The Complete Guide to Medical Marijuana for Seniors

Learn everything you need to know about medical marijuana with our in-depth guide BEGIN READ

Intro

It seems like every time you turn on the news, there is a new story about medical marijuana. Florida seniors are turning to medical marijuana to treat conditions such as chronic pain, insomnia, and more. Since marijuana legalization is a relatively recent phenomenon, you may have questions about medical marijuana treatment. You may be curious about what makes medical marijuana different from recreational marijuana use, whether it can help with your medical conditions, and whether it is safe.

To help you make an informed decision, we put together a guide on medical marijuana for Florida seniors. We will discuss the medical benefits, dosing and administration, and how to get a Florida medical marijuana card.

Are Seniors Really Buying Medical Marijuana?

Although marijuana use is typically associated with young people, the average age for cannabis use is older than you might expect. According to headset.io, the average age of cannabis users is around 38, and half of all cannabis users are over the age of 40. Articles in mainstream publications such as The New York Times discuss the rising popularity of medical marijuana with seniors.

Seniors are turning to medical marijuana to help with painful conditions that may not respond to other medications. In some cases, they may be concerned about the potential side effects of prescriptions such as opioids. Medical marijuana can be a safe alternative as long as you work with an experienced medical marijuana doctor.

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is made from the marijuana plant. There are hundreds of chemical components in marijuana, but the two primary ones when it comes to medical marijuana are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC and CBD are found in various ratios and marijuana plants. The plant’s oils can also be extracted and used to create other products, such as oils, tinctures, and concentrates.

 

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Will I Get High from Medical Marijuana?

CBD and THC both have medical benefits. CBD is most commonly associated with medical marijuana because it does not have any psychoactive side effects. In other words, CBD will not get you high. THC can cause a high, but when it is used in combination with CBD and in appropriate doses, those side effects are minimized or eliminated.

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana has medical benefits for a wide range of conditions. These conditions include the following:

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Chronic Pain

A report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2017 reviewed more than 100 studies on cannabis. The study concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is effective for the treatment of chronic pain. It also has far fewer side effects than other common treatments for chronic pain, such as opioids, and has much less of a risk of addiction.

Arthritis

Medical cannabis can help ease the pain associated with arthritis. It can also help reduce the painful inflammation that causes arthritis pain. Both CBD and THC reduce inflammation.

Cancer

The side effects of cancer treatment can be intolerable. Many cancer patients experience nausea and loss of appetite. Medical marijuana can help ease nausea and stimulate appetite. There is also some initial research that indicates that medical marijuana may help slow cancer growth, but more research needs to be done in this area.

Insomnia

Everyone deserves a restful night’s sleep, but many seniors struggle with sleeping through the night. CBD can help you relax, and THC can help induce sleep. An experienced medical marijuana doctor can help you find the right strain and dosage to get a good night’s sleep.

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Glaucoma

Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. Medical marijuana may help reduce that pressure.

Anxiety and Depression

Although there are prescription medications to treat anxiety and depression, many of these medications have unwanted side effects. Many patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD are using medical cannabis to alleviate their symptoms.

Loss of Appetite

Many seniors lose their desire to eat. This can be caused by a variety of conditions, including memory loss or the side effects of other medications. Medical marijuana helps to stimulate appetite, making food appealing once again.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Medical marijuana can help with the symptoms of depression appetite loss that come with Alzheimer’s disease. There is some initial research that shows that THC may help slow the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease as well.

What Are My Options for Consuming Medical Marijuana?

Marijuana is often associated with smoking, but that is one of the least practical and least desirable forms of administration. There are several simpler methods for medical marijuana dosing:

 

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Vaping

Vaping might look like smoking, but it is actually a very different (and safer) experience. Vaping is short for vaporizing. With vaping, your medical cannabis is heated and turned into a vapor, which you then inhale. Since nothing is actually burned, the vapor is far safer and less harsh than smoke. It also does not carry as strong an odor. Plant materials can be vaped, and there are also oils and wax concentrates that can be vaped. Many vaping devices are simple to use and just involve pressing a button.

 

Lotions and Creams

Lotions and creams are applied to areas we are experiencing soreness or pain. They allow you to target a specific area. These products are good if you have pain in a specific part of your body, but if you need whole body relief, another administration option may serve you better.

Patches

Patches are applied topically.  They release medical marijuana into your system gradually over the course of several hours.

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Tinctures

Tinctures are liquids that contain plant oils. They can be administered under the tongue, which allows them to be absorbed into your system. Some also mix tinctures with food or liquid, but that can slow down absorption. Tinctures are easy to administer, and they also make it simple to track your dosing.

Capsules

Medical marijuana capsules are another easy delivery method. You simply take the capsules with water according to your doctor’s recommendation.

