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How to Get an MMJ Card for Your Child

Everybody’s heard about adults getting a medical marijuana card for themselves. Seniors in particular have made a huge splash in the news, especially as they’re the fastest-growing demographic of new cannabis users. However, mention cannabis for kids, and people will think, “Are you crazy?” Yet, kids suffering from cancer, epilepsy, and all sorts of other conditions are often given highly-addictive pharmaceuticals, so why should we refuse something that could not only cure them but is also far less dangerous as well?

Plus, anyone who’s seen stories like that of Jayden David’s (of Jayden’s Journey) will come to realize that, yes, there really is serious medical potential with medical cannabis and CBD. Medical marijuana is not just a “stepping stone” to legalized recreational use, and the medical applications are very real. Yes, for some people, getting access to medical marijuana is literally life-and-death. Parents who are looking to get their child medical marijuana can do so by the following this guide. This is not a comprehensive, state-by-state guide, but will give you a good, general idea of how to get a medical marijuana card for your child regardless of the state you are in.

Download Free Guide to Pediatrics and Medical Marijuana
Table of contents
  1. Can a Person Under 18 Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card?
  2. Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Card for My Kids via Telehealth Using Leafwell?
  3. What is a Caregiver?
  4. How Do I Become a Caregiver?
  5. Do I Have to Be a Caregiver for My Child to Get an MMJ Card for Them?
  6. Does My Child Have to Be On the Physician’s Call for Medical Marijuana as Well?
  7. How to Get a Medical Weed Card as a Minor
  8. How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card for Kids Cost?
  9. What ID or Documentation Will I Need for a Medical Cannabis Consultation with My Child?
  10. Will My Child’s Primary Care Physician Be Informed of Their Medical Cannabis Qualification?
  11. Finding the Right Medical Marijuana Doctor
  12. Can Caregivers Grow Cannabis?
  13. Finding the Right Dispensary
  14. Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Children? Finding the Right Product for My Child
  15. Applying for Your Child’s Medical Marijuana Card – Overall

Can a Person Under 18 Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card?

Put simply, yes, if your child fulfills the qualifying criteria in the appropriate state. They will need to have a qualified Caregiver, who in most states must be aged 21 or over and have significant responsibilities in caring for their child. They will usually need to fulfill some Caregiver criteria.

As minors can be particularly sensitive to THC, sometimes the qualifying criteria are often stricter in many states, and in some require two physicians’ certificates/recommendations, and/or a pediatric specialist to qualify the patient. Some states will only allow cannabis qualifications for children if they are suffering from a particularly severe condition. Epilepsy, cancer, and terminal illnesses are some examples.

Cannabis plant next to some prescription pharmaceuticals - opioids.
Seriously sick children can be prescribed addictive opioids and benzodiazepines. Surely medical marijuana is a safer alternative?

Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Card for My Kids via Telehealth Using Leafwell?

Of course! We even have pediatric specialists specifically to help parents and guardians with medical marijuana for their children.

GET A CARD FOR YOUR CHILD

What is a Caregiver?

A caregiver is someone who has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a person who has been diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition. You do not need to be related to a person in order to be their caregiver. An attending physician is not a caregiver.

How Do I Become a Caregiver?

This depends on the state. You will need to fill out a form, which will ask you questions about you and the person you are looking after, and in some cases any past medical training you may have had. You will then need to complete a Caregiver Core Certification Course, which includes around about 12 or more hours of basic training and the foundations for beginning work as a caregiver. You must also prove that you have been the main designated caregiver for the child throughout their lives. Again, this depends on the state, but there are some similarities across the states.

You will be given a unique Caregiver’s ID no. upon completion of the form and course, which you will need to put on the application for a medical marijuana card. Becoming a caregiver for conditions like dementia may require you to complete more training. Patients can have a maximum of one caregiver. Caregivers must be at least 18 years of age. Caregivers also have their criminal record history checked. In some instances, those who were arrested or have a criminal record due to non-violent cannabis offenses may have their record expunged.

Do I Have to Be a Caregiver for My Child to Get an MMJ Card for Them?

