It has been more than a year since the Medical Cannabis Act became law in Mississippi, and less than 1% of the state population is carrying a medical cannabis card. Some eligible patients may fear the unknown, so to help alleviate concerns, we asked one medical marijuana patient to share the three most important things he says potential patients need to know.
Medical cannabis comes in a variety of forms from the dispensary.
Zach Draine is an ex-Army veteran who suffers from chronic pain. “Medical cannabis absolutely helps to alleviate my pain,” Draine said. “I don’t like to take opiates because most of them don’t take the pain away. I prefer flower (smokable marijuana) because it’s not as intoxicating as edibles, and I can control how high I get.” Other forms of medical cannabis include vaporizers, extracts, tinctures and topicals. The choice should be based on a patient’s personal preference and past medical history.
The registration process is straightforward and readily accessible using the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program website: https://www.mmcp.ms.gov.
A medical cannabis card acquired in Mississippi is valid for use only within the state. Anyone seeking to purchase and use medical cannabis must have a state-issued medical cannabis permit card. The state charges a $25 nonrefundable fee when a patient applies for a medical cannabis card or a $15 nonrefundable fee if the patient receives Medicaid benefits. When asked about navigating the registration process, Draine said, “It was pretty easy for me and seemed very self-explanatory to me. I have heard other people complain, but I had no problem.”
Medical cannabis is not covered by health insurance.
Health insurance companies won’t cover medical cannabis as the drug is still illegal at the federal level. Like many patients, Draine was concerned about the high cost. “It is very expensive; I paid $100 for seven grams of flower,” Draine said. This amount will last Draine three days. However, the amount of cannabis utilized for symptom relief is specific to each patient.
Story by Alexandra Ladner