by Missouri Health & Wellness
Missouri is one of the most recent states in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana. In November 2018, the residents of Missouri voted to legalize medical marijuana. By 2020, the first licensed dispensaries in Missouri are ready to open.
According to recent news, every Missouri cannabis testing lab has gotten the green light to begin operations, which completed its supply chain. There are currently three licensed cannabis farmers growing marijuana in Missouri, and only one of them has completed a harvest. So when these dispensaries begin selling medical marijuana products, they will only have a marijuana flower available during the first few weeks. However, by the end of October, the other two expect to have cannabis available.
The only way to legally consume cannabis in Missouri is by becoming a medical marijuana patient. In Missouri, there are already more than 60,000 medical marijuana patients waiting to purchase medical marijuana products. In our Missouri medical marijuana patient guide, you will find out more about medical marijuana and what you need to apply for the Missouri Medical Marijuana (MMJ) program.
How to become an MMJ patient in Missouri
The patient’s registration process is quite simple and straightforward:
- Find out whether you qualify for medical marijuana treatment.
- See a physician who can provide a recommendation.
- Apply for your medical marijuana card with the state.
To apply to the medical marijuana program and receive an MMJ card, you must be 18 years or older. Guardians or parents who have a minor child who needs marijuana treatment (e.g., children with epilepsy or Dravet syndrome) must be the child’s caregiver. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) defines a caregiver as an individual (21 years of age or older) responsible for managing the well-being of an MMJ-qualified patient. The Missouri medical marijuana card for a minor patient can only be issued to the patient’s guardian or parent.
Missouri Health & Wellness has made it easy for qualifying patients to obtain their MMJ card. Simply click on the Patient Card tab. You can then get an online appointment with a doctor through our partnership with Midwest Cannabinoid Clinic.
Do I qualify for cannabis treatment?
The qualifying conditions for MMJ in Missouri include:
- Any terminal illness
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic pain/neuropathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Huntington’s disease
- Intractable migraines
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Opioid substitution
- PTSD (or other debilitating psychiatric disorders)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette syndrome
- Sickle cell anemia
- Any medical condition that may be alleviated by medical cannabis in the professional judgment of a medical marijuana doctor.
Consultation with a Physician
The first step involves scheduling an evaluation with a DO or MD in Missouri. During the consultation, the physician will ask you some questions and look at your medical records to ensure you’re a viable medical marijuana candidate.
As for documentation, you will need the Standard Physician Certification Form (in most cases). If you are there to seek a higher monthly dosage, you will need to fill the Alternative Physician Certification Form. Also, be prepared to provide proof of residence by bringing:
- A copy of a Missouri ID
- A copy of a valid driver’s license
- A copy of a recent utility bill
- A copy of a current motor vehicle registration.
(All documents must be issued by the state of Missouri.)
To become a patient, you must submit 2 of these forms completed by different doctors. If your marijuana doctors recommend a different medical marijuana limit, you’re entitled to the lower dosage. Minor patients must fill in a Parent/Legal Guardian Consent Form.
When at the doctors, the questions you might like to consider asking him or her may be:
- What frequency and dose should I use?
- Which form of delivery should I consider?
- Will cannabis interact with other herbs or prescription medications I’m currently using?
- Should I use higher CBD strains?
- Are there any side effects?
You must tell your medical cannabis doctor about all medications, supplements, and herbs you are taking so he or she can assess any potential interactions and side effects. The Missouri Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) is open to residents of Missouri who meet at least one qualifying condition from this list.
Completing your Application
You’re required to submit your application within 30 days of receiving a physician’s recommendation. Visit the Complia Portal, the official web portal for the MMMP. Log in to the portal, click Create Application, and then click on New Patient Registration. The DHSS will complete its evaluation within another 30 days and process forms in the order in which they are received. They will send you an email to request corrections in case you haven’t completed the form properly. You must make the changes within ten days, or your application will be rejected. Once approved, you’ll receive an email containing your patient ID. You need to print out the ID and, since Missouri doesn’t issue physical ID cards, it is the only proof you need to obtain medical marijuana.
A patient or caregiver applying for a medical marijuana patient card will have to pay a $25 fee. The license is valid for 12 months.
