A majority of states in the US currently have medical cannabis programs. Many states have recreational programs as well. For those looking to use cannabis for physical or mental health concerns, the question becomes whether or not you need a cannabis prescription. After all, if you live in a state like California, which allows for both medical and recreational use, why would it matter if you have a prescription or not? Here’s what you need to know.

medical cannabis

What Is a Cannabis Prescription?

One thing to keep in mind is that a cannabis prescription isn’t technically a prescription. Doctors can’t write a prescription for cannabis that you can get filled at a pharmacy. Instead, a doctor can recommend that you use medical cannabis. They give you a written recommendation explaining that they believe you will benefit from cannabis as a part of your treatment plan. 

How Do You Get One?

If medical cannabis is legal in your state, you can get a recommendation for it from a licensed doctor. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your particular ailment needs to be on the list of illnesses that can legally be treated with medical cannabis. For instance, in the state of California, conditions include:

  • Arthritis
  • AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Seizures
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain
  • Severe nausea

If your doctor does write you a recommendation for medical cannabis, you can then get it filled at a dispensary. Filling a medical recommendation requires visiting a medical dispensary. You will need to provide your recommendation and show your license or state-issued ID. You can obtain a medical cannabis card, but it’s not necessary. 

What About Medical Cannabis for a Minor?

In some cases, children may qualify for medical cannabis. Minors will need an adult over the age of 21 to pick up their products at the dispensary. The adult either needs to be a parent or a caregiver who has significant responsibility for managing the child’s health and well-being. 

Why Would You Need It?

If you live in a state like California, which allows both medical and recreational cannabis, you may be wondering why you might need a cannabis recommendation in the first place. While you can visit a recreational dispensary to get a product to help ease your pain, anxiety, or some other ailment, what you’re doing is essentially “self-medicating.”

With medical cannabis, your doctor can perform a thorough evaluation to determine if you might benefit from a recommendation. During the exam, they may be able to diagnose your symptoms, which can help them determine the best course of treatment for you. That treatment plan may involve a cannabis recommendation.

If you’re thinking about a cannabis recommendation, your first step is to make an appointment with your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t recommend it (or doesn’t know a lot about it), doing a little research online or talking to friends could help you find a knowledgeable physician who can help you get what you need to find relief.