then, the selected provider contacts you to schedule the appointment.
Unfortunately, not every state has a massive array of cannabis patient evaluation center locations. You may have to drive 50+ miles to find a suitable doctor. This is especially the case if you live away from an urban area. We recommend looking at reviews of a center. It is also helpful if you can find comments that suggest the physician is likely to approve of you.
Fortunately, a growing number of states permit online evaluations. Companies such as NuggMD offer appointments for as little as $39 in California. Unlike regular assessments, you only pay upon approval.
We urge you to show caution when looking for an MMJ doctor. Beware of scams involving fake marijuana cards. For example, in Maryland, some scammers claimed they were able to ‘preapprove’ patients before the program even began! Remember, only a licensed doctor listed on your state’s physician registry is allowed to approve your application.
It is not always a straightforward process for doctors. In some states, they have to apply with the Department of Health and complete a training program. Also, steer clear of any physician who claims they can ‘prescribe’ medical marijuana. It remains a federally illegal substance, so such individuals are lying. You can only legally get cannabis from a licensed dispensary.
What to Expect During a Medical Marijuana Evaluation
When you arrive for your visit, you must complete a patient intake packet. If you conduct your medical marijuana consultation online, you will fill in a few forms before you see your doctor. During the evaluation, the doctor will review your condition and perform any necessary tests. The doctor will likely ask different questions regarding your daily lifestyle, health, and treatments that you are currently taking.
Unfortunately, you’ll likely only receive approval if you’ve already tried other medications. The physician may offer to give you opioid painkillers and tell you to return in 30 days if they don’t work. At this stage, you can either play ball or refuse and go to another provider.
The physician will outline a treatment plan and discuss the side effects of medical marijuana. They also mention the risks and benefits of cannabis treatment and, in some circumstances, arrange a follow-up visit.
Once the evaluation is complete, your doctor will ask if you have any questions about the process. It helps if you ask about the benefits of medical marijuana, so you don’t sound like a stoner. It is essential to show the doctor that you fully understand the implications of using medical marijuana. You must also know why you are taking it, and why you think it will help your condition. This is an integral part of the process, so do it wisely; otherwise, you may not receive approval.
Once it is clear that you understand the process, you will likely receive your medical marijuana doctor’s recommendation.
What to Say During a Medical Marijuana Evaluation
First of all, it is important to relax and smile. Believe it or not, your attitude could make all the difference! Put yourself in the doctor’s shoes: Are you more likely to approve an MMJ card to someone who is jovial and pleasant, or a patient who is surly? Remember, the physician has no legal obligation to approve you.
Medical marijuana physician evaluations are often tense for both parties, but only if you allow it! If you are in the office and don’t know what to say, break the ice by talking about another person you know that is using medicinal marijuana. Explain that it is working for them. Alternatively, state that you have read a book, watched a documentary, or researched weed online.
Be honest when discussing the medical possibilities of cannabis, and if you’ve tried it before, let the doctor know. Some physicians are hesitant to recommend weed to new users. Also, if you believe a specific cannabis-derived product can help, mention it. Bear in mind that a significant proportion of medical professionals have little knowledge of marijuana’s potential healing capabilities.
It Isn’t Illegal to ASK About Medical Cannabis!
Remember, you’re entitled to an MMJ card if you have a qualifying condition. Assuming you live in a state where medicinal marijuana is legal, you’re unlikely to get into trouble. Even though cannabis is federally illegal, asking your physician about the health benefits of weed is not against the law.
The physician cannot report you to the police, and you are not getting arrested for asking about medical marijuana. In Contant V. Walters (2002), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to protect the rights of patients and physicians to seek medical information about therapeutic weed.
Don’t assume that the physician is up to date on the latest research, even if he has registered with the program. For a lot of doctors, providing medical weed is a lucrative option. However, they risk losing their license and possibly even jail time if they knowingly recommend marijuana to an ineligible person.
You should ask the physician if he has attended any workshops or continuing education programs about cannabis recently. The likely answer is ‘no,’ but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a recommendation.
The range of treatment options depends on your condition. For instance, an individual with depression may be asked to see a therapist and use antidepressants before they are considered for MMJ card approval.
What Do I Need to Bring to My Medical Marijuana Evaluation?