Missouri Marijuana Laws
Possession of 10 grams (or less) of marijuana has been decriminalized in Missouri, classified as a criminal misdemeanor, and punishable by a fine. However, Missouri marijuana possession laws state that the sale and distribution of any amount of marijuana is a felony with a penalty of up to 4 years of prison and a max $10,000 fine. These possession laws took effect in 2017 when the Missouri state lawmakers rewrote the state’s criminal code in 2014 and reduced cannabis possession penalties with Senate Bill 491.
In 2018, the state of Missouri passed Amendment 2 for the medical use of cannabis. In late 2019 and early 2020, the first cultivators, producers, labs, and dispensaries began receiving their licenses. As dispensaries opened, medical marijuana sales to program participants rolled out.
The medical marijuana program is overseen by the Missouri DHSS, including applications and licensing for patients, caregivers, and businesses. Patients and primary caregivers can get a Missouri patient license for $25, while a patient cultivation license costs them $100.
If you don’t have a patient cultivation license, you are not allowed to grow medical marijuana in Missouri. After paying an additional fee, medical cannabis patients are allowed to grow a total of six plants.
When it comes to shared cultivation, a maximum of two individuals (e.g., two patients, two caregivers, or a combination of the licensed two) are allowed to cultivate medical marijuana in the same space. According to the Constitution Article XIV, there may be 12 flowering plants, as well as 12 nonflowering plants and 12 clones in the space.
If one of the two individuals is a patient and a caregiver with a valid qualifying patient cultivation license, that individual may add 6 additional flowering, 6 clones, and 6 nonflowering plants to the shared space. That way, the caregiver may cultivate plants for himself/herself and the patient under his/her care. This is the only circumstance under which marijuana plants for three plants can be grown in a shared space.
The possession of 10 grams (or less) of marijuana has been decriminalized. However, the sale and distribution of any amount of marijuana is a felony with a penalty of up to 4 years of prison and a max $10,000 fine.
Public Consumption Laws
Medical marijuana patients are not allowed to consume their cannabis products in public spaces, including various common areas open to the general public, such as schools, parks, sidewalks, and businesses. To designate a non-public place within a public place, the entity or owner of such property may provide an enclosed private space where a qualifying patient may consume medical cannabis.
How to purchase medical marijuana at a dispensary
When going to your local medical marijuana dispensary for the first time, remember to bring a few essentials:
- A state-issued identification card (or other forms of identification);
- Your medical marijuana card, and;
- Cash for payment (because most marijuana dispensaries cannot take debit or credit cards).
When a newly legal state opens its first medical marijuana dispensaries, supplies are limited, and prices tend to be abnormally high. But that should not worry you because prices will fall to a reasonable norm as more Missouri medical marijuana dispensary products continue to fill the supply chain. In 2014, the first marijuana stores in Seattle charged $22 for a gram of their cheapest flower. A year later, they charged $7 for a gram, while today it’s $5.
The monthly purchase limit is four ounces of marijuana flower, or its equivalent in infused products and concentrates.
Marijuana Flower 101
Let’s take a look at some basic information and facts about marijuana flower that every patient should know before going to a licensed dispensary.
Cannabis or marijuana flower is the term for what is called weed, grass, ganja, bud, pot, etc. The marijuana you will find in a Missouri dispensary has been tested for quality, potency, and purity. It arrives without any stems or seeds.
- Cannabis flower is usually smoked in a cannabis cigarette (joint), a pipe, or a water pipe (bong). Also, it is vaporized in a cannabis vaporizer.
- Cannabis flower is sold according to its weight – gram, two grams, eight-ounce, quarter-ounce, half-ounce, and ounce.
- Cannabis flower potency is determined by its THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content. Most flowers will contain about 5%-30% THC.
- Most patients prefer to grind the flower using a cannabis grinder because it helps the flower burn more smoothly and evenly. Others prefer turning their flower into homemade edibles (e.g., making cannabutter, cannabis brownies, etc.).
- Each unique strain of cannabis contains a specific range of THC, CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. Other cannabinoids, such as terpenes and CBD, will affect your experience because all of them work together in an entourage effect.
What to expect your first time
A first-time experience with marijuana can differ greatly from one individual to another. It all depends on the consumption method, plant chemistry, and the consumer’s body chemistry. When smoking marijuana for the first time, you may or may not experience a “high,” which depends on whether you are breathing correctly. Inhale the smoke but never hold it for too long. Begin with one or two hits, and then wait about 10-15 minutes to notice the effects. If your symptoms remain, you can always smoke more. In case you get too high, you should have foods with black pepper, orange juice, or CBD products because they can help temper the effects of THC. After a few hours, the feelings will pass.
