Minors Apply Medical Marijuana Card
Having a medical marijuana card gives one access to the medical marijuana program in their state. The MMJ card is an identification document that shows that a person has a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana treatment and having met all other criteria, they have been allowed to access this form of treatment in their state.
37 states have legalized cannabis for medical use. This means that adults in these states who have qualifying conditions can access medical cannabis products from legal dispensaries. Adults (above 18 years) can apply for a medical marijuana card after they have been reviewed by a doctor who can prescribe medical marijuana treatment.
In most recreational states, the legal age limit for accessing adult-use marijuana is 21 years. However, when it comes to medical marijuana, anyone above the age of eighteen is considered to be a bonafide adult and can therefore apply for an MMJ card without seeking parental consent.
Medical Marijuana Card: Age Restrictions
Minors with conditions that qualify for medical cannabis treatment can access the medical marijuana program within their state. However, they will need to have a caregiver who should be 18 or 21 years old (depending on the state) and should be significantly involved in caring for them. A minor is considered to be anyone who is below 18 years old.
The criteria of qualifying for medical marijuana as a minor will vary from state to state. In most states, the child will need to have a severely debilitating condition such as severe seizure disorder, cancer, or needing palliative care. The minor will need recommendations from at least two physicians and approval from a pediatric specialist before they can be approved for cannabis treatment.
Here are some age restrictions by state:
- Alaska: Caregivers must be at least 21 years old
- California: Caregivers must be at least 18 years old
- Colorado: Caregivers must be at least 18 years old; one caregiver can take care of up to 5 minors
- Connecticut: Caregivers must be at least 18 years old
- Maine: Caregivers must be at least 21 years old
- Maryland: Caregivers must be at least 21 years old
- New York: Caregivers must be at least 18 years old; one caregiver can take care of up to 5 minors
Why Are Children Allowed to Use Medical Marijuana?
While some concerns have been raised regarding the long-term effects of cannabis on minors, medics acknowledge that in some cases, this might be the most suitable treatment option.
For example, in 2018 the FDA approved a CBD-based drug (Epidiolex) for the treatment of severe childhood seizures. Minors who have not responded to at least two conventional treatments may be considered for medical cannabis treatment. Minors facing life-threatening conditions may also be considered for the same.
The screening process for minors is very strict. It involves their primary care provider, a pediatrician, and their legal guardian who have to come to an agreement that other treatment options have not worked and the child, therefore, deserves a try with medical cannabis. Minors receiving medical marijuana treatment must be closely monitored to ensure that should there be any adverse events they will be arrested in good time.
What is the Role of Parents?
The parent’s role is to reassure the minor that cannabis treatment is safe and will help them feel better. Parents need to help the doctors by ensuring that they are consistent in offering the medication and monitoring for signs of improvement or deterioration.
Minors with difficult-to-treat or life-threatening conditions can benefit from medical marijuana therapy. Unlike adults, minors need the consent of their legal guardians to access a medical marijuana card that will enable them to get treatment. Caregivers play an important role in helping minors get access to medical cannabis and comply with the treatment. At the end of the day, the collaboration between the minor, caregiver, and physician’s team is needed for a good outcome to be achieved.