Oklahoma Medical Marijuana 101
Getting started using medical marijuana can be daunting. Not only is there a lot of information, there are different types of users of marijuana. There is stoner culture, there are people seeking medical relief, there are people that just like to party. Now that Oklahoma has enacted their medical marijuana program and doctors and dispensaries are open for business, here is your no nonsense guide to get started using medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
The process can't be simpler. There are only 3 steps:Step 1: Get a Doctor's Recommendation Step 2: Apply for your License
Step 3: Begin Medicating
Step 1: Get a Doctor's Recommendation
Some people are nervous going to the doctor for marijuana. There is no reason to be! Your doctor wants you to be happy and healthy. In general, an evaluation with your doctor will last 20 minutes or so and will include a review of your medical history and why you are interested in medical marijuana. It is important to do some reading for why cannabis might be effective for you. Below you will find some information originally published by the National Academy of Sciences on the benefits and risks of usage.
Determine your reason for medical marijuana
Medical Marijuana Benefits
Medical marijuana has been available for decades, which means long term studies are available to help educate potential users. New studies are coming out each month, but there is already a lot of available information on the documented therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
One of the strongest, most repeated findings of studies on medical marijuana is its ability to treat chronic pain. Oklahoma is greatly impacted by the opioid epidemic in America. Shifting from harmful, dangerous, and addictive opioids to cannabis is safer, effective at managing pain, and some former opioid users have reported that cannabis decreases opioid specific cravings, helping alleviate some addictive properties of opioids.
The treatment of pain is the tip of iceberg - medical marijuana has been documented to do so much more! Other benefits cannabis has been clinically proven to provide:
- Improvement in sleep quality
- Improvement of PTSD symptoms
- Better outcomes after traumatic brain injuries
- Treatment of nausea (including chemo patients)
- Increases in appetite
- Decreases in symptoms of social anxiety
- Improvements of multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms
- Improvements in Tourette's Syndrome symptoms
- Decrease in inflammatory cells in your body
This list is not conclusive. There is more. Additional benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds present in cannabis, are being discovered and validated all the time.
Medical Marijuana Risks
There are many long term studies that have found the benefits of medical marijuana, but as with any medicine, there are some risks to be aware of. Cannabis itself is not dangerous, but it can trigger or worsen existing conditions.
There is evidence to suggest that frequent smoking of cannabis use can worsen respiratory issues and bronchitis. However, occasional use has been shown to improve airways.
There is minor evidence that cannabis use can be dangerous to those at risk for heart attacks.
A final risk factor is that there is evidence of an increase in schizophrenia and other manias as consumption of cannabis increases, with heavy users more at risk than occasional users.
Final Thoughts on Usage
It is up to each individual to consider the benefits and risks of medical marijuana. Take the time to speak with your doctor and determine if medical marijuana is right for you. I am a big believer in it. Some people react badly. If you and your doctor believe medical marijuana can be beneficial, you should try it. Don't go overboard and don't be careless. Millions of people find benefit in daily usage, and chances are you can too.
Find Your Doctor
Oklahoma has many medical professionals that believe in the healing power of cannabis. Find a medical marijuana doctor near you, read their reviews, and see who appeals to you.
There are several factors to consider when finding the right medical marijuana clinic. If your ability to travel is decreased, there are many doctors that do virtual visits - Dynamic Medical Wellness in Oklahoma City can provide a recommendation without you ever leaving your house. Every clinic can help you submit your paperwork to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), but some clinics like Tulsa Higher Care Clinic offer a white glove service that does everything for you. If price is a concern, Evolved Health and Wellness in Broken Arrow has some of the lowest prices in the state. In Oklahoma City, Therapeutic Health Clinic often has same day appointments available.
Consider all of your options and preferences - price, location, reviews, and ease of access. There are many doctors in the state that want to help you.
