Medical Marijuana Treatment Plans: Why Do They Exist?
The cannabis plant has undergone a long, intrepid journey throughout the history of the Americas; what was once known as a fear-inducing plague on society is now wielded as one of the most powerful medicines known to mankind. Its first use was dated back to ancient Mesopotamia, then spread to ancient China, India, and Africa, as well as some Viking communities. Cannabis was not only used for medicinal and spiritual purposes during this timeframe; the hemp derived from the plant (which has much lower levels of THC than the flower itself) was used to make everything from foods, oils, rope, clothes, and one of the first rudimentary forms of paper. The hemp we know and use today now has over 50,000 recorded uses and could essentially generate clean energy that trumps the output level of modern-day fuel without polluting the environment.
In the 1800s, an Irish doctor named Sir William Brooke O’Shaugnessy found that cannabis helps to mitigate the effects of nausea and vomiting, as well as cholera pain in patients. By the late 1800’s, cannabis extracts were being sold in doctor’s offices and pharmacies for medicinal purposes. It was routinely used as a painkiller, but was also listed as a common active ingredient in many different medications. Its most popularized nickname, “marijuana” (introduced to the English language as early as the 19th century), stems from a domestic intent to popularize the Mexican-Spanish term. This would historically prove to inspire a collective xenophobia and push citizens to view the plant as dangerous, and is alleged to have been purposefully perpetuated by vested interests of the West in order to keep cannabis consumption down. It was particularly effective during this time because, in the early 1900’s, Mexican citizens began to flee their country due to the Mexican Revolution and were being unfairly perpetuated by Americans as immigrants who were taking their jobs. This was only enforced by the Great Depression that occurred shortly after Mexican citizens had emigrated to the U.S. And, because smoking cannabis was somewhat introduced to Western culture by this community of Mexican-Americans, Western culture demonized the plant by referring to it domestically as “The Mexican Menace”. It was around this time that 26 states easily passed laws prohibiting the purchase, sale, or cultivation of the entire cannabis plant.
In other parts of the world, cannabis was and remains still a tradition, and is commonly ingested or used in religious practices. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (spelled with an ‘h’) served as the catalyst for a profound dissent into cannabis prohibition; Harry Anslinger, commissioner for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was the one to publish this act. It imposed a sales tax on hemp and marijuana while simultaneously linking the plant to homicidal mania and suggesting its primary users were African American and Latino immigrants, even linking teen pregnancy and biracial relations to marijuana use at one point within the text. Riddled with racist connotations and anti-marijuana propaganda, its message resonated with American people – and law books – for a couple of centuries. In 1936, the film Reefer Madness came out, which depicted cannabis users as psychotics who were causing the degradation of a productive society. Less than ten years later, the New York Academy of Medicine published a report saying that cannabis was an extremely useful medicinal plant that could be indicated for several ailments and health conditions. This was largely ignored, and possessing marijuana became a severe criminal offense in the U.S., especially for people of color.
Today, Medical Marijuana treatment plans have been indicated for use in several states across the U.S. to date. Missouri’s program began back in 2019 (though Amendment 2 was passed by the voters in November 2018) and is run by the Department of Health & Human Services (DHSS). While each state’s MMJ program is intrinsically different, they all abide by a common set of rules. Physicians are generally certified to indicate the use of Medical Marijuana for a patient, as it is a highly specialized field and the plant itself is still being aggressively researched to understand all of its healing properties. All MMJ states require a patient to apply for a card and/or physician’s recommendation in order to proceed to a Medical Marijuana dispensary and purchase medication, or cannabis. The physician’s initial recommendation for that patient is then expounded upon by the “budtenders” (aka dispensary staff) who work with the patient to narrow down particular products that will target their symptoms or diminish the effects of negative side effects from something like chemotherapy or chronic pain. Sometimes, an MMJ physician will also recommend a particular cannabinoid, strain, or dosage, also this is less commonly done today due to the fast-paced trend of the MMJ industry. With more products lining dispensary shelves, there are incidentally more and more options available to patients, and indicating one unit of medication over others could potentially handicap one’s ability to explore other options that could likely benefit their condition/s in other ways.
Some states have adopted both Medical and Recreational Marijuana programs, resulting in a higher quality, facility-certified, and lab-tested product provided by Medical Marijuana dispensaries that reside within Recreational states. Unfortunately, there is a growing concern among recreational cannabis communities over the quantities of pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides, used in the cultivation of cannabis crops. When a patient is undergoing a chronic, terminal, or otherwise severe health condition, they will turn to Medical Marijuana dispensaries as opposed to Recreational ones for one critical reason: Medical Marijuana is being grown, processed, tracked, and tested for medicinal purposes, meaning it is intended for use as a medicine. Recreational dispensaries will not be able to provide the same quality of product consistently, and do not necessarily intend to.
For Missouri residents with any one (or a combination) of the 20+ qualifying conditions specified, a Medical Marijuana recommendation can be provided by a certified physician. Missouri is unique from the approved/qualifying condition standpoint in that “A chronic medical condition that is normally treated with a prescription medications that could lead to physical or psychological dependence, when a physician determines that medical use of marijuana could be effective in treating that condition and would serve as a safer alternative to the prescription medication” is acceptable. Net, a medical marijuana doctor in Missouri has full authority to approve you for a medical marijuana recommendation for virtually any symptom or condition so long as s/he determines cannabis will help improve/support your ailment. It is HIGHLY likely you qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation in Missouri!
