Medical professionals don't prescribe marijuana. Prescribing Schedule I substances, including marijuana, is expressly prohibited by federal law. Instead, doctors can recommend marijuana under appropriate circumstances. Doctors have prescribed marijuana for a variety of different ailments, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others.
Most recommendations for medical marijuana are issued by doctors who specialize in evaluating patients for recommendations, rather than by the patient's primary physician. Before making a suggestion, the recommended physician should review the patient's existing medical records, including any additional medications the patient is already taking. Conditions that qualify for medical marijuana are lists of state-specific medical conditions that allow patients to legally obtain their medical card. Patients with one of these conditions can work with a doctor to obtain the necessary approval to purchase and use medical cannabis.
Hawaii became the first state to legalize medical cannabis through an act of the state legislature rather than through the standard voting initiative process in 2000. For more information on obtaining a medical marijuana card, visit the California Department of Health's Medical Marijuana Program. Both resident and non-resident patients need a valid medical recommendation from a California licensed physician to purchase medical cannabis products in California. Over time, California medical marijuana users may find it easier to meet their medical marijuana needs through the legal recreational marijuana market.
Following the passage of Proposition 64, the legislature enacted the Cannabis for Medicinal and Adult Use Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), which establishes a unified regulatory framework for medical and recreational marijuana. Therefore, a “qualified medical marijuana patient” is a patient with any of the conditions specifically listed in the law (cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, or migraine) who has obtained a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana. Even so, medical cannabis can be used in several forms, such as oral tablets, capsules, tinctures, gels, oils, creams or other topicals, patches, nebulizers, and inhalers. Individuals with a medical marijuana identification card (“MMIC”) are exempt from paying sales tax for the purchase of medical marijuana.