What is medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana refers to the medicinal application of the Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plants to treat symptoms of illness and disease. Due to the marijuana plant containing active chemicals – called cannabinoids – that have been scientifically proven to help treat a range of conditions, a growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical use.


What are the benefits of medical marijuana?

The therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana are many, as use can be attributed to binding the endocannabinoid system. This has shown to regulate the immune system, promote neuroplasticity, and help with emotional and cognitive modulation concerning motivation, learning, vascular function, digestive function, appetite, and more. The marijuana plant also contains cannabinoids, which have been scientifically proven to conclusively and naturally relieve chronic pain.


Is medical marijuana legal in Pensacola, FL?

Yes, medical marijuana is legal in Pensacola, FL.

Florida first legalized medical cannabis in 2014 when the Legislature passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allows patients suffering from cancer and epilepsy to access low-THC cannabis.

The program was further expanded in 2016 under the Right to Try Act, which permitted full-strength cannabis to patients with a terminal illness. In November of the same year, Florida voters passed Amendment 2 with a 71.3% majority vote, making way for more extensive medical marijuana programs.

These programs were made effective in January of 2017, and in June of the same year, Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 8A, which established operational guidelines to meet Amendment 2 requirements.

Additionally, as of March 2019, Florida now allows patients to smoke medical cannabis when recommended by a qualifying physician.


What conditions qualify for a medical marijuana card?

“Debilitating medical conditions” that qualify for a medical marijuana card in Florida include:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy/Chronic Seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • HIV/AIDS (positive status)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Spinal cord injury/disease
  • Chronic, non-malignant pain
  • Terminal illness
  • Lupus
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  • Migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dystonia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Additionally, there are a plethora of other medical conditions of the same class or comparability that medical marijuana is efficient at treating.


Is my treatment confidential? 

Entirely. Your privacy is of the utmost importance. Florida Health & Wellness Institute complies with all HIPAA privacy standards, and we will not release your medical records without your written consent.

Additionally, a medical marijuana patient's information is only shared with certain authorized personnel – such as state and local law enforcement agencies – on a need-to-know basis. For example, if you are pulled over in the state of Florida while in possession of medical marijuana, an officer will verify that your medical marijuana card is valid by querying the Department of Health's Marijuana Use Registry database.


How do I get a medical marijuana card?

Step 1: Find a medical marijuana doctor. You’ll need a signed physician’s statement from a medical marijuana doctor. This doctor must be licensed and registered with the Florida Department of Health.

Step 2: Go to your initial consultation. Here, you will discuss your medical history and treatment options with a qualified physician. They will then decide on a recommended dosage, enter your name and information into the Florida Marijuana Use Registry, and provide you with a patient ID number. You will use this number to apply for your required ID card.

Step 3: Submit your application. You will submit your application to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use to obtain an ID card. Once you receive your temporary ID (via email) or permanent ID card and order from your physician, you may begin purchasing your medication at a licensed dispensary.  


Does insurance cover medical marijuana?

No. Medical marijuana is only legal on a state level and remains illegal on a federal level. This prevents insurance companies from providing coverage for cannabis-related treatments.


What are the costs?

Florida Health & Wellness Institute’s initial consultation is $195.00, a 3-month follow-up is $105.00, and a 6-month follow-up is $150.00.

The Office of Medical Marijuana Use mandates that patients submit a completed application and obtain a Medical Marijuana Registry ID card. The application fee is $75 and must be renewed yearly.

Medication costs vary by dispensary and delivery method.


Do I have to smoke medical marijuana?

Certainly not. There are a variety of ways one can take medical marijuana, including:

  • Vaporization
  • Sublingual (take under the tongue)
  • Oral
  • Topical
  • Suppository methods


If I have a medical marijuana card from another state, is it valid in Florida?

No. To be enrolled in Florida’s medical marijuana program, you must be evaluated by a physician who is licensed and certified as a marijuana doctor in the state of Florida. Only patients entered into Florida's Marijuana Use Registry database are allowed to purchase, possess, or consume medical marijuana in Florida.


Where can I legally purchase medical marijuana in Florida?

If you are a registered medical marijuana patient, you may only purchase medical marijuana from licensed growers or dispensaries (MMTCs). Any marijuana purchase outside of these sources is considered illegal and not protected under Florida's medical marijuana law.


If I have a medical marijuana card, how much cannabis can I legally purchase and possess at a time?

A medical marijuana patient is allowed to purchase and possess no more than what is recommended by their medical marijuana doctor. The doctor will enter the recommended amount of marijuana to order for 45 days. If a marijuana doctor recommends six ounces every 45 days, then that means the patient can only purchase up to six ounces every 45 days.


Can any Florida doctor certify a patient and register them in the Marijuana Use Registry? 

No. For a doctor in Florida to certify and register a patient in the Marijuana Use Registry, the doctor is required to complete the necessary training and register as a marijuana doctor with the Florida Department of Health. Only doctors that are actively licensed and have completed the necessary training can order medical marijuana for medical marijuana patients.


Is medical marijuana considered a prescription?

No. The federal government regulates prescription drugs, and because marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law, medical marijuana prescriptions are prohibited.

As a result, medical marijuana is considered a "recommendation" instead of a prescription. A medical marijuana doctor can't prescribe marijuana, though they can recommend an amount of medical cannabis that a patient should use. Medical marijuana doctors are allowed to "recommend" and not "prescribe" because recommendations are considered freedom of speech and protected by the First Amendment.

These "recommendations" are then followed by marijuana growers and dispensaries who cannot sell more marijuana to a patient than what is recommended by the patient's medical marijuana doctor.