New Patient Information
To be eligible to use medical marijuana in the state of Florida, you must have an established relationship with a qualified physician for 3 months, before the physician can order medical cannabis to treat your condition.
Dr. Torres, with Novus Spine & Pain Center in Lakeland, Florida, is qualified by the state of Florida to order medical marijuana for patients.
Treatment for medical marijuana is not covered by insurance.
Initial visits are $250, and follow up visits are $125.
Since January 2017, qualified physicians, such as Dr. Torres, are permitted to order medical marijuana for pain management patients with the additional conditions approved by Amendment 2. The conditions eligible to be treated with medical marijuana under Amendment 2 are:
- Crohn’s disease.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
- Other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
Following Amendment 2’s effective date of January 3, 2017, the Department of Health must establish rules to implement Amendment 2 within 6 months, and then implement those regulations within 9 months.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Lakeland, Florida?
Since June 2014, medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Florida.
The Office of Compassionate Use states the following regarding use of medical marijuana under the provisions established in 2014:
Florida law permits qualified physicians to order low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis for patients diagnosed with certain conditions. There are two types of cannabis products that may be ordered by qualified physicians:
- Low-THC Cannabis: Patients with cancer or a condition that causes chronic seizures or muscle spasms may qualify to receive low-THC cannabis. Low-THC cannabis has very low amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC and does not usually produce the “high” commonly associated with cannabis.
- Medical Cannabis: If a patient is suffering from a condition determined to be terminal by two physicians, he or she may qualify for medical cannabis. This product can contain significant levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC and may produce the “high” commonly associated with cannabis.
In November 2016, Florida voters approved Amendment 2 that extends the 2014 law. This legislation legalizes the use of medical marijuana for patients under certain medical conditions with a physician’s order.
- Current Florida Constitution, Article X, Section 29 – Medical marijuana production, possession and use.
- Amendment 2 Constitutional Amendment Petition Form.
When Amendment 2 becomes effective on January 3, 2017, the Florida Department of Health is directed to set the rules for the implementation of Amendment 2 within 6 months. The regulations are to take effect within 9 months.
What Is Medical Marijuana?
Marijuana is derived from the dried flower buds of the cannabis plant. Cannabis is a flowering plant indigenous to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The plant secretes several compounds, one of which is cannabinoid. Cannabinoid is a diverse chemical compound that acts on the cannabinoid receptors in brain cells. The medical use of cannabis dates back thousands of years across several cultures, and the plant is also used for hemp fiber and its oils.
A growing number of recent studies have shown medical marijuana is beneficial for both pain relief and pain management, suggesting that cannabis can be helpful when other pain medicines don’t work or produce unwanted side effects.
CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “Weed” – This 2013 documentary explains how Dr. Gupta’s views have changed on the subject.
CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness” (2014) – explains the proven medical benefits of both high THC (for PTSD and pain relief) and high CBD (for seizure disorders) that marijuana provides; and why marijuana should no longer be classified as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance by the U.S. Government.
CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution” (2015) – explores the latest news on medical marijuana and validates the claims for the use of medical marijuana.
How Does Cannabis Help in Pain Management?
The human body has numerous cannabinoid receptors – a part of the body’s endocannabinoid system that senses a variety of physiological processes including appetite, mood, memory, and pain. Cannabis changes the way these nerves function in the human body, which helps in pain management.
Two types of natural cannabinoids are found in the resin of the marijuana plant: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both of these interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors; however, the effects are quite different.
THC, the main psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, is classified as an illegal drug. It is what causes the “high” sensation with cannabis. Research shows THC helps reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea, can stimulate appetite, and can reduce pressure inside the eye.
Low-THC cannabis is from the dried flowers of the cannabis plant that contain 0.8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol weight for weight; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Low-THC cannabis can only be legally dispensed from a state-recognized dispensing organization. It contains very low levels of the psychoactive compound THC, and typically does not produce the “high” associated with medical cannabis.
Medical cannabis is from all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Medical cannabis can only be legally dispensed from a state-recognized dispensing organization. It contains high levels of the psychoactive compound THC, and typically produces the euphoric “high” associated with medical cannabis.
In Florida, medical cannabis can be administered in pill form, tinctures, oils, creams, sprays, in edible form, and vaporized (heated to release active ingredients, but no smoke is formed). The smoking of marijuana, even for medical purposes, is still illegal in Florida under all circumstances.
Important Things You Should Know
Before setting an appointment for a Medical Marijuana Evaluation, here are some important things to consider:
- Medical marijuana is NOT covered by insurance. You are responsible for the full cost of the drug.
- Insurance does not cover initial and ongoing low-THC and medical cannabis evaluations.
- It is possible that you may not be a candidate for treatment with medical marijuana.
- Physicians qualified to order low-THC or medical cannabis have special, state-mandated reporting requirements they must follow when ordering low-THC or medical cannabis.
- Qualified patients may only fill low-THC or medical cannabis orders at approved dispensing organizations
- Approved dispensing organizations must verify the identity of the patient.
- Medical marijuana cannot be smoked – that form of marijuana remains illegal in Florida, even when used as a form of medical treatment.
A physician may not order more than a 45-day supply of low-THC for a patient.
Novus Spine & Pain Center
Novus Spine & Pain Center is in Lakeland, Florida, and treats patients suffering from chronic pain with numerous therapies, including medical marijuana when appropriate.
Medical Marijuana Resources
CBD Misconceptions – The difference between THC and CBD.
Is CBD Really Non-Psychoactive – Scientists have found over 60 different pathways through which CBD operates.
Medical Marijuana Laws Linked to Fewer Opioid-Related Fatal Crashes – There has been an overall reduction in traffic accidents caused by opioids in states with an operational medical marijuana law.
Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Linked to Less Prescription Drug Use, Medicare Spending – University of Georgia research found a decline in the use of traditional prescription drugs after enacting a statewide medical cannabis law.
Cannabis for the Management of Pain (pdf) – Report published by the American Pain Society.
Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, And Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients with Intractable, Cancer-Related Pain – A study in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management demonstrated patients with advanced cancer pain not fully relieved by strong opioids found relief.
Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Chronic, Non-Cancer Pain: An Updated, Systematic Review of Randomized, Controlled Trials – Study showing cannabinoids safe and effective in treating chronic, non-cancer pain.