The cost to do so varies somewhat depending on what licensing office you choose; Missouri Green Team’s new patient intake fee is only $139, and further discounts are applied for those who have veteran or indigent status. Once medical records are provided of a qualifying condition, the process is simple and quick; patients will receive their completed medical marijuana recommendation form the day of their appointment. As soon as you, the patient, submit the official physician recommendation form to DHSS, you will be approved within 72 hours! Upon which, you have the ability to purchase medicine at any of the dispensaries throughout Missouri!
States that indicate cannabis for medical use expect patients of the treatment plan to remain active by seeing their certifying physician at least once a year in order to continue using medical cannabis, although this varies greatly from state to state. Without an active physician’s recommendation, the patient will not be able to visit the dispensary or use cannabis legally; thankfully, renewing your medical marijuana recommendation is quick and painless with the Missouri Green Team; we are available 7 days a week, on-demand and you can get approved from the comforts of your own home via Telemed!
Reasons Why Your Medical Marijuana Recommendation Application May Get Denied
Not everybody that applies for a Medical Marijuana recommendation will get one. Certain factors can affect an individual’s chances of getting a Medical Marijuana recommendation, and vary depending on the location or state of their pending application. While cannabis is still federally illegal, states have been allowed to make choices independent of these laws in order to implement treatment plans for specific cases or groups of patients. Additionally, there is a seperate set of guidelines put in place for MMJ caregivers. A caregiver is a person who can buy, transport, possess and administer Medical Marijuana to a registered Medical Marijuana patient. This person is designated by the patient to care for their needs. If you or someone you know is planning on applying for a Medical Marijuana recommendation, or if your application has been rejected, below are some of the possible reasons why it may have been denied.
Your Condition Contradicts The Use of Medical Marijuana
The first step to getting a Medical Marijuana (MMJ) recommendation is scheduling an appointment with a Medical Marijuana doctor. The certified MMJ physician will then go through your health history to decide whether you qualify for a Medical Marijuana recommendation or not. In some cases, the Medical Marijuana doctor may decide that you do not qualify for a Medical Marijuana recommendation based on the details of your health history. The decision may be to protect the patient from some of the side effects of Medical Marijuana. In some instances, mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or psychotic disorders can be worsened by the use of products containing THC. Substance abuse disorders are also a particular area of concern, and certified physicians are essentially tasked with making the executive decision of whether Medical Marijuana will hinder or help in such an instance.
Patients who have their application denied for this purpose may find it frustrating to be informed that their condition will not be benefited by MMJ; however, it is recommended that they have a thorough conversation with the certified physician in order to understand that, in some cases, Medical Marijuana can be more dangerous than it is helpful.
With some conditions, such as COPD or lung cancer, it will be identified by the certifying physician that the patient not smoke cannabis as a method of inhalation or ingestion. These details are always acknowledged and appraised during the appointment and often detailed in the actual written recommendation that is issued for the approved patient. Dispensaries will be able to review and follow these instructions anytime a patient makes a purchase or checks into their establishment.
Documentation Provided Was Insufficient or Outdated
Another reason why your Medical Marijuana card application may be denied is that you may have filled the forms out incorrectly or provided insufficient information for the application to proceed. Granted, the process and documents required may appear overwhelming; however, your health is worth it. Patients should ensure that they are paying close attention to every step, and that each document provided is the right one. In many cases, the application process will require you to fill in basic information about yourself while also requesting you to upload certain documents. Documents required for Missouri’s Medical Marijuana Program include:
- Missouri Driver’s License or State ID
- Medical Records Regarding a Qualifying Condition
- Signed HIPAA Form & Patient Attestation Form
A select few of the qualifying conditions listed are also expected to have a timeframe of care established within the medical records themselves. For example, chronic pain is defined as pain that is either chronic or intractable; medical records spanning a time period of at least six months are generally expected by a certifying physician, especially if this is the sole condition the patient is being approved under. Medical records can come from a patient portal, medical institution, personal physician, urgent care, a hospital that you have visited, a chiropractic or physical therapy office, or a doctor’s referral.
Most Medical Marijuana licensing offices will assist a patient in retrieving medical records from where they originate; however, a patient needs to first know where they are coming from and the name of the physician that they are under the care of. A patient will be asked to verify with their medical office that they still have records on file for conditions that have not been diagnosed recently, as most medical offices only keep pertinent records of a patient on file for a period of seven years. If a patient finds that their medical records are no longer retrievable from the institution with which they originated, steps can be taken to either be re-diagnosed or re-assessed. This process would take place independent of the MMJ office, as it is a conflict of interest for a certified MMJ physician to both diagnose and certify a patient for Medical Marijuana.
You Have a History of Drug-Related Violent Crimes
Medical Marijuana cards & recommendations are regulated to ensure that only the people who need them the most have access to it. Persons who have a history of drug-related violent crimes may be unable to obtain a Medical Marijuana card or recommendation because of their history. Such patients may be denied recommendations for the fear that Medical Marijuana may cause them to relapse and harm themselves or others.
Medical Marijuana doctors may also choose to reject a patient’s application for a Medical Marijuana recommendation if they are below the age of consent and cannot produce documents indicating parental consent. To learn more about Medical Marijuana, Medical Marijuana recommendations, and how to obtain one, visit https://www.missourigreenteam.com/ or give us a call at (580) 606-6741!
Missouri Green Team
211 North Broadway
St. Louis, Missouri 63102