I’ve been certifying patients for the last eight months into Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana program.  The medical program requires that a patient have one of 22 medical conditions in order to be added to the program.  Additional conditions have been approved by the CT Board of Physicians (a migraine, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis) but have not made their way through the legislature yet.

When a patient meets one of the conditions, we are able to make an appointment and sit down to discuss what symptoms the patient is attempting to alleviate.  For most patients, this includes anxiety, depression, pain, and sleeplessness.

Medical marijuana or cannabis works well for all of these conditions.  Medical patients desire to have symptom relief without getting high…which means no psychoactive effects.  This is very possible. Patients can choose products at one of 8 dispensaries in CT that are high in CBD (cannabidiol) vs. THC they are able to work with symptoms without the high.  

Once admitted to the program patients receive an email from the DCP (Department of Consumer Protection) which requires patients to register an upload a photo ID, proof of CT residency and a current photo.  Approximately four weeks after this step, patients will receive a temporary card, which allows them access to the dispensary.

I recommend that all my patients make an appointment with the pharmacist at the dispensary of their choice to learn more about what they have to offer.  The dispensaries have various forms of cannabis available- oral, sublingual (under the tongue), vape pens, and traditional “flower.” Patients are allowed up to 2.5 ounces per month.  The state keeps track of this. It does take some trial and error to find what works, and the pharmacist is a great guide for this. We do recommend that patients start low and go slow- everyone is different and will respond differently.

Approximately four weeks after receiving their temporary card, patients will receive a permanent Medical Marijuana card.  The card is valid for one year at which time the patient must renew if they want to stay in the program. It is recommended to renew approximately 29 days before the expiration date to ensure there is no lapse in access to the dispensary.