Getting a Medical Cannabis Card is easier than ever before. Medical cannabis used to be a handful of secretive home growers, trying to provide much-needed natural relief to those suffering from debilitating conditions which modern medicine fails to properly treat. Now, marijuana as medicine is publicly and scientifically accepted modern medicine for treating a massive range of ailments. Wider acceptance means access is easier and there’s no need to rely on street dealers to get the medicine you need.
The pandemic saw an explosion of consumer interest in legal cannabis, with U.S. consumers splashing the cash and setting records in the process. As dispensaries were deemed to be essential businesses in several states and Americans remained in month-long lockdowns, legal sales across the U.S. boomed to $17.5 billion, an astounding 46 percent increase from the year prior.
As sales increased, so did the demand for access to medical marijuana cards. A consultation with a physician is required in order to get approved for a card but with Covid-19, many patients were unable to get to a physician’s office safely. Enter telemedicine: online services which connect people to doctors using their cell phone or computer.
With the rise of telehealth services and places like Leafwell that link potential patients and certified cannabis doctors during the pandemic, people all over the country became medical patients.
But can you still get your medical card online? Huge portions of the U.S. are getting vaccinated and are preparing to open back up for summer 2021, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get a medical card of your own via telemedicine. This article is going to break down the process of getting your own card online, what you’ll need to do on your end, and how to make sure your meeting with a telehealth cannabis doctor goes well!
First Steps To Getting Your Medical Card Online
Just like with most other things, it’s not smart to go into this process blind. If you’re looking to get a medical cannabis card of your own, you should start by doing some simple research.
Just for starters, you’ll need to be diagnosed with a qualifying condition from the state you’re currently living in if you want to be able to get a card of your own. Since federal legalization is somehow still not a thing, that list of which conditions are different state-by-state.
According to a recent Leafwell survey, the five most common qualifying conditions across the 15,000 medical patients they asked were anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, PTSD, and depression.
So it’s important to check and see if your particular ailment is on your state’s list of qualifying conditions. Once you know that, you can go into a conversation with your certified medical cannabis doctor prepared and armed with as much information as possible.
The Growth of Telehealth Services
While the telehealth industry has been growing steadily for a few years now, the unexpected and rapid growth of the COVID-19 pandemic really kicked things into high gear. According to the CDC, 1.6 million telehealth encounters happened between January and March 2020 alone.
When you pair the low supply of U.S. physicians with the risk associated with spending long amounts of time with other people over the past year or so, the idea of meeting with your doctor via video call made sense for everyone involved. That fear of in-person interaction at the height of the pandemic was a core driving force behind the telehealth services boom. According to an International Virtual Reality Healthcare Association survey, a massive 71 percent of Americans simply didn’t want to visit a doctor’s office in person. As a result of that fear, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 154 percent increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020, compared to the same dates in 2019.
That’s where resources like Leafwell come in handy. Whether it’s facilitating connections with a doctor to renew a medical card or setting up a consultation to see if medical cannabis can help treat the symptoms associated with a qualifying condition, platforms like Leafwell that introduce certified cannabis doctors to patients have been busy on the telehealth end for the last year or so.
As the costs associated with in-person healthcare continue to rise year by year, more and more young people are embracing the idea of meeting with their doctors through the screen. Nearly half of all Millennials said that having the option to utilize telehealth services is “extremely or very important.” As long as you’re willing to put in the time to establish a good relationship with your telehealth doctor, you’ll make the process of getting your medical card online as quick and easy as possible.
States That Opened Up For Medical Cannabis Qualifications via Telehealth
The following states bought in measures to allow for online medical cannabis consultations during COVID, where previously such facilities were not available or were far more limited in scope:
- Florida (renewals only)
- Massachusetts (previously online renewals only)
- New Hampshire (previously online renewals only)
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
The following states have had telehealth available for medical cannabis consultations before the COVID-19 crisis:
The following states allow for telemedicine qualification for follow-ups (renewals), but initial appountments have to take place in-person. This has not changed during the pandemic:
Are Any States Stopping Medical Marijuana Consultations Via Telehealth?
Arkansas and Colorado have rolled back their original allowance for medical marijuana consultations via telehealth. Pennsylvania, Florida and Pennsylvania may follow suit, but there is some pushback! Whether or not some states will keep online consultations for medical marijuana a permanent feature of their medical marijuana program, we cannot say for definite.
The Bottom Line for Telemedicine and Online Medical Marijuana Qualification
As medical cannabis gets more and more popular and accepted by the mainstream, we’re going to see the number of medical cannabis patients steadily grow. Even for those in states like Colorado, Massachusetts, and Michigan that have mature and well-developed legal markets, patients should still go through the process of getting a card of their own.
Getting a medical cannabis card has never been easier. Public opinion is widely in favor of medical cannabis (and cannabis generally) being easily available and legalized nationwide, telehealth has exploded into popularity over the past year or so, and people’s interest in getting safe, reliable, and consistent access to clean, green medicine to treat painful conditions like neuropathy without the need for often harmful, synthetic, and addictive opioids.
However, there are some states where telemedicine laws, put in place by Emergency Orders in response to Covid-19 are due to expire. Arkansas has already rolled their access back and states such as Pennsylvania, Florida and Louisiana are toying with the idea of stopping telemedicine too.
For now, you can still get a medical card of your own online in many states in the US, and we recommend you do so as soon as possible before access is further restricted.