Step 2: Apply for your License
Gather the required information
To apply for your medical marijuana license, you will need a few additional pieces of information. These include:
- Personal Information (your name, address, and contact information)
- Your signed doctor's recommendation (this will be provided by the clinic)
- Proof of Oklahoma residency (such a driver's license)
- Proof of Identity (a driver's license can also work for this)
- A full-face, color photo (A white background is required. The photo should be like a passport photo. Walgreens or CVS can help you with the picture.)
- If you are on SoonerCare or Medicare, you can provide your card or enrollment information for decreased application fees.
- You can see full requirements at the OMMA website
Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Application Process
Go to the OMMA application page (https://omma.ok.gov/apply-now) and create an account and submit your information. You will get an email confirming you submission.
The state of Oklahoma requires a $100 application fee (or $20 if you're on SoonerCare or Medicare). The free is non-refundable, but if you meet the requirements - a valid doctor's note and Oklahoma residency - you can't be denied. Your application can still be rejected if the instructions aren't followed, but after you provide the correct information, you will be approved. If your application is rejected at first, read the instructions again clearly and resubmit. If you're having problems, contact your recommending physicians office or you can call OMMA directly at 405-522-6662. You do not have to pay the fee again if your initial application is rejected. You can resubmit for free.
Important: You will not receive another email after you resubmit your information. Instead, your status on the OMMA website will be "Submitted". This means you are good to go.
You will receive an approval email as applications are processed - usually 7-14 days afterwards. You will receive your patient card in the mail shortly afterwards. Some dispensaries will sell to you with just your verification email and proof of identity, some will require you to have the actual card. Verify with your dispensary to make sure.
Your patient license is valid for 2 years, at which point you will need to reapply.
Step 3: Begin Medicating
Find A Dispensary
Oklahoma has over 800 approved dispensaries. You will find several near you. You can find many here on OKKush.org - Find a medical marijuana dispensary. Some will have products and even online ordering available, but most dispensaries carry the same classes of products.
Choose Your Method
Cannabis can be consumed by smoking it, vaporizing it, eating, or drinking it. The one difficulty in using medical marijuana can be finding the correct dosage. Eating and drinking cannabis are the best way to ingest a set dosage, but eating and drinking can take some time for the effects to begin (up to several hours), and cannabis that is consumed this way effects you differently than smoking or vaporizing.
For first time users, I recommend going to a dispensary and buying what's called a pre-roll. This is an already rolled joint that you can smoke like a cigarette. They are inexpensive, usually costing between $5 and $20. Don't be intimidated by the size of the pre-roll, light it up and take 1 or 2 inhales and put it out. Wait 10-15 minutes and let the effects come on slowly. When I began smoking, I was very meticulous and counted the time between smoking and feeling high. 10 minutes or so was all it took before the effects began.
An alternative to a pre-roll is buying a vaporizer pen and cartridge. This will cost more ($20-80), but will last longer, and won't force you to inhale smoke. Instead, the cannabinoids in the weed are vaporized, and you're breathing in the cannabinoid vapors that are produced. You will still exhale smoke, but it's not from combustion like it would be with a joint.
Create a Comfortable Environment
Find a nice space in your house and put on your favorite tv show or album. Take a couple hits and wait. The minute you stop thinking about it, is when you'll notice you feel different. Some people like to medicate with friends, some prefer to do it alone. Get comfortable and enjoy yourself, medical marijuana is supposed to bring you relief, not stress over what’s happening.
What To Expect
Marijuana has a way of making it feel like time slows down. The little things that get in the way of me experiencing life seem to float away. Distant sounds might being to feel closer to you. Smells might be stronger. If you're watching television, you might notice little things that happen - body language, background activity, it can be anything.
Time slowing down can be a double edged sword. Some people report their heart racing after consuming cannabis, which can begin a trigger of anxiety or stress. If this happens, remember to stay calm, it's a common side effect of marijuana, and it's not dangerous. Don't focus on the effects of the marijuana, get lost in the moment.
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