Do You Still Need a Medical Marijuana Card in California? 2020 and Beyond

still need california medical marijuana card

Recreational cannabis has been legal in the state of California since 2018 so some people believe a California medical marijuana card has no benefits. Previous to that momentous date, however, the state legalized medical cannabis use in 1996.

Now that you can just walk into a dispensary to purchase cannabis, however, you might be wondering whether the medical marijuana program still has a purpose today. Do you still need a medical marijuana card in California in 2020 or even 2021 if you have a qualifying medical condition?

Well, that depends on your unique needs.

Medical Cannabis Has Always Been Available to Patients Over 18 Years of Age

woman in chronic pain

You must be 21 or older to purchase recreational cannabis in California. This includes smoking, vaping, or eating edibles. You’ll need to show an ID that indicates your age. 

However, medical cannabis has always been available as a treatment option for anyone over the age of 18 with a qualifying condition. This still stands true today. The medical board believes this is a viable treatment for the symptoms of many conditions, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Migraines
  • Severe nausea
  • Arthritis 
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures (including epilepsy)
  • Cancer
  • Persistent muscle spasms (including multiple sclerosis spasms)
  • Cachexia
  • AIDS
  • Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that affects someone’s ability to conduct major life activities.

If you’ve been diagnosed with one or more of these qualifying conditions and are interested in medical cannabis as a treatment option (but you’re under the age of 21), you’ll need to apply for a medical marijuana card.

You Need More Cannabis Than the Monthly Recreational Maximum

If a small amount of cannabis can help relieve your symptoms, it may not be necessary to apply for an MMJ card. However, some patients struggle with chronic pain and severe symptoms. They need to consume more cannabis to find relief.

If this is the case for you, the maximum amount of recreational cannabis you’re allowed to possess may not be enough to treat your condition effectively. You can only possess 28.5 grams of recreational cannabis plant material and 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. With a medical marijuana card, on the other hand, you can possess as much cannabis as is required for your treatment. Therefore, getting a medical ID card may be what you need to improve your health outcomes and quality of life.

Your Treatment Cost Is Too High

medical cannabis as a treatment option

Particularly when you need a larger amount of cannabis to treat your condition effectively, the cost of this natural remedy can add up. 

While you might be able to simply walk into a dispensary and purchase an ounce of cannabis flower, it will be expensive to do so. 

With a medical ID card, however, you can offset the cost of your treatment a bit. That’s because medical cannabis patients don’t pay sales tax on cannabis products. The state’s medical marijuana program acknowledges the fact that healthcare can be expensive, particularly for those who suffer from a chronic, long-term condition. 

Compared to recreational stores, medical dispensaries are also more likely to provide cost-saving discounts, coupons, and loyalty programs as well.

You’re Looking for a Greater Variety of Cannabis Strains

You may have tried out virtually all the strains at your local dispensary without effective relief of your symptoms. This can be frustrating, but it’s a problem that can be easily solved with an MMJ card. If you have a qualifying condition, your doctor will know which strain is best to treat your specific symptoms. You’ll be able to find that strain at a medical cannabis dispensary. Medical marijuana cardholders have access to more dispensaries with higher quality products and a greater variety.

You Want to Grow More Plants at Home

cannabis plant - home cultivation

Just like you can purchase and possess more cannabis with an MMJ card, you can also grow more plants at home. You won’t be limited to six mature plants at a time. Removing the restrictions faced by recreational users can help you either grow as much cannabis as you need for your treatment plan or enable you to grow a greater variety of strains to better meet your medical needs. 

It may seem like a hassle to get a doctor’s appointment and a prescription, but it’s actually really easy to get your MMJ card. Just book an appointment with Heally, and we’ll connect you with a doctor in California for a telehealth start the application process. You’ll soon be in possession of your medical marijuana card and be able to reap the benefits described above.

Interested in using cannabis as an alternative treatment? Get your cannabis card with a licensed physician for $50.

Interested in using cannabis as an alternative treatment? Get
your cannabis card with a licensed physician.