It’s becoming more and more common for people living with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression to find relief through medical marijuana use.
But how do you obtain medical marijuana for depression?
Each state has its own specific regulations regarding medical marijuana access—some more strict than others. However, in most states, the process boils down to:
This article breaks down the legal nuances of getting a medical marijuana recommendation and offers practical advice on how to use medical marijuana to treat depression.
Before diving into the legal aspects of getting medical marijuana, it’s helpful to understand how impactful medical cannabis can be for people living with depression.
But these treatments come with limitations. For instance, it can take time to find the right dosage of antidepressants, and you may only start to feel their effects after days or weeks of taking them. It can also take a while to find the right therapist and start noticing positive changes.
For many patients, medical marijuana can either:
Regardless of how you use it, marijuana can provide a new, powerful pathway to real recovery rather than symptom management.
One woman writing for The Washington Post, Diana Whitney, says that medical marijuana was able to pull her out of her depressive episode and help her reconnect with her family. There is a lot of stigma around using medical marijuana to manage depression, but Whitney asserts that medical marijuana’s benefits vastly outweigh living with her debilitating symptoms.
Most states currently allow medical marijuana use—38, to be exact. But their laws vary in many ways, including which medical conditions qualify and the types of marijuana allowed for use.
Some states have very comprehensive medical marijuana guidelines, meaning they allow for:
Other states are more strict: many limit the definition of legal medical cannabis to high CBD, low THC products.
No matter how strict your state’s laws may be, the process for getting a medical marijuana recommendation typically includes:
In most states, the medical marijuana recommendation process is slightly different than the typical prescription process.
In order to obtain medical marijuana, you must first speak to a doctor who’s certified to give medical marijuana recommendations in your state. It’s critical to review your state laws before choosing a provider—not all states allow every provider to recommend medical cannabis. Your state may have a registry of providers to choose from.
Once you find a provider, they’ll talk through your symptoms, lifestyle, and needs to determine whether medical cannabis is a good match for your treatment plan. Your symptoms and health history are a key part of this decision—many states only allow medical marijuana recommendations for people with qualifying conditions.
Some of the most common conditions on these lists include:
Interestingly, you’ll find that depression isn’t on many states’ lists of qualifying conditions. However, you may still qualify if:
The best way to find out if you qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation is to meet with a certified professional who’s an expert in your state’s specific rules.
At TeleLeaf, we make this process simple and convenient. You can meet with one of our doctors from the comfort of your own home to find out if medical marijuana is right for you.
After meeting with a provider and receiving a medical marijuana recommendation, the next step varies based on your state’s process. You’ll need to either:
If your state requires a medical card application, this is what you’ll use at the dispensary to verify your legal right to purchase cannabis.
In some states, your doctor may be able to help you with your application or submit one on your behalf. The best way to find out is to meet with a provider to discuss the process.
Once you receive your recommendation or your medical card, it’s time to find a dispensary that will be able to provide you with what you need.
In most cases, you’ll be able to choose medical marijuana products on your own. Your provider may recommend specific strains, cannabinoids, or administration methods to try, but products are typically the patient’s choice.
There are a few ways to find a dispensary near you:
Medical marijuana is a blanket term for a wide variety of different products. If you’re using marijuana to manage depression, you may find that some products work better for you than others.
And, if you’re wary about getting high or smoking, your state may offer options like:
Your medical marijuana doctor and the budtender at your dispensary can help you find the right choices for you. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to bring it up with them and try something new.
When beginning to use medical marijuana for depression, it can be helpful to establish a consistent routine. Some things to consider are:
If you’re having trouble establishing a routine, or you’re looking for suggestions, your medical marijuana doctor will be an excellent resource.
The road to obtaining medical marijuana can be confusing and tricky to navigate. That’s why TeleLeaf is streamlining the recommendation process—so you can start feeling better, faster.
We’ve been in your position; we know how draining it can be to find effective treatment options for depression, PTSD, anxiety, and chronic pain. That’s why we’re so committed to helping you find the relief you deserve.
Schedule an appointment today and meet with one of our many certified medical marijuana providers for a same-day recommendation.
National Library of Medicine. Treatments for Depression.
National Conference of State Legislatures. State Medical Cannabis Laws.
NORML. California Medical Marijuana Law.
TeleLeaf. What Are the Top Qualifying Medical Conditions for a Medical Marijuana Card in Louisiana?.