If you haven’t been able to treat and find relief of the severe symptoms for your medical condition with traditional pharmaceutical prescription treatments, you just might benefit from and get that medical relief from medical cannabis in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.
How Do I Get Medical Cannabis In New Mexico?
The laws that outline how to become a medical cannabis patient vary by state. The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created in 2007, under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, chapter 210 Senate Bill 523. The purpose of this Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments. The New Mexico Department of Health administers the MCP in accordance with the Act. Like most states where medical cannabis is legal, to be considered a patient you must obtain a valid doctor’s recommendation.
Determining If You Have an Eligible Medical Condition.
In New Mexico, as with most medicinally legal states, you are required to provide medical records of treatment for your illness or medical disability before receiving a recommendation for medical cannabis. While it is best to consult your primary care physician, many physicians are hesitant or unwilling to recommend medical cannabis for fear of federal prosecution or due to policies with in their health care system. But worry not, you aren’t completely out of luck; there are cannabis clinicians that specialize. Any medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO) or nurse practitioner who can prescribe medicine in New Mexico can write a referral for the Medical Cannabis Program. It is important for the medical provider to understand that they are NOT providing a prescription but rather a referral or recommendation.
What medical conditions qualify for the Medical Cannabis Program?
Patients in New Mexico diagnosed with one or more of the following medical conditions are allowed legal protection under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Inclusion Body Myositis
Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis
Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord
Painful peripheral neuropathy
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Severe Chronic Pain
Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia)
If your debilitating medical condition is not on the list of qualifying conditions, you are strongly encouraged to petition the Medical Advisory Board with a request to add a new condition not currently on the list of qualifying conditions. The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board convenes at least twice each calendar year to conduct public meetings and is made up of eight board certified practitioners.
When looking for a clinic to get your recommendation, it is important to seek advice from a reputable doctor, because after all, this is your health you are dealing with. The physician that you receive your recommendation from should be a practiced, and licensed with medical and research experience (preferably cannabis related). While these doctors cannot “prescribe” cannabis, they can “certify” or “recommend” patients use medical marijuana that meet the criteria to be a qualifying patient.
Although it is easy to walk into a green, 4:20 themed “clinic” and pay a cheap price for a evaluation, there are some factors you should consider before doing so. If you are a patient looking to get the maximum benefit from cannabis as a medicine, the relationship between yourself and your medical cannabis provider should be respected as much as in any other medical circumstance. For this reason, Americans For Safe Access advises staying away from these types of places many call, “bargain clinics.”
If ever faced with the unfortunate circumstance of having to defend your rights in court, you will fancy a doctor who is a quality health care provider testifying on your behalf. For this reason, it is extremely important to scrutinize your physician to ensure they are taking your health seriously, and giving you an accurate examination. The doctor should show concern for your general health, and should be asking questions about your diagnosis, prior experience with cannabis, and if you have self-medicated to help your condition in the past. Not only should the physician have a thorough understanding of the effects of cannabis on various medical conditions, but also about the ingesting, cultivating, and topical use of cannabis. Make sure there are no extra fees associated with obtaining ID cards, or extra copies of the letter of recommendation.
If you believe medical cannabis can help suppress your symptoms when traditional treatments have failed, you need to keep trying until you succeed. With new scientific trials and research being conducted on the benefits of medical cannabis every day. All this new evidence being brought to light, shows doctors are increasingly understanding its therapeutic benefits and deciding to recommend it as an alternative therapy. The controversy surrounding its use as medicine continues to decrease and the search for a doctor willing to prescribe it will become easier. You just need to persevere.