Adults can make decisions for themselves, and medical marijuana laws empower them to access medical marijuana.
But what happens with children? After all, the ailments that usually require medical marijuana treatment do not discriminate between adults and minors; diseases like treatment-resistant seizure disorders, cancer, terminal illness, and many other conditions affect children too.
In states where recreational marijuana is legal, adults can rely on widely available marijuana for their health needs, but unfortunately, minors can’t buy recreational marijuana.
More so, when it comes to chronically-ill children and medical marijuana, participating in a medical marijuana treatment program is essential to medical cannabis access.
So, can minors get medical cards?
Medical Marijuana Card: The Compulsory Age Requirement
Like most controlled substances, including cigarettes and alcohol, recreational marijuana use is limited to adults only, starting at either age 18 or 21, depending on state regulations.
In fact, some states refer to their legal recreational policies and programs as “Adult Use Marijuana” on their official government websites instead of calling them recreational.
This means that getting medical marijuana for children is still illegal if you don’t have a medical program in your state and a medical card for your child under 18.
Most parents want to set a responsible example for their children by following laws. Also, they can’t risk the fees, legal expenses, and other problems involved in a marijuana violation.
Even if they strongly believe medical marijuana will help their child, they can’t afford to take the risk.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean children are doomed to suffer because they can’t apply for medical cannabis. It is still possible to get a medical card under 18.
Quality Requirements of the Patient
A state medical treatment program leads states to create medical purchasing systems designed to ensure product quality control. Why? Because medical marijuana is a medication and must meet very stringent quality control and dosage requirements.
On the other hand, artisanal weed is for fun and relaxation. Consequently, it doesn’t have to meet rigorous CBD and THC content standards.
But if you are using cannabis for medical reasons, it is important that you know the exact amount of chemicals in your medication to ensure the best therapeutic response.
Unless you are growing and testing your own quality CBD products, you’ll also want to have qualified and reputable dispensaries that state regulators have vetted and licensed.
Ensuring quality products and services are part of a state’s overall medical marijuana program.
These benefits are available to medical card holders, and children should have access to them.
Common Qualifying Conditions for Patients Under 18
When it comes to medical cannabis, states have specific regulations, including a list of qualifying health conditions for a medical card, especially for patients under 18.
It’s essential to understand that each state may have different requirements and what is permissible in one state might not be in another. Below are some common qualifying conditions recognized in various states for minors to receive medical cannabis:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity
- Severe Epilepsy
- Terminal Illness Requiring End-Of-Life Care
- Uncontrolled Intractable Seizure Disorder
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Osteogenesis Imperfecta
- Intractable Neuropathic Pain that Is Unresponsive to Standard Medical Treatments
- Tourette Syndrome for patients who have failed standard medical treatment
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Medical Marijuana Card?
Fortunately, as awareness about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis grows, more states have established medical marijuana programs.
And thankfully, many of those states extend medical marijuana treatment to minors with a qualifying condition that is treatable by cannabis.
Minors can’t apply for medical marijuana cards by themselves. Hence, their parents or adult guardians must apply for cards on their behalf and apply for required caregiver cards.
In states where recreational weed isn’t legal until age 21, patients who are 18-20 may be able to get a medical card independently.
The parent or primary caregiver must purchase, store, and administer the natural cannabis medication because minors cannot enter the medical marijuana dispensaries or manage their own marijuana.
Sometimes, caregiver card reciprocity may make the caregivers and patients eligible for temporary licenses in some states during visits and vacations. This allows treatment to continue even when your family is traveling.
Using medical marijuana for kids means that your child does not have to wait until they are adults to start treating medical conditions holistically with natural medicine. And as a parent, you don’t have to make hard choices between helping your child and following cannabis laws.
However, the answer to “Can minors get medical cards in my state?” still varies. You will need to check your state’s rules and regulations to know more about your options.
How to Get a Medical Card Under 18
After determining whether your state offers marijuana medical programs for children, the next thing is to learn about the rules in your state.
Generally, here are some factors you may need to consider.
Varying Medical Qualification & Treatment Considerations
Since children are still growing and developing, states have to weigh their use of medications or therapeutic treatments even more carefully than they do for adults.
And since researchers don’t know everything about the effects of cannabinoids on brain development yet, states tend to take a conservative stance, creating medical programs that only allow marijuana in limited circumstances when potential benefits are believed to far outweigh potential risks.
This means that in some states, you can only use marijuana to treat a few conditions, consequently limiting the qualifying conditions that allow your child access to an under 18 medical card.
Other states may require that you try other treatments. For example, if your child has epilepsy, you may need to show that you have used traditional anti-seizure medications and that the medications weren’t effective.