How Can Florida Seniors Obtain Medical Marijuana?

There are a few steps to complete to obtain medical marijuana in Florida. If you think that medical marijuana may be right for you, the first step is to make an appointment with a qualified medical marijuana physician, such as Dr. Daniel P. Stein at Neurology of Cannabis. To make the most of your appointment, collect your medical records before you go.

Your medical marijuana physician will review your medical records and determine whether you have one of the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana in Florida. Qualifying conditions include:

 

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Cancer

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Epilepsy

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Glaucoma

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HIV/AIDS

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PTSD

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ALS

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Crohn’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease

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Multiple sclerosis

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A terminal condition as diagnosed by another physician

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Chronic pain caused by a qualifying medical condition

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Medical conditions of the “same kind or class” as the other conditions listed

If you do not see your condition listed, it is still well worth the time to visit an experienced medical marijuana doctor. Your doctor may have insights into your situation, that may allow you to qualify under the “same kind or class” qualification. Given the powerful medical benefits that many patients see with medical marijuana, it is worth taking the time to find out whether you qualify.

After your doctor determines whether you have one of the qualifying conditions, your doctor may make a recommendation for marijuana treatment. Your doctor’s office will begin the process of adding you to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.

What Should I Expect at My Medical Cannabis Appointment?

The first thing that you should expect at your medical marijuana doctor’s appointment is a professional environment. A high-quality practice will have staff members available to greet you and make you feel welcome. A typical appointment includes:

  1. Filling out intake paperwork. Although filling out paperwork can be tedious, it is important to ensure your doctor has your most up-to-date information and a full understanding of your medical needs and concerns.
  2. A review of your medical records and medications. Your doctor and/or a member of his or her staff will review your medical records and your current medications.
  3. Viewing an educational video. You may watch an educational video that provides information about medical marijuana benefits, dosing, and administration.
  4. Time with your doctor. This is what sets apart high-quality practices from “card mills.” A professional practice will give you ample time with your doctor to ask questions and get answers regarding your concerns around medical marijuana.
  5. A treatment plan. After talking with you and learning about your needs and concerns, your doctor will provide a treatment plan.

Once you have a treatment plan, your doctor’s office will start the process of registering you for a Florida medical marijuana card.

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Obtaining A Florida Medical Marijuana Card

After your medical cannabis appointment, you will need to finish the registration process. You will receive two emails from the Florida health department. You will need to login and review your information. You may need to upload a photo if they were not able to pull one from your driver’s license or state identification card. You should also confirm your address to make sure it is up to date so you receive your card on time.

If you are a seasonal resident who stays in Florida for 31 consecutive days or more, you will need to upload two forms of proof of residence. These can be a current utility bill, a recent mortgage statement, or recent mail from a financial institution or from a government agency. Other forms of proof of residence may be acceptable as well. You will need to upload these to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.

You will also need to pay the $75 application fee. Once you have completed the application and paid your fee, you will receive your medical marijuana card in the mail.

Once you have your medical marijuana card, you can place an order with an approved medical marijuana treatment center. These centers are located in cities throughout Florida, and you can also place orders for delivery. You can find your closest medical marijuana treatment center on the Florida health department website.

Professional, Compassionate Medical Marijuana Care

To ensure you receive competent, professional care, it is important to choose your medical marijuana doctor wisely. For medical marijuana, Florida seniors in the Sarasota area are turning to Dr. Stein at Neurology of Cannabis.

Dr. Stein is a board-certified physician with more than 26 years of practice experience. His background in neurology gives him unique insights into the benefits of medical cannabis and how it interacts with the brain. He completed his fellowship at the National Institute of Health and Immunology of Neuromuscular Disease and was a resident at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. His medical internship was at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Cleveland.

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Dr. Stein’s friendly staff will make you feel at ease as soon as you walk in the door. Neurology of Cannabis also uses a unique pricing model to make it more affordable for Florida seniors. Instead of a separate charge for every visit, Neurology of Cannabis charges one affordable annual fee of $250 (discounts are available for veterans). Your annual fee includes:

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A review of your medical records

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Your initial consultation with Dr. Stein

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Your treatment plan

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Your initial certification

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Your six-month recertification

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Your medication renewals for a full year

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Registration of a caregiver (if needed)

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Access to office staff for medication adjustments

The $250 annual fee does not include the $75 fee that you pay the Florida health department for your medical marijuana card. It also does not include the cost of your medication.

Medical marijuana has improved the quality of life for many Florida seniors. They are able to sleep better and engage in activities with minimal pain and discomfort. Contact Neurology of Cannabis today to make an appointment with Dr. Stein and find out how medical cannabis can change your life for the better.