For many, medical marijuana is a life-saving treatment that makes devastating and severe health conditions much more manageable. Yet, not everyone who relies on medical marijuana is capable of acquiring and using the drug on their own. Children, the elderly, the disabled, and others require help to take full advantage of medical marijuana — they need a medical marijuana caregiver.
Most states that have legalized medical marijuana allow for licensed users to designate caregivers, who are not MMJ cardholders themselves but who can visit medical marijuana dispensaries, purchase and possess cannabis products and provide assistance with consumption. If someone you love is in need of a medical marijuana caregiver, here’s how you can become one today.
Talk to Patient About Medical Marijuana
Before you can become a medical marijuana caregiver, the person you assist needs to qualify for your state’s medical-marijuana program. Different states have different requirements; most often, a patient needs to be diagnosed with a qualifying health condition and recommended for cannabis treatment by a state-licensed healthcare provider. However, long before you get to this stage, you should be sure the patient you are caring for understands the benefits and risks of cannabis treatment.
Conversations about cannabis can be difficult, considering the stigma the drug has carried for the past century. You should approach this discussion delicately and with consideration for your loved one’s level of comprehension. You might explain what you think the benefits of medical marijuana would be in your loved one’s case, but you should also encourage them to consider the risks. Most importantly, you should listen to your loved ones. If they are afraid or angry about using cannabis as a medical treatment, you might talk to their doctors about a different solution.
Then again, some caregivers are the ones reluctant to introduce weed, especially if a patient is suffering from severe disease or has a complex treatment plan already. Ultimately, if the patient is eager to try cannabis treatment, it is your responsibility to help them manage it — or else find someone willing to take your place in this respect.
Understand the Caregiver’s Role
Just as states have different requirements for medical marijuana users, states’ understanding of cannabis caregivers also varies. For example, in California, a caregiver is anyone “who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health or safety” of another person, while in Arizona, a caregiver is officially designated by the patient and must meet minimum standards set by the state. Ultimately, a caregiver needs to marry the needs of their individual patient with the rules set by their state or city.
In general, caregivers are tasked with managing the hard work of cannabis treatment — traveling to and from the dispensary, tracking dosage, tending home-grown cannabis plants, etc. — so that their patients may experience the benefits of cannabis use. Caregivers must be reliable and organized, and they should be confident and capable of navigating the cannabis community. It might be useful for a caregiver to have some experience using cannabis themselves, so they feel comfortable administering doses of the drug to their patient and watching for signs of overdose.
Finally, caregivers need to be plugged into cannabis news. Because cannabis laws are relatively new, they continue to shift across much of the country. Caregivers and their patients must remain compliant with local laws to continue taking advantage of the medical benefits of the drug. What’s more, caregivers should pay attention to emerging information about the effects of cannabis, to ensure their patients are using cannabis compounds optimally for their unique health situation. You can look online for cannabis community news, or you can talk to Budtenders at a nearby Florida dispensary to understand any changes that directly impact you and your patient.
Being a medical marijuana caregiver isn’t an easy job, but it is one your loved one needs to feel comfortable and manage their current health condition. If you are incapable of or unqualified for this caregiving role, you should be able to find a professional medical marijuana caregiver able to provide your loved one with the support they need.