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  • The State News, Michigan State University

    Students and experts discuss medical marijuana use

    By Hannah Holycross,

    2024-05-09

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2XXiHp_0suoNXyh00

    Although cannabis is commonly known for its recreational use, 'lighting up' has more uses and benefits than people may know.

    Radiologist and co-owner of Michigan Holistic Health, Dr. David Crocker, is a firm believer in the benefits of using marijuana to treat certain medical conditions, more specifically chronic pain.

    "The most common qualifying condition that is set by state law is severe and chronic pain," he said. "It doesn't even have to be severe at this point."

    There's a list of around 20 different qualifying conditions that would permit a person in the state of Michigan to receive a medical marijuana card. Crocker said that besides pain, other common conditions he sees are psychological ones such as PTSD, autism, OCD and physical ones such as cancer and chronic nausea.

    So how does one go about getting a medical marijuana card?

    Crocker said that scheduling an appointment with a holistic health center like his will do the trick.

    "Our office operates just like any other medical practice. Someone would call us by phone, showing an interest, and then we would do what it takes to get their medical records in-house," he said.

    Crocker said that after they have reviewed the person's medical records, they will then have an appointment with the person, either by phone or in-office, to discuss their condition and educate them about cannabis. They will then put together a packet with the paperwork required to file for a card in Michigan and then once the application is completed and mailed to the state, the person should have a card within the next couple of weeks.

    Crocker said that any MD or DO-certified doctor can write a recommendation for a patient to obtain a med-card but said that a stigma still exists in the medical community surrounding marijuana.

    "A lot of doctors just weren't that much about it and were not really comfortable with making that call," he said.

    Crocker said that oftentimes patients will come to his office having gotten a referral from their original doctor who didn't feel comfortable making the decision as to whether they should be utilizing medical marijuana.

    He said that a contributing factor of this is the fact that marijuana isn't really discussed much in medical school, particularly the benefits of using it, so sometimes doctors don't feel comfortable answering questions and giving advice on dosing and usage to patients.

    "I think a lot of it is just ignorance and unwillingness on the part of the medical profession. Not ignorance in a negative way, they just don't know a lot about it," he said.

    Despite this, Crocker said that as time has gone on and following the approval for the use of recreational marijuana in Michigan in 2018, there has been more acceptance of its use in the medical community.

    "As a whole, the medical community is embracing it more," he said.

    Although a person can't use marijuana recreationally until they are 21, one can still receive a medical card if you are 18 years or older.

    A minor can only receive a medical card under certain circumstances and requires signatures from two doctors, as well as permission from a parent or guardian who is willing to manage and control the dosing.

    "It's really available to any age medically given the acceptance of it," Crocker said.

    He said that he really only sees minors use it for serious conditions such as cancer or incurable conditions that respond well to cannabis.

    Before it was allowed to be used recreationally, Crocker said that he saw a lot more people come in requesting cards due to that being their only option to get access to cannabis. Recently he has seen a decline because nowadays when people feel they need it, they can just go to a dispensary and get it themselves rather than having to go through various appointments and paperwork to get a card.

    There are still benefits to having a medical card, Crocker said. Crocker said that medical marijuana goes through more thorough testing for contaminants than recreational marijuana and that taxes on medical marijuana are lower, giving financial benefits to those with a card.

    He also said that when those with a card travel to a state where recreational marijuana is illegal, they can still legally acquire it.

    Crocker also wanted to emphasize that those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes don't have to experience a 'high' to receive some of the medicinal benefits.

    "You don't have to be high in order to get the benefits, which I think was a concern of some of our more elderly patients," he said. "At the right dose, edibles can make you more relaxed, both mentally and physically, without really making you high and I think that's kind of where medical guidance comes into play."

    Kinesiology sophomore Rayna Freeman suffers from chronic headaches, as well as nausea, which led her to eventually file for a medical marijuana card.

    Freeman's process of obtaining the card was similar to what Crocker described. She filled out a form and had an over-the-phone appointment with a doctor.

    During the appointment, she said that she described the issues she was having. She said that after the appointment she had to show that her parents consented to her having the card and then immediately after received an email that she could use at dispensaries until her card came in the mail a month later.

    Freeman has had her medical card for almost two years and said that it has helped to ease the headaches and nausea that used to impact her daily life.

    She said that she would recommend it for anyone who suffers from anything similar but said that when the card expires she probably won't renew it as she will be of age to purchase marijuana recreationally.

    Creative advertising sophomore Haven Youngblood got her medical marijuana card in a similar way.

    Having had issues with insomnia and anxiety and having knowledge of the benefits of medical marijuana from her aunt, who works as a dispensary owner, Youngblood decided to go through the process to obtain a card to use it medically.

    "It was really easy because my aunt owns a dispensary so they had a doctor that partners with them and I was able to go on a phone call with him and talk about the reasoning of why I wanted to get one," she said.

    Youngblood has also had her medical card for around two years and says that it has definitely helped her to sleep and ease her anxiety.

    "I'd recommend one for people under 21 who feel like it might benefit them and help them with any issue they might experience," she said.

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