Things to Be Aware of Before Using Medical Cannabis
How Cannabis Use Impacts Day to Day Life
There are different strains of medical marijuana. The main classifications you usually find are sativa, indica and high CBD strains. Depending on which strain you choose will affect how cannabis impacts your everyday life.
- Sativa marijuana strains have more stimulating side effects, making them better for day time use. However, because many are high in THC, they can make you feel intoxicated.
- Indica is preferred by patients who need to relax or sleep better at night, as this strain generally causes intense relaxation.
- High CBD strains can treat a variety of medical conditions with little to no psychoactive side effects.
Cannabis Medication Delivery Methods
While most people associate marijuana with smoking, you can use cannabis medications in many different ways. Dosing is not a precise science and varies depending on the patient, preparation and delivery method.
Before choosing how you would like to use your medical marijuana treatment, talk to your doctor at Spine Institute of North America. There are several ways to consume cannabis, including options far healthier than smoking. Some of the most common delivery methods you can choose from include:
- Topical medications
- Edibles and teas
- Oil capsules
Potential Side Effects and Risks Associated With Medical Marijuana
Cannabis, like any medical treatment, has potential side effects and risks associated with its use. Effects tend to vary depending on what type of strain you medicate with. However, the most common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
When using sativa strains, patients sometimes experience mild anxiety, paranoia or panic attacks. Indica strains, on the other hand, can lead to a depressed mood or feeling unmotivated.
Some of the potential risks of marijuana use include a raised heart rate, increasing the risk of a heart attack in those already prone. Smoking cannabis is associated with breathing issues, cough and the risk of lung infection.
Even when used medicinally, marijuana can be addicting. So, patients should only use treatments as directed by their doctor.
NJ State Laws About Medical Marijuana
Federal law has classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug. This means that the drug does not have any accepted medical use and also has a high potential for addiction and abuse. This is why your doctor cannot just write you a prescription for medical marijuana. However, each state is allowed to determine whether cannabis can treat medical conditions.
In 2010, New Jersey’s state government approved and established The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. This removed criminal penalties on a state-level for those approved to use and possess medical cannabis.
You must be accepted into the state’s medical-marijuana program to receive medical marijuana treatments in New Jersey. Then you have to apply for an identification card issued by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services that allows you to purchase and use medical cannabis. However, the law states that patients can only obtain a limited amount of marijuana from state-monitored dispensaries. Patients physically unable to obtain their own cannabis treatment can designate a registered caregiver to assist them.
In 2019, the New Jersey State Assembly and the Senate voted in favor of a bill that expanded access to qualifying patients. It also removed several common barriers related to obtaining medical marijuana treatments.
How to Become A Medical Marijuana Patient in New Jersey
If you feel that your medical condition qualifies you to become a medical marijuana patient in New Jersey, there are a few steps to go through first. You can make an appointment at Spine Institute of North America if you would like help understanding this process.
- You must be a New Jersey state resident with proof of residency. This could be your state-issued ID card or another government-issued ID along with proof of residency such as a bank statement or bill.
- You must have an established, bonafide relationship with a doctor who is registered with the state to recommend medical marijuana treatment. Doctors at Spine Institute of North America are approved by the state as recommending physicians.
- Your doctor must diagnose you with one of the qualifying debilitating medical conditions.
- Once your physician has certified your condition, you must register with New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program. You can complete this process online, and it includes a fee.
Find Out How We Can Treat Your Chronic Pain at Spine Institute of North America
If you’ve been experiencing pain for some time, you can count on the team at Spine Institute of North America to find a pain management solution that works for you.
If pain is impacting your life and keeping you from doing the things you love, schedule your appointment with one of our highly trained and compassionate physicians. Medical marijuana is just one of the minimally invasive treatments we may recommend, so you can get back to living your life to the fullest.