Why Do Medical Cannabis Cards Expire?

by Haley Mills · November 18, 2022

If you have a medical cannabis card, you might be wondering if it expires. The answer is yes, medical cannabis cards do expire. Here’s why.

If you have a medical cannabis card, you might be wondering if it expires. The answer is yes, a medical certification will expire. Here’s why.

What is Medical Cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis is available nationwide in two-thirds of the states and for hundreds of thousands of patients with qualifying conditions. Patients who have received a medical examination can use medical marijuana to treat various conditions, ranging from chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, and insomnia to cancer, PTSD, anxiety, depression, Multiple Sclerosis, or HIV/AIDS. Medical marijuana is still federally illegal but has been decriminalized or legalized in many areas.

Potential Benefits of MMJ

The potential benefits of medical treatment with cannabis are vast. Specific cannabinoids can produce a therapeutic potential for patients with different health conditions.

Several peer-reviewed studies suggest that cannabinoids have varying health benefits. They have been used throughout history to manage various health concerns and ailments. While research continues, more evidence suggests that cannabis and cannabinoids can benefit human health.  

Studies are being done worldwide to see how cannabis may aid in fighting cancer, slowing down tumor growth, and if cannabinol delays symptom onset for certain chronic pain conditions. It can help with addiction treatment, increase appetite, aid in sleep, improve muscle function, and manage seizures, and it has significant anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Marijuana has many potential medical uses, including:

  • It effectively reduces pain, nausea, and vomiting associated with cancer and other illnesses. 
  • It may also manage mental conditions 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. 

Possible Adverse Risks

There aren’t many known side effects for CBD, and most side effects from marijuana come from higher doses and long-term use. 

Marijuana also affects brain development if used at an early age. When people begin using it as teenagers, it can impair cognitive functions and affect how the brain connects and communicates with other body areas. 

Other adverse side effects include:

  • altered senses or sense of time
  • changes in mood
  • impaired body function
  • slowed cognitive skills, memory loss
  • hallucinations, delusions, psychosis (high doses, significant long-term use only) 
  • adverse reaction when combined with certain prescription or over-the-counter medications

Who Qualifies for an MMJ Card? 

A state-issued medical card allows adults with certain qualifying conditions to purchase and use cannabis. Medical marijuana is still federally illegal but has been decriminalized or legalized in some states to treat specific qualifying ailments.

Board-certified physicians can prescribe cannabis as a treatment and recommend it to their state cannabis regulatory body to issue a medical marijuana card. Medical cannabis applicants must provide written documentation from their healthcare providers before applying for a card. 

To be eligible for a medical marijuana card, applicants must suffer from one of the qualifying conditions established by their state. The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana cards vary from state to state. 

The following are common conditions recognized by most states as qualifying for a medical marijuana prescription and card:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis or other neurological disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Depression

How to get a Medical Card

Leafy DOC offers a simple process, knowledgeable customer support, and an excellent experience. Their price is competitive without sacrificing quality, and they offer health services from a health coach even after you’ve obtained a medical card.

The Process:

  • Book appointment. Skip unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office and make your appointment from the comfort of your home. Provide basic medical history and book your appointment.
  • Match with a physician. Connect with the right doctor for you and easily talk to your provider on your phone or tablet. The medical examiner will evaluate your condition and will address your questions.
  • Receive your medical card. You’ll receive a medical examiner’s certificate, and the Leafy DOC team will be available to address any questions you may have and support your upgraded lifestyle. If you are not approved for the medical certificate for cannabis, there is a money-back guarantee.

The Price:

An online recommendation with Leafy DOC starts at 99 USD for new patients and renewals; however, the cost varies depending on the state. We suggest clicking “get started” on the website to select your state and find out more about pricing. While you’re there, look at the additional offer of a personalized health coach.

How long do MMJ cards last? 

Most states provide medical marijuana cards that are valid for one year. After one year, medical cannabis patients must apply for renewal in their issuing state.

There are exceptions like Illinois, which issue MMJ cards for three years, and Utah, which allows initial patients to use medical marijuana for three months before the medical card expires.

Why do Medical Cards Expire? 

Like any other treatment or medicine prescribed by a physician, medicinal cannabis is a drug that needs to be monitored and dosed correctly. Yearly checkups allow your doctor to determine if your condition still requires MMJ and if the dosage is appropriate for your symptoms. Oftentimes, a person can build a tolerance so it’s important to continue getting the needed effects by talking it over with your health provider.

Your yearly appointment is also an excellent time to discuss new strains, products, and treatment methods and in some cases, the program may have even increased the legal possession limit allowing you to receive more cannabis monthly. Trust us, it’s worth the annual checkup.

Renewal Costs

The cost of renewing a medical card is typically similar to the original price of obtaining the certification. In some states, getting a card and renewal cost beyond your certificate is unnecessary. In other states, the medical card renewal cost can be up to two hundred dollars. The average price to renew a medical marijuana card is around 100 USD; however, all states differ. 