It is difficult to describe the feeling of being high if you have never tried marijuana before. You have surely heard stories about giggle fits, euphoria, and food cravings, and most of those stories are true. It is a good idea to keep some healthy food (also known as munchies) on hand so you don’t end up eating an entire box of Twinkies or a bag of potato chips. While there are some people who dislike the feeling and cannot tolerate it well, most people find it to be a pleasant experience.
It is advisable to have someone sit with you for the first experience because you can feel paranoid or disconnected from reality if you take more than you can handle. Common side effects of cannabis are:
- Increased energy
- Decreased energy (couch lock)
- Loss of concentration
- Altered perception of time
How to find the right dose
Again, everything is subjective and there is no universal answer to this question. Every person’s tolerance and physiology vary, so everyone responds to marijuana differently. Also, dosing depends on the method of consumption – even with the same amount of THC, eating edibles and smoking cannabis can produce different responses. The best common practice about consuming cannabis is – less is more. The correct dose may be the lowest dose that works for you in the current moment.
Always begin with smaller amounts, such as a few hits of a joint or 5-mg edible. Then, wait for a certain amount of time to observe the effects. You will know whether you should take more or if a dose is enough based on how you feel. Remember that edibles may take up to 2 hours to affect your system, while the effects of hitting a joint occur within minutes.
Cannabis Consumption Methods
When it comes to cannabis consumption, there is a range of options to choose from.
- Cannabis flower
Cannabis flower is the smokable part of the plant that has undergone a drying process. Also known as “bud,” the flower is typically smoked rolled as a joint or via a smoking accessory (e.g., bong, pipe, bubbler, or vaporizer). It comes in a variety of strains, mainly categorized as Indica, Sativa, and hybrid. These classifications are not exact because there is no universal labeling convention. Dispensary workers can help you make the best and most informed choice.
- Pre-rolled joints
One of the most well-known methods of smoking marijuana is smoking it as a joint. Many dispensaries have pre-rolled joints ready to purchase, which will save you the trouble of rolling them yourself. If you are a first-time cannabis consumer, this is the easiest way to consume it.
Many dispensaries also sell edibles, such as brownies, cookies, and other food and beverage options. This is an inconspicuous and effective way to consume cannabis, and some producers even create vegan, allergen-free, and gluten-free cannabis-infused foods. Unlike smoked cannabis, the human body processes edibles somewhat differently. THC is processed in the liver, which creates a longer-lasting and more potent experience. If you haven’t tried edibles before, start with a low dosage, wait for about 90-120 minutes, and then determine if you need more.
Topicals are cannabis-infused creams, oils, salves, and lotions. They are applied directly to the skin and contain lower THC levels to minimize the psychoactive effects. An exception to this rule is transdermal patches because the cannabinoids are combined with different agents that make them more easily absorbable through the skin (yes, you can also get high via transdermal patches).
Tinctures are concentrated extracts of THC. They are made with high-percentage alcohol and come in little glass bottles with droppers. The cannabis tincture is placed under the tongue and absorbed in the mouth, and it is one of the best methods of cannabis consumption because it can be dosed precisely and consumed discreetly. It takes about 15-30 mins for the tincture to kick in.
Also known as extracts, cannabis concentrates are cannabinoids extracted directly from the flower. It is a highly potent method of consumption because you get a pure material that is inhaled or vaporized. Cannabis concentrates are not recommended for beginning users because they produce powerful effects. Some dispensaries also sell vaporizers that contain cannabis oil, which is another excellent choice for people who want to be discreet.
More than 60 international and U.S. health organizations, including the American Public Health Association, the Federation of American Scientists, and Health Canada, support granting patients legal access to medical cannabis under a physician’s supervision. Modern research has proven that marijuana is one of the best organic remedies that can help in treating a range of health conditions.
Missouri residents have just begun receiving their medical marijuana patient cards, and many of them are trying cannabis for the first time. Read as much as you can before your first experience, listen to your body, and be patient. Not everyone experiences the same benefits from cannabis, but medical cannabis has been life-changing for many patients.
Missouri Health and Wellness is a licensed medical cannabis company with five dispensary locations in Missouri. We are one of the first dispensaries licensed to sell medical cannabis in the state, and we offer access to high-quality cannabis products for treating a wide range of medical conditions.