First legalized more than a decade ago, medical marijuana use in New Jersey helps many state residents cope with illnesses and conditions that would otherwise cause devastating symptoms.
Although New Jersey was one of the first states to adopt such legislation, the law isn’t as broad as many people think.
As a registered medical cannabis provider with offices in West Orange and Bayonne, New Jersey, James M. Lee Jr, MD, helps patients at Orange Orthopaedic Associates manage chronic diseases with medical marijuana treatments tailored to their needs.
In this post, he reviews the medical conditions that qualify for the program, as well as the steps you need to take to be considered.
Qualifying for medical cannabis
Medical marijuana has multiple uses, including the management of chronic pain and disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system. Marijuana contains potent chemicals called cannabinoids, which are similar to chemicals your body produces.
These chemicals may help with such symptoms as:
- Nausea, including nausea associated with cancer treatment
- Muscle spasticity
- Appetite loss in people with cancer, AIDS, and other diseases
Recent research suggests marijuana may also slow tumor growth or destroy certain cancer cells.
Our state’s medical cannabis program has a fairly long list of conditions that qualify people for medical marijuana. Currently, the list includes:
- ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
- Anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Menstrual pain called dysmenorrhea
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Skeletal muscular spasticity
- Migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Opioid use disorder
- Positive status for HIV and AIDS
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
Additionally, a provider who’s registered with the state medical marijuana program must make the diagnosis.
Applying for the state’s program
Having a qualifying condition is important, but it’s just one part of the process. In addition to being a state resident, there are other steps you need to take to qualify for medical cannabis.
One of the key steps is to work with a medical provider who is registered with the state program. Only registered medical providers like Dr. Lee can prescribe medical marijuana.
It’s not just enough to visit a registered provider once, either. You need to maintain a bona fide relationship with the provider. That means your provider must oversee your care during treatment.
It also means that before receiving a medical marijuana prescription, you must have visited the provider for your condition several times.
Once you meet these qualifications, you apply through the state. We provide you with a document that includes a reference ID number and a registry ID number. You also need to meet other criteria listed here on the state’s website. Follow the instructions closely to avoid delays or denial.
New Jersey legalized recreational cannabis use in 2021. Although it may be tempting to visit one of the state’s legal dispensaries to obtain marijuana to ease your symptoms, don’t.
We prescribe medical marijuana in specific doses aimed at helping you maximize its medical benefits while avoiding unpleasant side effects. Plus, when an experienced provider oversees medical marijuana use, it minimizes the potential health risks.
To learn more about New Jersey’s medical marijuana program or to learn if you might qualify, book an appointment online or over the phone with Orange Orthopaedic Associates today. We have offices in West Orange and Bayonne, New Jersey.