What are the qualifying medical conditions?
The current list of qualifying conditions in Arkansas are:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe arthritis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Intractable pain which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six (6) months
- Severe nausea
- Seizures including without limitation those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms including without limitation those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- and any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the Department of Health
Other medical conditions are being petitioned to be added. For a list of those conditions, click here.
Patients suffering from medical conditions may petition the Arkansas Department of Health for consideration of an illness. After a hearing, the department shall approve or deny a petition within one hundred (120) days of submission of the petition. Click here for petition information.
How do I obtain a medical certification?
In order to obtain a registry card to legally purchase medical cannabis, the patient must be certified as having a qualifying condition, have a completed medical certification, submit the paperwork to the Arkansas Department of Health with the application fee. You can find a complete list of requirements at:
How do patients benefit from medical cannabis?
Many patients turn to medical cannabis to help with debilitating pain or nausea. Studies have shown that medical cannabis is very effective in treating these conditions. Often times it proves more effective than other traditional forms of medications such as opiates and can often be used in conjunction with traditional medications to lessen the dosage required while providing better relief for the patient.
Is medical cannabis safe?
Absolutely. Medical cannabis is one of the safer medications available. The “side effects” of cannabis are insignificant in comparison to the side effects of many prescription drugs. There is not been a single documented case of a person dying for a cannabis overdose. An ongoing 30-year study found that a person weighing 140 pounds would have to consume over 4 pounds of cannabis in one sitting to reach toxic levels, and that still would not be a fatal dosage. Plus, cannabis has powerful anti-oxidant effects which can provide relief for many disorders including liver inflammation from Hepatitis C, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other serious medical conditions that all involve inflammation and oxidative damage.
Is it a viable alternative for elderly patients?
How Elderly Can Benefit From Medical Cannabis
Senior citizens grew up during a time when cannabis was illegal in the United States. Accordingly, the golden generation may perhaps be the most misinformed about cannabis, yet, ironically, might also be the age demographic that benefits the most from this natural plant. Below are 10 things senior citizens should know about medical cannabis.
1. Cannabis is SAFER than many commonly prescribed medications
Most seniors take prescription drugs on a daily basis. The “side effects” of cannabis are insignificant in comparison to the side effects of many prescription drugs. There is not been a single documented case of a person dying for a cannabis overdose. An ongoing 30-year study found that a person weighing 140 pounds would have to consume over 4 pounds of cannabis in one sitting to reach toxic levels, and that still would not be a fatal dosage. Plus, cannabis has powerful anti-oxidant effects which can provide relief for many disorders including liver inflammation from Hepatitis C, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other serious medical conditions that all involve inflammation and oxidative damage.
2. Cannabis is not physically addictive
Many seniors fear that cannabis use is addictive. This is simply not true. Discontinuing the use of cannabis has much the same response as quitting the consumption of coffee. Many people who seek welcome and effective respite from chronic pain, anxiety, and stress use cannabis as a daily medicine.
3. Cannabis can reduce and possibly replace many prescription medications
A major complaint of seniors regarding their daily medications is that the first pill often causes side effects that the second one is supposed to “fix.” “Cannabis’ healing properties target various conditions such as inflamed joints, high blood pressure, chronic pain, digestive disorders, constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, cognitive awareness, and more. The use of cannabis can actually accentuate the effect of many commonly prescribed drugs (blog.norml.org).” For example, opiate based painkillers are typically enhanced when cannabis is used concurrently, often resulting in a reduction of pharmaceutical medicines.
4. There are many different types, or “strains” of cannabis
Growing medical cannabis is not terribly different from gardeners attempting to create the perfect rose or tomato plant. Each plant has its own personality and effects. There are strains that are very helpful for chronic pain relief and some strains can enhance focus and energy, while others can be relaxing and help with a good night’s sleep.
5. There are cannabis strains without “the high”
“If I could get the medical benefit from the plant without the high, I’d consider it.” said many of the seniors we’ve spoken to. We have developed and are currently producing potent CBD genetic strains that have minimal psychoactive effects. CBD, or cannabidiol, is tremendous for inflammation, eases pain, stimulates bone growth, suppresses muscular spasms, reduces anxiety, and increases mental focus. Some liquid extracts that have no “high” at all, and yet have been proven extremely successful for persons suffering from arthritis pain, nausea, and muscle spasms.
6. There are ways to use cannabis other than smoking it
One common misconception among aging adults is that they have to smoke cannabis to gain the medicinal benefits. Medical cannabis is available in liquid extracts, infused honey, candies, baked goods, and other products. It can be added to just about any regular recipe in the form of cannabis infused butters or oils.
7. Cannabis-infused ointments can be very effective in alleviating arthritis and neuropathy pain
Locally made, medicated creams are very popular for sore joints and muscles and back pain. They are very effective, smell nice and give a you no “high” so you can feel comfortable using the products throughout the day.
8. Cannabis does not lower your IQ or cause brain damage
Another common misconception aging adults have with cannabis is that it can lower intelligence or cause brain damage. There is no documentation that shows that cannabis reduces or “kills brain cells.” Studies with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients indicate that cannabis gradually encourages new neural pathways, allowing those with impaired brain function to potentially halt further degeneration and even encourage brain function.
9. Cannabis can help increase your appetite
One of the most dangerous health risks among senior citizens is the loss of appetite, leading to weight loss. Cannabis has been extremely successful in alleviating nausea and as an appetite stimulant. A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology finds an intriguing connection between cannabis use and body weight, showing that rates of obesity are lower by roughly a third in people who smoke cannabis at least three times a week, compared with those who don’t use cannabis at all.
10. The stigma around medical cannabis use is fading
Seniors are the fastest growing population of new medical cannabis users. The best explanation for this is that it is working work for them. People experiencing discomfort or chronic pain want options. Medical cannabis can be a valuable tool in your “wellness toolbox”.
How will it affect Arkansas?
How Natural State Agronomics Will Help Arkansas
The warnings about legalized medicinal cannabis were dire: there would be a breakdown in law and order and increasing drug abuse. But that hasn’t happened in California, the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Instead, California offers some positive lessons about legalizing marijuana.
The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney and Rick Lyman took a hard look at medicinal cannabis in California in an article they published. They found that 17 years after medical cannabis was legalized, the stark warnings about the state’s future were unfounded. And the fears that underage teenagers would find easy access to cannabis have not been borne out.
In California, the medical cannabis industry has led to tax revenue and local wealth. One dispensary in Oakland collected $1.2 million in sales tax last year for the city. In addition to the obvious tax gains, there are also a significant amount of jobs that will be created. And some studies have shown that crime will actually decrease with the presence of medical cannabis dispensaries.