Medical marijuana, or pot as it is commonly known, can be used to treat conditions that range from chronic pain to epilepsy. And if you live in the District of Columbia (D.C.), you can get medical weed with relative ease and without fear of being arrested for possession. The only thing standing between you and a legal high is your D.C. identification card!
You can apply for a medical marijuana card in the District of Columbia if you have one of these qualifying conditions: cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (M.S.), spinal cord injury with spasticity or intractable pain that is not relieved by standard treatment or medication. If you have a qualifying condition, you can apply for either an oral or written certification from your primary physician.
The oral certification is a brief statement from your doctor that you have one of the qualifying conditions—it’s as simple as telling them, “I certify this person has ____ condition.” On the other hand, the written certification involves more paperwork: it’s signed by both you and your physician with all sorts of information about your diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment plan.
Medical Marijuana or Medical Cannabis uses a marijuana plant or its chemical components to treat certain medical conditions or diseases.
The DC Council has legalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, and adults can grow six plants in their homes. How does this affect your ability to get medical weed?
People with a chronic illness that might be aided by cannabis have no problem getting legal, medical weed in Washington, D.C., but those just looking for a recreational high will have to look elsewhere. Medical Marijuana is legal in D.C. if you have one of these qualifying conditions:
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis (M.S.)
- spinal cord injury with spasticity or intractable pain that is not relieved by standard medical therapies or surgical treatments
- Any terminal illness with a prognosis of less than 12 months
- The conditions listed in the law are all chronic and debilitating diseases that cause significant pain and other symptoms.
However, keep in mind that you cannot get Medical Marijuana if you have any condition for which your doctor can prescribe a more regulated drug – such as opiates, for example.
So if you need Medical Marijuana because of chronic pain from an injury or illness that isn’t on the list above – it’s not likely to help with your symptoms enough to get a recommendation and card.
Medical marijuana is available in many forms:
Cannabis dried flowers are the most common form of medical marijuana and can be smoked (via a pipe, bong, or joint), baked into food items such as brownies, cookies, etc., vaporized via an electronic device like a pen vape-pen) or used in edibles such as candy bars).
These come in the form of hash, kief, wax, or shatter (a type of clear amber glass-like substance) extracted from the cannabis plant using ice water.
Cannabis edibles (both sweet and savory)come in many forms, such as chocolate bars, gummy bears, etc., which can be consumed on their own or baked into food items.
A tincture is an alcohol-based liquid extract made from cannabis by soaking it in near-boiling water and then filtering out the plant material to leave behind a concentrated liquid form of marijuana that can be used orally, topically, or sublingually (under the tongue).
Cannabis topicals are lotions, balms, and ointments that can be applied to the skin. These products usually contain a minimal amount of THC or CBD in their ingredients. As a result, they don’t affect brain function but instead provide localized relief for muscle soreness or inflammation (e.g., arthritis).
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
The active chemicals in medical marijuana, known as cannabinoids, have the ability to regulate our moods and can help relieve symptoms of various medical conditions.
1) Medical marijuana has been found to be effective in treating chronic pain, muscle spasms/spasticity (e.g., due to multiple sclerosis), nausea from chemotherapy treatments, or other illnesses that cause severe vomiting, weight loss, anxiety, sleep disorders, and other mood conditions.
2) Medical marijuana has also been found to help people who are addicted to recovering from opiate addiction by reducing cravings for heroin or prescription painkillers like oxycodone. The best part is that medical marijuana cannot be overdosed on, so you can’t become dependent in the way you might if taking pharmaceutical medications.
3) Medical marijuana can be ingested in a variety of ways. For example, you may smoke it, vaporize it, or eat foods containing medical cannabis oil (e.g., butter).
How to Get Medical Marijuana in D.C.
Patients must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition. The qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other seizure disorders. In addition, some states allow chronic pain sufferers who don’t meet the criteria for other conditions to also qualify for medical marijuana.
Patients must obtain a written certification from their physician (a D.C. licensed doctor of medicine, osteopathy, podiatry, or dentistry). The qualifying prescription should include the patient’s diagnosis and be issued no more than 90 days before your application date.
Buying Medical Weed in D.C.
You need to be a D.C. resident with an approved recommendation from your doctor before you can apply for the card. This allows you to purchase marijuana at one of our dispensaries legally, so it’s important to make sure that this is something they are willing and able to do in advance of coming into any store (or calling us ) with any questions.
You then need to stop by the Department of Health – Office of Medical Marijuana Use at 2020 14th Street N.W. and fill out a D.C. medical marijuana card application form and submit one passport-style photo for approval (alongside your social security number, D.C. driver’s license, or I.D. card). You will then be contacted via email, text message, or phone call with an appointment time to come back into the office for fingerprinting and a photo.
The process can take anywhere from two weeks up to six months, so you’re going to want to plan ahead! You will then receive your medical marijuana card in the mail. Next, you have two options when it comes to buying weed: You can either go straight into one of our local dispensaries or order through a delivery service such as Eaze and use their app on your phone. The former will require you to show your medical marijuana card, while the latter will only ask for a signature.