Can You Get a Medical Card Under 18?
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Grown-ups have the autonomy to decide for themselves. Medical cannabis laws give them the authority to get medical marijuana.

However, the situation is different for children. After all, the medical conditions that often necessitate medical marijuana treatment do not distinguish between adults and minors. Maladies like treatment-resistant seizure disorders, cancer, terminal illness, and various other conditions also affect children.

In states where recreational marijuana is legal, adults have the option to get marijuana easily for their health needs. But unfortunately, minors are not allowed to purchase recreational marijuana.

Furthermore, for chronically-ill children who could benefit from medical marijuana, being part of a medical marijuana treatment program is crucial to access medical cannabis.

As a result, can minors get medical cards?


Medical Marijuana Card: The Compulsory Age Requirement

Recreational marijuana usage, much like cigarettes and alcohol, is restricted to adults only, beginning at either age 18 or 21. It depends on state regulations.

In certain states, their official government websites refer to the legal recreational policies and programs as “Adult Use Marijuana” instead of simply “recreational.”

Thus, obtaining medical marijuana for children remains illegal unless there is a medical program in the state and a medical card for the child under 18.

Many parents aim to set a responsible example for their children by obeying the laws. As they cannot afford the penalties, legal costs, and other complications associated with a marijuana-related offense.

Despite strongly believing that medical marijuana would benefit their child, parents cannot take the risk due to these potential consequences.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean children have no options for obtaining medical cannabis. It is still possible to get a medical card even if the child is under 18.

Quality Requirements of the Patient

A state medical treatment program requires states to establish medical purchasing systems aimed at guaranteeing product quality control. This is crucial because medical marijuana serves as a medication and must adhere to strict quality and dosage standards.

In contrast, artisanal weed is intended for recreational use and relaxation. Consequently, it doesn’t need to meet the stringent CBD and THC content regulations.

However, if you are using cannabis for medical purposes, it is essential to be aware of the precise chemical composition of your medication to ensure the most effective therapeutic response.

Unless you are cultivating and testing your own high-quality CBD products, it is important to rely on qualified and reputable dispensaries that have been thoroughly vetted and licensed by state regulators.

Ensuring the provision of superior products and services is an integral part of a state’s comprehensive medical marijuana program.

These benefits are accessible to medical card holders, and it is essential to ensure that children also have access to them.


How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Medical Marijuana Card?

Fortunately, with increasing awareness of the therapeutic advantages of cannabis, more states have established medical marijuana programs.

Thankfully, many of these states also permit medical marijuana treatment for minors with qualifying conditions that can be addressed with cannabis.

Minors are not allowed to apply for medical marijuana cards on their own, necessitating their parents or adult guardians to apply on their behalf and also apply for the required caregiver cards.

In states where recreational cannabis is not legal until age 21, individuals aged 18-20 might be eligible to get a medical card.

When it comes to Out-of-State Medical Marijuana, parents or primary caregivers are responsible for purchasing, storing, and administering natural cannabis medication because minors are not permitted to enter medical marijuana dispensaries or handle marijuana themselves.

Sometimes, caregiver card reciprocity might enable caregivers and patients to get temporary licenses in certain states during visits and vacations, ensuring continuity of treatment even when the family is traveling.

Using medical marijuana for kids eliminates the need to wait until they reach adulthood to treat medical conditions holistically with natural medicine. As a parent, you no longer have to struggle between helping your child and adhering to cannabis laws.

However, the question of whether minors can get medical cards in a particular state still varies. To learn more about your options, you will need to check your state’s rules and regulations.


How to Get a Medical Card Under 18

Once you’ve established the availability of medical marijuana programs for children in your state, the subsequent step is familiarizing yourself with the regulations applicable within your state. In general, several factors should be taken into account.


The Moral and Ethical Implications

The debate surrounding medical marijuana use in minors raises significant moral and ethical questions. Critics argue that the developing brains of minors may be more susceptible to the potential long-term effects of cannabis use. Additionally, concerns regarding potential abuse, improper dosage, and lack of long-term research remain prevalent in the discussion.