A medical marijuana evaluation is mandatory in most states. As a result, you need to book an appointment with the physician and get ready. In general, the meeting will last up to 30 minutes. However, some marijuana-friendly physicians may provide you with a recommendation in far less time. When answering ‘what to bring to a medical marijuana evaluation,’ many sites overlook something crucial. You must bring knowledge about cannabis with you!
Before you approach any physician about medical marijuana, do your homework on how medicinal cannabis could help your condition.
Let’s say you suffer from an inflammatory disease such as osteoarthritis. In this case, reflect on how the condition impacts your life and how cannabis could ease specific symptoms. Once you have a solid understanding of the benefits of weed, you’ll find it far easier to explain how it will help you.
Make sure you bring your medical records. List any injury, disability, and illness that medical marijuana could potentially assist with. You also need to bring a Government ID such as a passport or driver’s license to prove that you’re a resident of the state. Some programs may also ask for a bank statement or a utility bill to prove your residency. If you have medical documents such as X-rays, disability paperwork, or the results of an MRI scan, make sure you bring them as well.
How to Get Approved in a Marijuana Evaluation
We can’t offer a guarantee on how to pass a medical marijuana evaluation. However, follow our advice, and you will increase your chances of success. You have little chance of receiving approval if you stroll in, ask for weed, and offer little in the way of reasons. If you try that approach, the doctor will believe you are someone who only wants marijuana to get high.
By asking questions, you show that you’ve researched the herb and are an individual who takes the whole process seriously. Here are a few questions worth asking:
- Will cannabis have any dangerous interactions with any of my current medications?
- What activities should I avoid while using marijuana?
- Will cannabis cause current medications to be less effective?
- Are there any potential side effects I should be aware of?
- Is second-hand smoke going to be a problem? (If you have children or pets)
- What are the healthcare costs associated with purchasing medical marijuana?
- Do you know of any medical studies on the effects of cannabis on patients with my condition?
- Where can I find accurate information about the medical effects of marijuana?
Although it depends on the physician, you usually receive an answer at the end of the evaluation. Even if you didn’t get what you’re looking for, make sure you say ‘thanks.’ You never know when you’ll need to see the same doctor again!
If you don’t receive approval, don’t give up! If you genuinely believe that medical marijuana is the best treatment for your condition, schedule an appointment with another doctor.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Evaluation – Success! Now What?
If our ‘how to pass a medical marijuana card’ evaluation help you get your MMJ card, we’re delighted for you! As for the next step, it depends on where you live. In some states, you need to send the doctor’s recommendation and medical records to the relevant authority. The process could take days or even weeks. Only then can you purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary.
If the evaluation happens online with a company such as NuggMD, it is possible to schedule a same-day consultation. Moreover, if you are approved, you will receive a downloadable recommendation which you can use instead of the MMJ card to purchase marijuana online. NuggMD even shows you where to buy weed online! The card itself should be sent to you in a matter of days.
Make sure you check out your state’s specific laws on how much you can buy and possess. Some programs allow you an ounce, while others permit up to 2.5 ounces and beyond. There are also limits on edibles, concentrates, and other forms of the herb. If you complete an online evaluation, you may receive a digital MMJ card that you use until you get the physical one. In a handful of places, you could get cannabis delivered like pizza!
Medical Marijuana Appointment Checklist
Have you scheduled a 420 evaluation? If so, make sure you bring the following:
- Proof of Identification – Passport, State Driver’s License, Military-Issued ID Card, Out-of-State ID.
- Personal Medical Documentation – Recent medical records, physician’s letter, results of MRIs, x-rays, etc., list of current prescriptions.
- Payment Method – Debit or credit card, money order, a check, cash. Some locations have an online payment system.
- Knowledge – Show that you understand why medical marijuana is potentially useful.
Bottom Line on Medical Marijuana Evaluations
Congratulations! You are now free to try an alternative medicine, and perhaps break free of the yolk of opioids.
In states where medical marijuana is legal, you need to receive approval for an MMJ card. It is the legal way to use cannabis to treat your medical condition. Otherwise, you are breaking the law and risk a prison sentence and a huge fine. Even in states where you can purchase weed recreationally, it makes sense to obtain an MMJ card because it can save you a small fortune on taxes.
When you schedule an appointment, make sure you bring your medical records, ID, and a positive attitude. Show the physician that you understand the implications of using medical marijuana. If they sense that you are genuine and believe that weed can help treat your condition, there’s an excellent chance you will receive approval.