Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly legal in the states, despite the ongoing federal prohibition. Many states share similar qualifying medical conditions, and cannabis research continues into the plant’s medicinal potential.
However, it isn’t just adults who can benefit from medical marijuana. Researchers have recently found that CBD and other cannabinoids might help children with seizures, Autism, chronic pain, and more.
Our guide will show how people under eighteen can apply for and renew a medical marijuana card and whether medical cannabis is safe for minor patients. Read on to find out more about medical marijuana for children and teens.
Cannabis as Medicine
Marijuana and cannabis are often thought to be the same thing; however, the two terms are not exactly interchangeable. Cannabis refers to the broader plant species and can encompass all products made from Cannabis sativa. There are about 170 different cannabis species, including marijuana and hemp.
Often referred to as pot or weed, marijuana is explicitly referring to the products made from dried flowers or buds of the plant. They can include flowers, stems, and leaves. The main psychoactive compound is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. It also contains CBD, while hemp contains no THC and only CBD.
Weed is typically consumed through smoking but may also be ingested and used topically. When smoked, THC enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain. The second most active cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), which does not give the same psychoactive effects as THC.
Today several different strains can be bred to induce different responses in the user. Some strains are designed to help with insomnia, while others are meant to be energizing. Different strains are used for different occasions based on the desired effect. The effects of marijuana may include relaxation, euphoria, increased appetite, altered perception, and impaired judgment.
Cannabis Medicine Over Time
Marijuana is a drug that has been used for centuries. The first recorded use of marijuana as a medication was in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung. Marijuana was also used as an anesthetic during surgery in Europe and the United States during the 1800s and early 1900s.
Today marijuana is sold as a pain reliever and an alternative to dangerous prescription medications like opioids. Marijuana has been used in various medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, and muscle spasms. Marijuana is also effective in treating symptoms caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Marijuana has many potential medical uses for several qualifying conditions, including:
- It effectively reduces pain, nausea, and vomiting associated with cancer and other illnesses.
- It may also be used to manage mental illnesses such as PTSD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
- Marijuana has also been shown to reduce intraocular pressure in the eyes of people with glaucoma. It may cause the pupil to constrict, reducing the stress inside the eye.
- Seizure management, particularly from epilepsy.
- Diseases such as Crohn’s disease, HIV/Aids, Multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s.
Today, marijuana is most commonly used for recreational purposes. People enjoy smoking or ingesting marijuana for its psychoactive effects, including euphoria and a sense of relaxation.
However, the use of marijuana as a medicine, especially for minor patients, is still widely debated, with some states legalizing it for medical purposes only for qualifying patients. In contrast, others restrict all use as a comprehensive drug abuse prevention method.
Is Medical Marijuana Safe for a Minor Patient?
Most states are relatively conservative when offering a minor patient medical marijuana. This is due to the lack of research surrounding it and that cannabis use can inhibit brain development in those who aren’t fully grown. That being said, if there are no other treatment options and two physicians recommend it for a severe illness, it can be done.
There is promising research in support of medical cannabis and CBD for children with epilepsy, painful diseases, and Autism along with many other disorders. Still, science has a long way to go to learn everything we need to know about the safety of marijuana use in children and teenagers.
How to Register for a Medical Cannabis Card as a Minor
While the rules and fees vary per state, a minor patient application process will be similar in most states. Here, we go over the details of two patient registration procedures so that you can get an idea of what’s in store. We recommend talking with your child’s Physician and checking your state’s medical marijuana program website for more information.
People under 18 are allowed use, grow, and possess medical cannabis products in Oklahoma if they have a qualifying condition to get a medical marijuana minor patient license.
There must be two recommending physician forms, and a parent or legal guardian will need to submit an online application to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) via the automated service.
Information on the MMJ card includes:
- patient name
- date of birth
- the county and city of residence
- license expiration date
- patient photo
- license type
- medical marijuana license number
- valid until the minor patient turns 18 or for two years.
What to Bring
To obtain an online medical marijuana card, you’ll need the following documents:
proof of Oklahoma residency and identification, such as a driver’s license or a state-issued ID with the patient’s social security number.
The cost to submit an application online is $100 or $20 with valid proof of Medicare or Medicaid enrollment. This can be paid by credit card, check, or money order and is non-refundable whether treatment is approved or not.
- Anorexia and Bulimia
- Cachexia and Wasting Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders
- HIV/ AIDS
- Muscle Spasms
- Neuropathic Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Terminal Illness
Minors who qualify for medical marijuana in Florida must exhibit severe medical needs. A recommendation that medicinal cannabis use is in the patient’s best interest must be provided by two physicians: the child’s primary care physician and a board-certified specialist in their condition.
Common conditions include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury
- Severe Epilepsy
- Terminal Illness
- Uncontrolled Seizure Disorder
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Osteogenesis Imperfecta
How to Register
A parent or guardian must complete the online registration process for minors under 18 years of age to access a medical marijuana card and prescription.
A medical marijuana doctor will begin the process and provide the state program with the information necessary to complete the minor patient registration. This includes confirming the physician’s data and selecting the appropriately licensed dispensary to purchase medical marijuana in Florida.
What is a Marijuana Caregiver?
A primary caregiver is an adult over 21 legally allowed to purchase, transport, educate, and administer medical cannabis to MMJ patients with a valid medical card.
Over thirty states have legalized medical marijuana programs, allowing caregivers to assist qualified patients. In these locations, state legislation provides legal protection for the patient and the caregiver from criminal penalties.
A parent, legal guardian, or designated family member can obtain a caregiver license. To receive a caregiver id number, the minor will need to get recommendations from two physicians for medical marijuana.
Caregiver Registration Process
Specific caregiver regulations vary from one location to the next. However, a few blanket requirements exist for people interested in becoming or designating a primary marijuana caregiver.
In general, primary caregivers usually must meet these requirements:
- An adult that is 21 years or older
- A United States citizen (Proof via passport, Driver’s License, ETC.)
- A resident of the state that the qualified patient lives in
Some states also require that the caregiver submit a clean criminal history background check and driving record if applicable. In many states, a caregiver can legally care for five patients, while some only require at least one caregiver per patient.
Designated Caregivers have tasks that include purchasing medical cannabis and acting legally on behalf of the patient. Because of this, caregivers are responsible for knowing their state’s medical marijuana rules and legislation.
They typically complete a third-party caregiver form, separate from the qualified medical marijuana patient, including a registration fee and annual renewals.
The primary caregiver registering is legally bound to their medical marijuana patients and may not purchase or deliver marijuana to other patients with an MMJ card.
Cannabis Laws in the United States
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use. Today, nineteen states plus the District of Columbia allow people to purchase medical marijuana for specific medical conditions.
Several other states are expected to consider legalizing marijuana in the upcoming years. There has been significant support for legalizing marijuana in recent years.
In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. In 2017, California became the most significant state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Currently, 18 states where recreational marijuana is legal at a state level and 36 states (as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have approved comprehensive medical marijuana programs.
Leafy Mate & Leafy DOC Can Help
Leafy DOC is a medical marijuana telehealth industry leader that works with patients to connect them with doctors and go through the medical marijuana card application process online.
Currently, Leafy DOC can assist patients in New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Ohio, Missouri, and Virginia, with more states on the way.
Leafy Mate can connect you with marijuana doctors in your area, dispensaries, and cannabis deals near you. Learn about other treatments and connect with us online to get started in your state’s medical-marijuana program.
Last Updated: July 25, 2023
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