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How do I become a medicinal cannabis patient? 

Laws may vary from state to state; however the common denominator appears to be that each new patient should provide current medical records that document the existence of one of the conditions for which medical cannabis is authorized under their state law. You should obtain your medical records from your specialty physician yourself (your doctor may charge a records fee) and submit them to your cannabis medication recommending doctor.  Your cannabis recommending doctor may require only the “Chart Notes” from your past two or three visits, documenting your cannabis medication qualifying condition. You may also authorize your doctor to fax or mail your medical records to your cannabis medication recommending doctor. Have them include any lab reports, relevant x-ray or MRI reports (not the actual film).  Your name and phone number should be included for proper processing.

In states where cannabis is legal, doctors should consult with patients solely about their qualification for medicinal cannabis medication; therefore, all potential cannabis patients should have at least one other current physician.


Sometimes it may take a few days after receipt of your new cannabis recommending medical doctor’s staff to review and process your medical records. Therefore, if you do not hear from your doctor’s office, you probably should contact his/her office.

What conditions qualify for medicinal cannabis?

Illnesses approved for medical cannabis treatment vary by state. In California, for example, the following conditions qualify for cannabis medications: Chronic pain, anorexia, nausea, AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, migraines, hepatitis, arthritis ,chronic muscle spasms and other spastic disorders such as  ALS, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders such as epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, Crohn's disease, cachexia and the inability to eat, or patients who have medical treatments for  any other chronic or persistent medical symptoms that either substantially limits the ability of the person to conduct one or more major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  


How much does it cost to get a medicinal cannabis permit?

The costs vary from state to state but it ranges from $15 to $200 a year. Many states charge a fee to sign up for the state medical cannabis registry. In Oregon, it is $200 a year. In Colorado the state’s fee is $15. California and Washington have no state registry so there is no fee.

Once I have a medical cannabis permit how do I get my medication?

In some states medical cannabis laws permit patients with a doctor’s authorization to grow, process, and use medical cannabis. Caretakers can be designated to grow and transport medical cannabis for patients that are too ill to do it themselves. In many states, non-profit co-operatives produce the cannabis which can then be purchased at licensed clinics and dispensaries. 

Can patients with state medical cannabis permits travel out-of-state? 

Only Montana accepts medical cannabis permits from other states.  In all other states you can be arrested for carrying your out-of-state medical cannabis.

What can I expect at my appointment?

Procedures will differ from state to state. Below is an outline of general requirements for a medical exam when applying for a state cannabis identification card.


(1)   First you should provide your medical records to document the existence of a condition for which medical cannabis is authorized under the state law. Only “chart notes” from your past two or three visits maybe required. They should include lab reports, X-rays, or MRI reports and your name and phone number should be included for proper processing. Your doctor’s office can fax your medical records directly to your recommending physician or you may send them yourself.

(2)   During your appointment, your state identification card should be copied so that your new medical records and files will be created.

(3)   You should be given questionnaire forms to fill out and you should view a 20 minute orientation video informing you about the state’s medical cannabis program. 

(4)   This should be followed by a non-invasive exam by an RN or NP.

(5)   An MD who specializes in cannabis treatment should determine your final status.

(6)   You should be provided with the necessary forms to obtain a medical cannabis permit.

(7)   Before leaving you should receive a Now What? form which explains what you should do when you leave and how to renew your permit next year.

(8)   Copies of your forms and records should remain on file at the clinic or doctor’s office.

(9)   Clinic staff should answer all remaining questions you have about medical cannabis and should collect your clinic fee which can range from state to state from $75 to $250.

To learn more about medical cannabis, you might consider attending one the Pharmacology University seminars. Our programs are recommended to help you understand the process in your particular state. In most states, caregivers should guide you in your quest to become a patient.

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