Thinking of seeing a medical marijuana doctor for a prescription? Now that medical marijuana is legal in Florida, getting the right medication for your healthcare needs is much easier. That being said, it’s not as simple as just visiting a medical marijuana clinic and walking out with a prescription.
According to Florida marijuana laws, registered physicians may only prescribe medical marijuana to patients who have been diagnosed with certain health conditions. Patients who meet these requirements are considered “eligible patients”. Eligible patients must also be full-time or seasonal residents of the state to be prescribed medical marijuana by a doctor in Florida.
Qualifying Conditions for a Florida Medical Marijuana Card
Per Amendment 2, which was passed on November 8, 2016, with a majority vote of over 70 percent, qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic nonmalignant pain
- Terminal illness
- Medical conditions of the same class or kind as or comparable to those listed
Although this list may seem short, the law does make concessions for other conditions that are debilitating and similar to the ones already listed. This means that patients who have medical conditions that are not listed may still be able to receive a Florida medical marijuana card.
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Medical conditions that are deemed to be debilitating or chronic by a licensed physician may make a patient eligible for medical marijuana. Florida’s medical marijuana laws allow physicians to prescribe marijuana if they believe the benefits of use outweigh the potential risk to a patient. If you have an unlisted medical condition and your doctor thinks medical marijuana is the best option for you, he or she may still be able to give you a prescription.
What is a debilitating condition?
A debilitating condition is any physical or mental condition that interferes with a patient’s life activities or limits what they can do on a day-to-day basis. If a medical condition stops you from doing daily activities, like getting dressed, walking, communicating or even going to work, chances are it’s considered debilitating.
Debilitating medical conditions typically fall under one of the following classes of disease:
- Neurological or neurodegenerative
If you have a medical condition that falls under one of these categories and it prohibits you from going about your day, you may qualify for medical marijuana.
What is a chronic condition?
Debilitating conditions are often chronic. This means that they are long-lasting or persistent. Any disease or medical condition that lasts for more than three consecutive months is considered chronic. However, chronic does not always mean feeling the symptoms of disease constantly. Some conditions can cause symptoms to arise sporadically throughout an extended period of time.
Common Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana
If you have a disease or medical condition that is either debilitating, chronic or both and it is not listed by the state as a qualifying condition, you may still be able to qualify for medical marijuana in Florida.
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Since the law leaves medical marijuana prescriptions up to the discretion of registered physicians, there are a variety of conditions a patient could receive a prescription for. As long as a medical condition meets the requirements outlined by the law, a patient is likely to get their Florida medical marijuana card and a prescription.
Note: The following list does not cover all of the possible diagnoses for a medical marijuana prescription in Florida. If your medical condition is not listed, visit your local medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) for more information.
Some of the most common qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Florida are:
- Substance abuse
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Insomnia/Sleep disorders
- Muscular dystrophy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sickle cell anemia
- Ulcerative colitis
What should I do if I think I have a qualifying condition?
If you believe your medical condition will qualify you for medical marijuana, your first step to becoming an eligible patient is to visit a medical marijuana doctor or MMTC in your area. There are many medical marijuana clinics throughout Florida, so you are likely to find one near you. If you or the person you are providing care for are physically unable to visit a clinic, you may be able to request a home visit.