As more people work to remove the stigma surrounding cannabis as just a social drug, it’s important to be educated about how cannabis is used as a medical treatment for those in chronic pain. It’s important to learn how to select the right product, how it can be best administered to you, and what to expect while on medical cannabis. It’s also important to recognize the legalities of medical cannabis, how you can qualify in your state, how your insurance will interact with your requested medication, and other important factors. Through this short guide, we hope to provide the best available resources for your condition and help relieve your discomfort.
What Should I Know About Medical Cannabis?
It’s important to be aware that while medical cannabis is available, it may not be available in every state. Many states have programs for medical cannabis, but certain conditions need to be met before a person can qualify for treatment. Each state has its own application process, but most applications require a doctor’s note or medical record stating that you have one of the listed conditions approved for cannabis treatment before you can apply. While not all states have these conditions, some of the most common conditions that qualify for cannabis include:
- Intractable Pain (Opioid-Prescription Level Pain)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Severe Muscle Spasms
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Parkinson’s Disease
In other cases, your doctor can also submit paperwork that documents your medical history and their reasoning for approving medical cannabis. If your condition qualifies, the next step would be to contact the Department of Health and fill out the necessary forms for approval.
When it comes to insurance coverage, the current status of reimbursement is that right now, only five states— Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York – allow for employees to have medical cannabis expenses reimbursed. Some states, such as Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, and Washington, prohibit worker’s compensation for reimbursement, and in all other jurisdictions, states are not required to or are silent on the issue.
CBD Product or Real Cannabis: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to choosing your cannabis product, there are several distinctions between real cannabis and CBD made from hemp. These include:
- CBD from hemp: Less than .3%THC. Usually considered legal to purchase in most states.
- CBD from the cannabis: Over.3% THC. A medical card must be provided to use.
One note to keep in mind when choosing your medication is not to be afraid of having THC. Throughout the medical cannabis industry, there are various percentages of THC you can choose from, and for some, the THC is needed to help relieve pain and discomfort for certain conditions. However, CBD can interact with certain drug medications, especially blood thinners, that require discussions with your doctor before using. In other cases, CBD use for children with seizures may need the THC component to treat ongoing episodes. When choosing your medication, always look for the Certificate of Analysis code for the number of compounds in the medication so you can effectively relieve your pain safely.