What Are the Qualifying Conditions for A Medical Card in Utah?

Jason Markey

Doctors often provide prescriptions to help manage our health conditions. But, prescription medications can lead to a host of unwanted side effects. Thus, many people now turn to medical marijuana as an alternative treatment. You might also be pondering the prospect of getting a medical marijuana card in Utah.

To some people, though, the thought of marijuana often conjures up images of people getting high. Well, medical marijuana is a very different beast. In fact, medical marijuana offers many potential benefits, especially for people who constantly suffer from chronic or debilitating conditions.

To get a medical card in Utah, you must first have qualifying conditions. Let’s examine some of these ailments, including the steps you can take to acquire a medical card:

Qualifying Conditions

Simply put, these are ailments allowing you to become a medical marijuana patient in Utah. They include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or other types of seizures.
  • Autism
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Terminal illness – if you have less than six months to live. Also, if you have a life-limiting condition that requires hospice care, you would be eligible for a medical card.
  • Persistent nausea – this must be resistant to conventional anti-nausea medications. You don’t qualify if your nausea results from pregnancy, cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome, or CBD hyperemesis syndrome.
  • Chronic pain – If your pain lasts more than two weeks and attempts by your physician to manage it using conventional medication fails, you may be a candidate for the card. But, for you to qualify, the treatment attempts should not use opiates or other physical therapies.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – the condition should be diagnosed by a licensed healthcare provider – psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. They should also monitor your progress and recommend the use of medical marijuana for you to get the card.

Acquiring a Medical Cannabis Card

First off, only the Utah Department of Health can issue medical cannabis cards. You cannot get a card from your doctor, dispensary, or any other individual or organization. With that in mind, to get a card, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

A. Schedule an appointment with a recommended physician. You may visit the Utah Department of Health website or check out a facility like the Green Team Doctors.

B. Attend your appointment and bring the following items:

  • A completed Medical Cannabis Patient Attestation Form
  • A photo ID as proof of residency.
  • If you are a minor, you must also bring a parent or guardian

C. The physician will then review your condition to determine whether you qualify for the card. You’ll then pay the application fee, fill in relevant details, and receive your card in the mail.

If you don’t have a qualifying condition but wish to use medical marijuana, the Compassionate Use Board will have to review your application – the same applies to minors under 21 years.

The review process takes roughly three months. Plus, you’ll need to beat the deadline if you’re ineligible based on the conditions the law currently covers but are considering filing a petition.

Once the board gives the green light, you’ll receive your card, which you can print. After that, you can visit a state-licensed dispensary and purchase the medical marijuana products you need.

Some Physicians Don’t Recommend Marijuana

Some licensed practitioners disavow the use of medical marijuana for various reasons. While there are many passionate proponents of medical cannabis, some physicians prefer not to get involved in the process.

Additionally, even if your physician is on board with the idea of medical marijuana, they may be unwilling to recommend it to you. Hence, you’ll need to find a physician who recommends cannabis use. Fortunately, various online platforms offer access for such professionals, speeding up the review process.

Alternatively, browse the state’s Department of Health and Human Services website for a list of providers who’ve issued recommendations in the past. The site is also a good place to find physicians who take part in the voluntary cannabis program.

What you Need to Keep in Mind

The application process can take some time. Once you find a physician who recommends medical cannabis and attends your appointment, receiving your card in the mail can still take weeks. Start the process early to stand a chance of getting a medical cannabis card in time. 

Similarly, stay informed regarding the state’s laws and regulations concerning medical marijuana. The program is still relatively new, and the rules are subject to change. Hence, ensure you know your stuff before getting too deep into things.

Provided you meet the criteria, you should be well on your way to getting the card. If you’re considering getting a medical card, seek a physician’s recommendation to kick-start the process. That way, you can get and use the alternative treatment you need to improve your quality of life – without looking over your shoulder.

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