Different State Programs 

Using different telehealth and online medical cannabis platforms makes it possible to apply for and get approved online for a medical marijuana card. Remember that you will need to prove your condition, provide medical and treatment history, etc., which may require in-person appointments before applying online. 

Can You Have a Commercial Driving License (CDL) and an MMJ Card?

Unfortunately, no. This could change in the future, however, while marijuana continues to be illegal this will be the case. Commercial drivers and interstate drivers with a CDL license are federally regulated and therefore are not allowed to possess medical cannabis. Every state has different rules on what they consider commercial vehicles so we recommend checking local laws.

Where to Purchase Medical Marijuana?

Once an applicant obtains a medical marijuana card, purchasing medical marijuana products is relatively simple. Visiting a local medical marijuana dispensary or provisioning center and speaking with a budtender are recommended. Discussing a specific condition and the desired outcome with a trained professional will allow cannabis patients to identify the ideal cannabis strains to address their ailment.  

For those facing transportation or mobility challenges, online medical marijuana purchasing and medical marijuana delivery present viable options. Leafy Mate allows medical marijuana patients to locate dispensaries in their local community or elsewhere, depending on travel needs or restrictions. 

Renew Your Medical Cannabis Card

It’s highly suggested to renew your medical marijuana card thirty to forty-five days before it expires rather than waiting until the expiration date is close or has passed. If you wait to restore your MMJ card, a gap between the expiration and renewal approval dates can cause a significant setback in treatment. This is especially critical for patients who regularly use medical cannabis to manage chronic conditions. 

You may be required to have your medical condition assessed by a licensed doctor before renewal is approved. As we all know, scheduling an appointment with a doctor can be challenging and tedious. Once you receive the doctor’s approval, you’ll then have to submit the renewal application and wait for approval by the medical marijuana program in your state. It can be a time-consuming process that is best started early to avoid any snags along the way.

Reasons to Renew Your MMJ Certificate

It’s highly suggested to renew your medical marijuana certification thirty to forty-five days before it expires rather than waiting until the expiration date passes. If you wait to restore your MMJ card, a gap between the expiration and renewal approval dates can cause a significant setback in treatment. This is especially critical for patients who regularly use medical cannabis to manage chronic conditions. 

You may be required to be assessed by a licensed doctor before renewal is approved. As we all know, scheduling an appointment with a doctor can be challenging and tedious. Once you receive the doctor’s approval, you’ll then have to submit the renewal application and wait for approval by the medical marijuana program in your state. It can be a time-consuming process that is best started early. 

There won’t be a lapse in treatment.

Unfortunately, you can no longer purchase medical marijuana legally once your medical cannabis card has expired. Licensed dispensaries are unable to accept expired medical cards.

Also, states with online patient registries won’t allow you to enter their medical cannabis dispensaries outside the renewal window, as you are no longer a qualified and certified patient. 

You won’t have to rush to find or see a doctor. 

You can schedule a renewal appointment with your medical marijuana physician months in advance, so it’s vital to remember that date and time by making a note or adding it to your calendar. With Leafy DOC, you can book telehealth appointments when convenient for you, so these services make that easier for patients.

Some states require patients to meet with multiple recommending physicians for first-time medical marijuana use. However, renewals are typically quick and painless if you get them done before expiration. 

Avoid Illegal Possession or Use.

Every state with a medical marijuana program offers legal protections to MMJ patients. While cannabis is still illegal under federal law, state protections keep medical cannabis users safe. 

By renewing your medical card before it expires, you eliminate the potential risk of being arrested for possession or use. Even if your medical card barely expires, you can still be held liable if your state does not allow recreational use.

You can plan for dispensary deals when renewal is insured. 

  • Marijuana dispensaries in certain states offer discounts to patients on their renewal anniversary.
  • Medical marijuana patients often have expanded and higher-quality menu options without waiting in line at the recreational dispensary. 
  • There is no sales tax for MMJ  in certain states, such as California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
  • Many medical marijuana states allow delivery services with a medical marijuana card.

Take your time with a Medical Card. 

It can feel uneasy about having your medical treatment hanging in the balance. If you wait too long, you may find yourself waiting by the mailbox or searching for emails. Transit issues happen, and you could even be spending time on the phone tracking your medical card. Don’t let that happen to you at the last minute because there is not typically a grace period once the medical card expires.

While it is typically a fairly quick process, there is always a possibility of delay, so handling your renewal process up-front will ensure timely delivery to replace your current card.

Leafy DOC can help! 

Leafy DOC offers a straightforward process for renewing your MMJ card, knowledgeable customer support, and an excellent experience. The price is competitive without sacrificing quality, with the option to meet with a health coach even after obtaining a medical card.

Serving thousands of patients and with hundreds of customer reviews, Leafy DOC is the place to visit to get a medical card or renewal fast and securely before the expiration date.

Last Updated: November 18, 2022

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