Medical marijuana makes life easier for people dealing with glaucoma, cancer, chronic pain, Alzheimer, or other conditions. It’s an alternative used to relieve pain as long as they live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Every state has laws establishing if and how people can use medical marijuana (more than two-thirds of American states legalized it). Sadly, not all US states are on the same page regarding the health benefits marijuana has for patients, making travelling a challenging business.
What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana is a compound from the marijuana plant used to improve medical conditions. It’s identical with recreational marijuana, only that people use it for medical purposes. The marijuana plant has over 100 cannabinoids, each of them affecting the human body differently. The plant’s active chemicals are similar to the ones from the human system involved in pain, movement, memory, moods, and appetite.
Why do people use medical marijuana when travelling?
Your medical conditions may make it challenging for you to travel (whether you do it for fun or work). Driving or flying for hours feels excruciating when you suffer from chronic pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or mental health issues. But you can alleviate your symptoms if you use medical marijuana. Here is how.
Chronic pain – people are using medical marijuana to improve the symptoms related to severe arthritis. Pain relief is an excellent motivation to try medical marijuana for the first time. Pain management is vital when suffering from a chronic condition because it improves the quality of life. Trials involving the effectiveness of medical marijuana for this purpose prove that it can work for pain because the cannabinoid chemicals from the marijuana plant target the endocannabinoid system and interact with the physical aspect of pain, relieving it. Pain works as an alarm system in your body and activates the brain’s emotional part that tells you to stop from whatever you’re doing and fix it. But when you suffer from chronic pain, there’s nothing to fix, so you use medical marijuana to numb that reaction. If your job implies frequent travelling, you need medical marijuana to handle the exhaustion your body experiences when you stay put in the same place for hours.
Multiple sclerosis – medical marijuana can help patients with multiple sclerosis with stiffness and spasticity symptoms that make it difficult to move and trigger painful muscle spasms. The patients who used medical marijuana to improve their multiple sclerosis report that it improved their symptoms. Reports show that cannabis can improve spasticity, so it can be used for all medical conditions that cause this side-effect. Multiple sclerosis already makes it difficult to move and leave the house. If you cannot use medical marijuana because you’re travelling, the symptoms can be unbearable, forcing you to take traditional medicine that has daunting side-effects.
Cancer – the interaction between medical marijuana and chemotherapy is well explored because patients undergoing cancer treatment need help to overcome their side-effects. A study from 2015 states that patients who have chemotherapy and use medical marijuana are three times less likely to experience nausea and five times less likely to vomit than those who used a placebo. The research proved that medical marijuana is as effective as anti-nausea medicine for some patients, with the perk that it has fewer side-effects.
Mental health issues – dealing with depression and anxiety is daunting. Add frequent travelling to the mix, and you get an impossible combination. Your house is your safe place, and you struggle with your emotions every time you have to leave it because of work. Your therapist may have recommended using medical marijuana to help with your mental health issues, but unfortunately, travel restrictions can prevent you from taking the treatment to alleviate your symptoms.
But you can still travel with medical marijuana, here is how
The Marijuana Policy Project reports that 29 American states have medical marijuana laws, and this leaves 21 states where you aren’t allowed to use it, even if your doctor prescribed it. This leaves you vulnerable if you visit one of them, but let’s look at the bright side, you can use it in many places. However, to make sure that you won’t experience legal issues when stopped for airport checks, you should get a Colorado medical card that motivates the possession of marijuana. You wouldn’t be the only individual having a card because they’re travelling outside their state’s borders. Most frequent travellers have MMJ cards in multiple states to ensure they can take their treatment no matter where they travel. Why do you need this card if you travel from a legalized state to another? The act of crossing the borders with marijuana is illegal if you don’t have a prescription or medical card to justify its use. Because there is a disconnection between state and federal marijuana laws, getting your marijuana in an airplane puts you in a legal gray zone. A few airports have legalized it and don’t have policies to prohibit it on their premises, but not all facilities are marijuana-friendly, and it’s best to have your MMJ card with you.
The moment you get to the security checkpoints, you’re stepping on federal territory, and the federal regulations govern the TSA’s screening procedures. This means that your legal possession can quickly turn into a prohibited item.
When you travel with medical marijuana, take some cautions
- Keep it out of sight, and if you’re driving, store it in the trunk in a closed bag.
- Don’t offer law enforcement a reason to stop you for a check, even if you use it for medical purposes.
- Be respectful if they stop you and provide them with all the information and paperwork they need.
- Check if your condition is eligible for using medical marijuana if you travel out of state.
If you’re a rookie when it comes to used medical cannabis, get in touch with your doctor to guide you through the steps you must follow if you want to use it while travelling.