Yes. Unless the child is legally emancipated, they will need to have a qualified caregiver in order to get a medical marijuana card and physician’s certificate or recommendation.

 

A child needs to have a caregiver in order to qualify for a medical marijuana card. A picture of a mother holding and kissing her child.
From https://www.piqsels.com/en/public-domain-photo-swyxm. Public Domain Picture CC0.

Does My Child Have to Be On the Physician’s Call for Medical Marijuana as Well?

Yes. The physician will need to see your child in order to speak to you and examine them if necessary.

How to Get a Medical Weed Card as a Minor

Essentially, you will be applying on the behalf of someone else, and the process is much the same. You will need to fill out your child’s application form (oftentimes it will be a specific application form for minors), a caregiver form, and where appropriate an application form indicating if you wish to grow cannabis. You will need to provide identification and proof of residency for both yourself and your child. You may need two physicians’ certificates or the opinion of a pediatric specialist.

The general steps for getting a medical marijuana card, whether it’s for you or for your child, are:

    1. Register online and speak to a licensed physician. Please have appropriate ID for you and your child, as well as a working camera, speakers and microphone on your smartphone, tablet or computer so you can speak and see the doctor.
    2. Get approved and receive your physician’s medical cannabis certificate / recommendation. Your certificate/recommendation will be emailed to you.
    3. Register with the state Department of Health’s medical marijuana program. This is sometimes done before step 1 above, or alongside step 1 during your appointment with the physician. You will need to fill out a minor’s medical marijuana card form for your child, and a caregiver’s application for yourself.
    4. Receive your child’s medical marijuana card and your caregiver’s card.
    5. You can now shop at a dispensary in your state for appropriate cannabinoid-based medication for your child. You may need to take photographic ID with you as well. Your child will not be able to enter the dispensary with you.

How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card for Kids Cost?

This varies by state and the number of years the state allows qualification or (Illinois allows for up to three years’ qualification, for example). There are also usually some extra things that are needed that can increase costs compared to an adult’s medical marijuana card, including the caregiver’s medical cannabis identification card and the need for a second physician’s opinion. You can visit our Ultimate Guide to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card for more general information.

The total cost of a medical marijuana card for a child can be between approximately $100 and $500 for an annual certificate and medical marijuana card, depending on state. We try to keep medical cannabis cards for children relatively affordable where we can here at Leafwell. Prices are subject to change.

What ID or Documentation Will I Need for a Medical Cannabis Consultation with My Child?

You will need ID both for yourself and for your child. There are some differences from state-to-state, the general rule of thumb regardless of state is that you will need:

      • Photographic ID of yourself – state-produced ID card, passports or driver’s licenses are usually acceptable.
      • Your child’s birth certificate.
      • Proof of address from the last two/three months. This can include a rental or mortgage agreement, utility bills (gas, electric, water, broadband bill – not cell phone), or correspondance with a state department (e.g. the DMV).
      • You will likely need to have a criminal background check.
      • 2 passport-style photographs of you and your child.
      • Any appropriate medical history. This can include progress notes, medication lists or medical images.
Download Free Guide to Pediatrics and Medical Marijuana

Will My Child’s Primary Care Physician Be Informed of Their Medical Cannabis Qualification?

As will be noted on your child’s medical records, your child’s primary care physician will be informed. It is also appropriate to tell your primary care physician if you intend to use medical cannabis for your child in order to prevent any contraindicated drug prescriptions or treatments. If you need a primary care physician for your child and you are in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, or Illinois, we here at Leafwell may be able to help!

Medical marijuana and children. Mother playing with child.
You can get an MMJ card for your child with Leafwell.

Finding the Right Medical Marijuana Doctor

Some doctors may be a little reluctant to recommend medical marijuana for a child. However, any parent coming to medical marijuana is usually at their wit’s end, looking for anything that could help or save their child, especially when so many prescription medications have nasty side-effects, and may not even work. Fortunately, Leafwell can see patients through telemedicine. This means we can recommend patients online through telehealth – meaning he can reach those who may be finding travel difficult. We are very sensitive and aware of the needs of parents providing MMJ for their children.