On the other hand, advocates argue that medical marijuana can be a lifesaving treatment for minors with severe medical conditions. When traditional medications have failed to provide relief, medical cannabis may offer a viable alternative with fewer side effects.


Varying Medical Qualification & Treatment Considerations

Given that children are still in the process of growing and developing, states must exercise even greater caution when considering the use of medications or therapeutic treatments for them compared to adults.

Due to the limited knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids on brain development, states tend to adopt a cautious approach, implementing medical programs that only permit marijuana usage in specific situations where potential benefits are deemed to significantly outweigh potential risks.

Consequently, certain states may restrict the use of marijuana to treat only a few conditions, resulting in limited qualifying conditions for children to access a medical card for those under 18.

In some cases, other treatments may be required by certain states. For instance, if a child has epilepsy, it might be necessary to demonstrate that traditional anti-seizure medications were tried but proven ineffective.

Additionally, the level of medical monitoring and treatment for children may vary among states, leading to different requirements, such as obtaining approval from two physicians before issuing a medical card for those under 18. Moreover, some states might mandate that the treating physician be a licensed pediatrician instead of a general practitioner, and extra follow-up and monitoring may be necessary.

Moreover, depending on the state, some medical card programs for under 18 patients might be limited to CBD (cannabidiol) only, which lacks the psychoactive effects caused by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), making it a safer option for young patients. This limitation might also apply to adults in certain states.


Identification Verification & Background Checks

Similar to any other medical marijuana application, obtaining a medical card for individuals under 18 will necessitate identity confirmation. This applies to both the caregiver and the minor. The necessary steps involve:

1. Acquiring an identification document or providing a birth certificate for the child.

2. Undergoing background checks for caregivers.

3. Presenting evidence of residency in the state where the application is being made.

The basic process includes checking the regulations in your state concerning medical cards for minors, ensuring that your child’s medical condition and treatment history meet the qualifications set by the state, collaborating with your child’s medical providers to meet the state’s medical documentation requirements, and completing the state applications for both the minor and caregiver cards.

These steps involve verification of identification and residency, performing background checks where necessary, and paying relevant fees.


Some Interesting State Facts

In California, due to the less strict laws compared to other states, there are often inquiries about obtaining a medical marijuana card for minors.

For minors in California, parental or guardian approval and involvement are required until they reach 18 years old. However, between the ages of 18 and 20, they can acquire their own card independently, keeping in mind that recreational marijuana is legal at 21 years old.

An intriguing development took place in Illinois when “Ashley’s Law” was enacted in 2018, championed by Ashley Surin and her family. Here is a brief summary of the law:

1. Parents have the authority to administer medical cannabis on school premises.

2. Specially trained school nurses are allowed to oversee or administer the cannabis to the child.

3. The law applies to non-smokable forms of marijuana, such as edibles, patches, oils, topicals, and other similar products.

Ashley, who was twelve years old, had faced an early battle with leukemia that resulted in debilitating, treatment-resistant seizures as a side effect of chemotherapy. Fortunately, CBD treatments proved effective in controlling her seizures and offered her the opportunity to experience a more normal childhood.


Medical Cannabis and Minors – Controversies and Considerations

The topic of medical marijuana for minors remains a contentious issue, with valid arguments on both sides. Proponents argue that medical cannabis can offer relief for various medical conditions. In such cases, the benefits may outweigh potential risks.

On the other hand, opponents raise concerns about the impact of marijuana on developing brains. Therefore, striking the right balance between compassionate medical care and safeguarding the well-being of minors is essential.


Also Read: How Much Does A Medical Marijuana Card Cost?



As the landscape of medical marijuana continues to change, so too may the rules and regulations regarding minors’ access to this form of treatment. Ensuring the health and safety of minors while addressing their medical needs will remain at the forefront of this ongoing discussion.

By Kif Team

The Kif Team has expert team of writers with a profound understanding of holistic medicine. We specialize in assisting individuals in obtaining their medical marijuana cards. We firmly believe in the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis for various health conditions. Our mission is to educate and enlighten as many people as possible about its potential advantages.

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