The passing of Amendment 2 in November of 2016 has expanded the legal use of medical marijuana in the state of Florida. Prior to Amendment 2, medical marijuana could only be legally used by those with a terminal illness and these individuals were only allowed to purchase marijuana with a very low THC component.
Amendment 2 now allows those suffering from 10 different conditions to schedule an appointment with an approved and licensed medical marijuana doctor to get a full medical history and determine if the use of medical marijuana is recommended in their specific case. If they receive a medical recommendation, they can then apply for a state-issued ID card and use the card to purchase medical marijuana in the form of oils, creams, flowers, or tinctures for their personal medical use.
Wondering if you qualify to use medical marijuana under the new Amendment 2 laws? Here are the 10 conditions that qualify:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is most often seen in those who have experienced severe abuse or trauma or who have been in military conflicts. Symptoms of PTSD can include extreme anxiety, night terrors, insomnia, inability to have social interactions, flashbacks, depression, and more. A debilitating condition, PTSD can be difficult to treat by normal medical means and those who experience it often need years of therapy paired with prescription medications that can have detrimental side effects.
Recent research has shown that those who have PTSD symptoms may have lower levels of anandamide in their systems. Anandamide is one of the chemical components in cannabis, which makes medical marijuana an especially effective treatment for those with PTSD. Medical marijuana that is used in addition to therapy or counseling can be life-changing for those with PTSD and can lead to them regaining quality of life and emotional wellness.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Caused by high intraocular pressure, glaucoma develops when the optic nerve becomes damaged. Lowering the eye pressure is key to effectively treating glaucoma. The cannabinoids in medical marijuana can lower the pressure by 25 to 30 percent, thus effectively reducing the chances of developing the disease. For those who have already developed glaucoma, medical marijuana can help lessen the pain and nausea that is often associated with the condition.
Caused be electrical disturbances in the brain, epilepsy is a seizure disorder that affects more than 50 million people across the globe. The disorder can be caused by a tumor, infection, brain damage, environmental toxins, metabolic disturbances, or unknown factors. The seizures brought on by epilepsy are either focal or generalized. Focal seizures affect only one area of the brain and patients tend to remain conscious when they experience them. Symptoms include temporary paralysis, changes in vision or changes in mood and result in no memory or cognitive impairment. Generalized seizures affect the entire brain and result in more severe symptoms with the worst being grand mal seizures that cause loss of consciousness, tongue-biting, loss of bladder control, and possible memory impairment.
Seizures can affect individuals of any age and it is estimated that 34% of childhood deaths are due to accidents that occur during seizures or the seizures themselves. The non-psychoactive chemical constituent in medical marijuana, CBD, has proven very effective in treating epilepsy and is believed to both reduce the number of seizures experienced as well as their severity.
Cancer remains one of the deadliest killers in the United States and its many different forms can affect everyone from the very young to the old. It has long been known that medical marijuana can help cancer patients with pain, nausea, and dizziness that can occur as side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Those undergoing cancer treatments not only find symptom relief from cannabis, but they can also benefit from the mood-boosting and relaxing properties of medical marijuana as they deal with their disease.
More and more research is also being done on the cancer-fighting properties of medical marijuana. It is now being proven that cannabis can slow the growth rate of various cancers including those that affect the prostate, breast, and lung. It does this in a number of ways including preventing cancer cells from spreading and adhering to healthy new tissue, halting the development of new blood vessels to tumor cells, and aiding in the ‘suicide’ of unhealthy cancer cells.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
A degenerative neurological disorder, ALS is a devastating diagnosis. Those who are diagnosed with ALS have a life expectancy of two to five years and can expect ever-worsening symptoms of wasting, muscle weakness, paralysis, loss of speech and impaired swallowing and breathing.
Medical marijuana has been proven to be effective in treating many of the symptoms that come with ALS. This includes anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects that can help with pain, muscle relaxing properties that can reduce spasms, and a euphoric effect that can counteract depression. In addition, medical marijuana can stimulate appetite and help dilate blood vessels. New research has also shown that medical marijuana in the form of concentrated cannabis oil can actually slow the progression of the disease and increase the lifespan of those diagnosed with this illness.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a disease that compromises the immune system and kills protective white blood cells. This allows other harmful infections to infiltrate the body and it’s common for those with HIV to develop meningitis, tuberculosis, cancers, and pneumonia. If HIV progresses, it then leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
AIDS is characterized by infections and a low CD4+ T cell count and is the result of the progression of HIV. Those who have developed AIDS are usually treated by a high active antiretroviral therapy known as HAART, which is a mixture of medications to slow the incurable disease’s progression. Unfortunately, HAART can take a huge toll on the body and result in exhaustion, weakness, neurological complications, chronic pain, anxiety, and loss of appetite that often leads patients to abandon their treatment to regain some quality of life.
Those who use medical marijuana in their AIDS treatment protocol are over three times more likely to continue their life-prolonging HAART treatment and regain the quality of life they desire. With its anti-nausea, appetite-inducing, and pain reducing effects, medical marijuana can increase overall wellness and assist an AIDS patient in dealing with their daily medications.
A neurodegenerative autoimmune disease that affects the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord, multiple sclerosis or MS causes the body’s own immune cells to attack healthy neurons. These attacks result in scar tissue that prohibits the neurons from firing correctly and sending correct signals to the rest of the body. This incurable disease affects millions of people around the world and symptoms include widespread pain, inflammation, loss of voluntary muscle control, and gastrointestinal distress.
The use of medical marijuana can improve brain function and improve many of the symptoms associated with MS. Inflammation is one of the major culprits in MS, and the active components in cannabis called cannabinoids are effective anti-inflammatory agents. Both the CBD and THC in marijuana deactivate the immune system and can stop the harmful attack on the central nervous system and induce healing. Cannabinoids also promote neurogenesis, which creates new brain cells and has neuroprotective properties that combat oxidative stress and protect the nerves and tissues.
Crohn’s is an incurable disease of the gastrointestinal system that can result in intolerance to food, abdominal pain, and a compromised immune system. The anti-inflammatory and relaxing effects of medical marijuana can help ease symptoms and reduce the inflammation associated with the disease. This can halt the disease’s progression and help Crohn’s sufferers regain some of their quality of life.
A degenerative disease whose major symptom is uncontrollable tremors and loss of voluntary muscle control, Parkinson’s Disease is thought to be caused by an impaired release dopamine. Medical marijuana is known to stimulate the release of dopamine which can slow the course of this disease and help ease the symptoms that Parkinson’s patients suffer from.
If you suffer from one of the above 10 diseases or conditions, you may qualify to take medical marijuana to treat symptoms and assist in your overall treatment plan. For more information, schedule an appointment with a licensed medical marijuana physician. If you would like more information on getting your medical marijuana state-issued ID card, please visit our website.