Can Caregivers Grow Cannabis?

Essentially, being a caregiver gives a person similar rights to patients within regards to their ability to grow cannabis. In some states, they will be allowed to grow, or grow if a particularly helpful variety is not available at the dispensary. Caregivers also have limits on how many patients they can grow for. In some states, a specific license is required in order to legally grow medical marijuana.

In California, Caregivers can grow up to 12 mature plants, depending upon their proximity to a dispensary. Specific strains of cannabis not grown by the local dispensary can be grown by the Caregiver. Caregivers cannot use cannabis for themselves unless they are registered medical marijuana patients themselves.

GET AN MMJ CARD FOR YOUR CHILD

Finding the Right Dispensary

This is perhaps the most difficult part of the journey. You can have a valid medical marijuana card for a child and everything, but some dispensaries may be reluctant to hand over medical marijuana to parents treating their kids. Perhaps understandably so, considering the legal implications. However, most well-run dispensaries will have no problems with providing appropriate products for a child who requires medical cannabis.

Finding the right dispensary may very well be a case of trial and error, but you can make things a little easier for yourself by doing plenty of research and asking others you might know for advice. If you are active on social media there are several parents groups based across the US who are providing their children MMJ. These support networks can be a great help.

Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Children? Finding the Right Product for My Child

Seriously sick children can be prescribed any number of harsh and even addictive medications, including opioids nad benzodiazepines. These have a number of short- and long- term negative effects. Medical marijuana is comparatively well-tolerated by the human body, and there is no risk of deadly overdose, even for children.

With this being said, care must still be taken when it comes to giving any medication to children, including cannabinoid-based ones. We know that, as THC affects CB1 receptors, it is psychoactive. THC can have a negative impact on the developing brain, especially if regular, large doses are used. If THC is required, then it is wise to microdose it.

However, psychoactive amounts of THC needn’t be used for medical benefits. Even low doses of THC (1 – 3 mg), which have little psychoactive effect (but can have some), can be used for its anti-nausea, anti-tumor, painkilling and sleep-promoting properties. Some children with cancer may need higher doses of THC. Even if this is not ideal, THC is still far dafer and more tolerable compared to many medications.

For children, other cannabinoids like CBD, CBDV, THCA and CBC may be more useful, as they do not have the same level of psychoactivity as THC, and are unlikely to cause any long-term changes to the brain, as they are not affecting CB1 receptors in the brain in the same way as THC.

Applying for Your Child’s Medical Marijuana Card – Overall

For those completing a medical marijuana card application for someone else, it is much the same process as completing it for themselves – they just have to confirm that they’re applying for someone else and give their Caregiver ID number on the form. Getting a medical marijuana card for someone under the age of 18 shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as children suffering from conditions requiring medical marijuana tend to have vast, detailed medical records proving their illness and lists of medications given to them.

As the Primary Caregiver, you will be given your own Caregiver Card. In California, Caregivers can grow up to 12 mature plants, depending upon their proximity to a dispensary. Other states have different grow limits. In some states, a caregiver can only grow specific strains of cannabis not grown and supplied by their local dispensary. Caregivers cannot use cannabis for themselves unless they are registered medical marijuana patients themselves.

Download Free Guide to Pediatrics and Medical Marijuana
Booking a consultation with a doctor for a physician's recommendation or medical cannabis certificate and medical marijuana card with Leafwell.
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Written by
Black & White Photo of Dr. Lewis Jassey, Medical Director & Pediatrician at Leafwell
Dr. Lewis Jassey - Medical Director - Pediatric Medicine

Dr. Lewis Jassey has been a pediatrician over the last 25 years, run a practice of 15,000 patients, and been on staff at five major hospitals for over two decades. Dr. Jassey has carved a niche for himself successfully working with patients on the spectrum, as well as patients with a variety of mental health issues. He lectures on a national level, with expertise in pharmacogenetics and pharmacology.

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