Medical marijuana is one of the most talked-about, debated, heated, and controversial topics in the history of healthcare. Many people have questioned just how safe medical marijuana usage is. It is well documented that medical marijuana can alleviate pain and help with many health conditions. Cannabis, in its purest form (without crude extracts), is shown to be a dramatically safer alternative compared to opiates that have strong addictive potential.
Smile Designs of Olney is a patient-focused medical facility that believes in patient dignity, individuality, and choice. Our mission is to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic with a safe, non-addictive alternative. We are licensed providers for medical marijuana recommendations, and we’d like to shed some light on the topic.
What is Medical Marijuana?
People have used marijuana for medicinal purposes for up to 6,000 years. The earliest proof we have of people using marijuana to treat ailments is from 2737 BC in China! Medical marijuana (also called medical cannabis) is marijuana and related compounds that physicians can recommend to their patients to treat certain medical conditions. Many states in the US have passed laws that allow for the use of medical marijuana for certain disorders where medical marijuana has been shown to be of benefit. Medical marijuana can be administered through a variety of methods, including liquid tinctures, vaporizing, transdermal patches or sprays, pills, and even edible formulations. The marijuana plant contains over 100 compounds called cannabinoids and each cannabinoid affects the body differently. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the primary cannabinoids that provide the greatest therapeutic effect. Cannabinoids, in particular, are similar to chemicals in the body that control movement, memory, pain, and appetite.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical in marijuana that produces its psychoactive effects. This chemical has been proven to also be a mild pain reliever and sleep inducer, as well as an antioxidant.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary compounds extracted for medical marijuana. CBD has been proven to relieve convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, cough, congestion, and nausea, and it inhibits cancer cell growth.
What Diseases or Conditions Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat?
There are many conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, anxiety, or severe insomnia that can be successfully treated with medical marijuana with few or no side effects. In fact, any condition or disease that is severe, that has not responded to other treatments, and that can “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” with medical marijuana can qualify for a written certification. The State of Maryland has determined that the following diseases or conditions automatically qualify for the use of medical cannabis:
- Wasting syndrome
- Severe pain
- Chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
What Makes Cannabis for Medical Use so Beneficial?
Experts say that cannabis can reduce chronic pain as well as health issues such as vomiting and nausea that come from chemotherapy as well as stiff muscle pain that comes from Multiple Sclerosis. Research also suggests that cannabinoids can reduce anxiety, stimulate appetite, and help with weight gain for those affected by cancer and AIDS.
Why All the Controversy?
THC is a chemical found in marijuana and synonymous with recreational marijuana usage. THC is what produces the “high” feeling that causes heated debates and discussions. People often have concerns that the plant can become addictive. However, when a medical professional regulates the dosage, then issues concerning physical dependence are minimal. It should also be noted that part of the appeal of medical marijuana is that it is safer than opiates because it’s far less addictive. A sad reality is that after taking pain-relieving opiates, many people find themselves addicted. For those who cannot take Advil or Aleve due to kidney issues, cannabis is an alternative.
What are the Steps to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card?
The process is quite simple and efficient. For a simple and straightforward guide on how to legally obtain medical marijuana, click here. Step 2 of the process outlines that the patient must receive a written certification from a provider registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCM), which is where we can help! Please note that your reason behind needing this type of treatment must be legitimate, such as severe or chronic pain, seizures, or other qualifying medical conditions. After registering and obtaining a valid written certification from Dr. Lomke, patients are able to visit licensed Maryland dispensaries to purchase medical cannabis. While there are several dispensaries throughout the State of Maryland, Sweetspot Dispensary is conveniently located just minutes down the road from our Smile Designs of Olney location!
How Much Does it Cost to Get Medical Marijuana in the State of Maryland?
Registering as a patient with the MMCC is free. The cost of the product is determined by the dispensaries and depends on how much you get and what formulation. If you decide to join Dr. Lomke’s concierge practice, the cost of the appointment and letter is $175. Each recommendation is valid for 1 year. Once expired, patients can be recertified for $99. While this fee must be paid at the time of the visit, Dr. Lomke will generate an invoice that you may submit to your insurance company.