Medical marijuana is new to the State of Florida. Get the answers about eligibility, treatment, and our clinic.
What is the active ingredient in "low THC” cannabis?
The natural cannabis plant contains over 100 unique chemicals,known as phytocannabinoids. THC is the most well known phytocannabinoid as it is the chemical that produces the euphoric “high” traditionally associated with cannabis use. Low THC cannabis will have varying amounts of the other cannabinoids, depending on the cultivar (strain), but will contain at least 10% CANNABIDIOL (CBD) per Florida law. CBD has been shown to have many beneficial effects on seizures, nausea,muscle spasms, anxiety, depression,and pain to name a few. CBD has also been shown to have potential for anti-cancer benefit (in lab studies). CBD does NOT create a “high” like THC. In fact, CBD actually counteracts the “high” created by THC. The other cannabinoids have various other effects, many of which are still being discovered.
For more information, please view this infographic.
What are the side effects of medical cannabis?
THC is by far the most common cause of side effects in medical cannabis users. THC can cause dry mouth and dry, red eyes, sedation, low blood pressure, dizziness, and memory impairment. The most disturbing symptoms of excessive THC are extreme anxiety and paranoia. Many side effects can be minimized by taking care to use minimal doses to control the target symptoms. Vaping and oral tictures have a quicker onset and allow closer titration of dose. Edibles and other oral formulations should be used with care as these forms will take longer to take effect, and therefore it is common mistake to take additional doses while waiting on onset of relief which will result in excessive doses once the oral forms take effect. Additionally when using THC containing cannabis, choosing cultivars with near equal amounts of CBD and THC can help minimize side effects.
Side effects of CBD specifically are minimal and include dry mouth and sleepiness (at HIGH doses).
Both THC and CBD do interact with an individual’s own liver enzymes, which can change the metabolism of other drugs, and therefore create other side effects due to the other medications. The cannabis does not damage your liver, but changes the rate of metabolism (similar to the way grapefruit juice also can affect medications). Be sure to disclose any and all prescription and over the counter medications in your consultation appointment. Additionally, other medical providers should also be made aware of your medical cannabis treatment, so this interaction can be considered in your overall medical treatment plan.
Is medical cannabis illegal?
Yes. Cannabis is a listed Schedule I drug (no medical use) federally and is illegal. Possession and use of Cannabis is also as illegal in the State of Florida except where otherwise specified by law. Only patients on the Compassionate Use Registry may lawfully possess or use Cannabis in the State of Florida.
Can Florida residents grow their own plants?
No, Florida law does not allow patients to grow their own cannabis. Cannabis must be only provided by one of the Florida licensed dispensaries.
Can I use medical cannabis while on probation or parole?
This is a question that each potential patient will need to answer with the appropriate governmental agency BEFORE filling any orders for medical cannabis. Law enforcement can verify and individuals eligibility for medical cannabis treatment once the MCC physician places the individual on the Compassionate Use registry. Once this registration is verified, it will be up to the decision of the individual probation/parole officer and presiding Judge as to whether medical cannabis use will be permitted while on probation or parole. It is key that individuals are proactive and speak with the law enforcement agencies BEFORE obtaining any medical cannabis products.
Where can I use medical cannabis?
It is easier to say where medical cannabis cannot be used. Medical cannabis is federally illegal and illegal in the State of Florida except where specifically provided for by law. The Florida law specifically prohibits medical cannabis use while operating any type of machinery (car, boat, heavy equipment). Medical cannabis cannot be used or taken on any Federal property. Medical Cannabis cannot be present at any school or daycare. Medical Cannabis cannot be transferred to anyone other than the authorized user. It is illegal to take Medical Cannabis across state lines.
Will being on the Florida Compassionate Use registry allow me to use medical cannabis while working?
No. Being on the Compassionate Use registry does not protect an individual from being terminated or failing to be hired due to cannabis use. All potential medical cannabis users should discuss their potential use BEFORE obtaining medical cannabis to determine their employer’s position on medical cannabis use.
How much low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis can a qualifying physician order for a patient?
Qualifying physicians can order no more than a 45-day supply and a cannabis delivery device needed by the patient for the medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.
Will low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis be inspected and tested?
Yes. Low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis must be processed within an enclosed structure away from other plants and products. Dispensing organizations are required to test the processed low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis before they are dispensed. The results must be verified and signed by two employees of the dispensary. The dispensing organization must reserve two processed samples from each batch and retain them for at least nine months.
Cannabis test results must indicate that low-THC cannabis meets the definition of low-THC cannabis and that all medical and low-THC cannabis is safe for human consumption and free from contaminants.
The dispensing organization must also contract with an independent testing laboratory to perform audits on the dispensing organization’s standard operating procedures, testing records and samples.
What are the packaging requirements for low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis?
Packaging of low-THC and medical cannabis should be in compliance with the United States Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (15 U.S.C. ss. 1471 et seq.) They should be packaged in a receptacle that has a firmly affixed and legible label with the following information:
Does MCC of Florida dispense my medical cannabis?
Absolutely not. MCC of Florida and its associated physicians are serving as a medical consultant to determine eligibility for consideration of medical cannabis treatment under present Florida law. MCC of Florida will review your medical records or other official documentation and determine whether an individual meets the state criteria. Once all criteria are met (including the 90 day physician/patient relationship), the physician will place the medical cannabis order on the Compassionate Use Registry website. There is no cannabis product at MCC of Florida.
Will MCC of Florida fill my other medications?
Again, absolutely not. MCC of Florida will only function to determine your eligibility for medical cannabis treatment to assist your medical treatment regimen. All other medications and care will need to be provided by your primary care physician and other medical specialists. MCC of Florida is happy to communicate with your health care team (with your permission, of course), but will not institute any changes to your non-cannabis medicines or other treatment.
Will I have a prescription or card for medical cannabis?
No prescriptions fall under the enforcement of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. All forms of cannabis are illegal federally, therefore no prescriptions can be written.
There is also no current card system in the State of Florida. Amendment 2 specified a card system be provided, but the State of Florida has several months to implement the system.
How does an eligible patient obtain medical cannabis without a card or prescription?
Florida currently has an online Compassionate Use registry. Only Florida physicians that have completed the required training can list eligible patients on this registry. The registry can be accessed by the authorized Florida Cannabis Dispensaries, as well as any Florida law enforcement agency that requests and is granted access by the Office of Compassionate Use. The ordering physician must order a dose as well as a time period the order is good for (max of 6 weeks).
Can I use medical cannabis while under the care of Pain Management?
This is an issue that should be addressed with your Pain Management provider before beginning medical cannabis treatment. Before obtaining medical cannabis, the patient should discuss with their individual provider. MCC of Florida can provide documentation that the patient is under our care for Medical Cannabis ONLY and that no other medications will be ordered by MCC of Florida.
What if I am physically unable to travel to a dispensary?
The Compassionate Use registry does allow the option of adding 2 legal caregivers to an eligible patient’s profile. These legal caregivers would be allowed to pick up or receive the medical cannabis on the behalf of the patient. Additionally, the licensed dispensaries will do home deliveries to Compassionate Use registered patients for an additional fee.