What Does It Mean To Be A Medical Marijuana Caregiver?

What Does It Mean To Be A Medical Marijuana Caregiver?

This article was originally published on The Cannabis Community and appears here with permission.

A caregiver is someone who provides support to another individual who is unable to care for themselves. In the context of medical marijuana, caregivers are responsible for providing support to patients who use cannabis as treatment. Becoming a caregiver for medical marijuana patients is a great way to help others and be part of the cannabis industry. 

What Is a Medical Marijuana Caregiver?

A medical marijuana caregiver is someone who is authorized to provide cannabis to a person (patient) for medical purposes. Most states now allow caregivers to be used in their established medical marijuana programs, although they have varying definitions of what a caregiver is. Both the patient and the caregiver are shielded from state criminal punishment in these states by statute. That is, assuming that all parties are acting in compliance with the law.

Caregivers assist individuals who are unable to obtain marijuana on their own, such as minors who are unable to enter a dispensary or those who are too ill to leave their house. Patients usually choose their own caregivers to look after their requirements. This might be a parent, guardian, nurse, spouse, or other suitable close relatives. ​ A parent or legal representative must be the patient’s caregiver if they are under the age of 18.

Is a Caregiver Necessary?

For those who are above 21, hiring a caregiver is not required, but a caregiver is strongly encouraged for individuals whose illness makes medical marijuana difficult to obtain or consume. People who struggle with fine motor skills or who need help moving around are usually urged to choose a caregiver.

Patients under the age of 18 must choose a caregiver, and they are not permitted to possess or use marijuana if their caregiver is not present. ​

What Are the Responsibilities of a Medical Marijuana Caregiver?

Although this will vary greatly from state to state, registered medical marijuana caregivers have several common responsibilities.

As a caregiver, it is essential that they handle medical cannabis products on behalf of a qualified patient and provide it to them as directed. Caregivers help patients administer or take medical marijuana. This involves preparing the medication for the patient and distributing it to them. Any method of preparing cannabis for the patient might be included, such as making tinctures, edibles, capsules, or marijuana flowers to smoke.

Patients choose their own cannabis caregivers in most states. The patient normally only has one or two caregivers, despite the fact that the caregiver may have multiple patients. Unless a patient is a minor under the age of 18, a personal relationship between caregivers and patients is not required. To be registered and recognized, caregivers must submit a formal application to their state government. Every state has a different application procedure and set of requirements for registering caregivers.

Unless their state allows adult usage, caregivers must make sure the patient receiving medical cannabis gets a doctor’s recommendation. If the patient was given the go-ahead to use marijuana for medical purposes, caregivers must ensure the patient’s medical marijuana card is renewed before it expires.

Cannabis must be lawfully accessible to caregivers. They may either produce their own or buy it directly from an authorized dispensary. Medical marijuana possession amounts should comply with state restrictions. If the state has set up a growing program and the qualified patient has been given permission to cultivate for personal use, then the caregiver can grow the permitted number of plants for the patient.

If a patient is too unwell or otherwise unable to get to the doctor or dispensary on their own, caretakers may provide transportation for them or deliver medical marijuana to the patient’s residence or another authorized permanent location.

What Are the Restrictions of a Medical Marijuana Caregiver?

There are restrictions on what caregivers can do to their patients. 

The cannabis belonging to a patient cannot be sold or distributed by the caregiver to anybody else. Cannabis cannot be grown by caregivers for anybody other than the specified recipients. No cannabis or marijuana-related products  belonging to cannabis patients may be consumed by cannabis caregivers. Unless they also possess their own medical card or reside in a state that permits adult consumption, they are not allowed to use any cannabis

As is the situation for medical marijuana patients themselves, it is likewise unlawful to carry marijuana over state borders.

Who Can Be a Medical Marijuana Caregiver?

Each state has its own specific requirements and procedures for becoming a cannabis caregiver. Always verify the specific legislation in your state. 

A caregiver often has to be both a state resident and a citizen of the United States. A few states let caregivers be as young as 18, but the majority of states mandate that they be at least 21 years old

Most states prohibit the medical marijuana caregiver from also being the patient’s physician, so your caregiver should not be the doctor you see for your state’s medical marijuana certification. 

Caregivers need to sign up with the state medical marijuana registry. The registration and payment for this are entirely different from those of the medical marijuana patient. The caregiver will receive a medical marijuana card as a result of this registration, which they can use at the dispensary on behalf of the patient or patients under their care. Caregiver registration is often only valid for a year or two. Similar to medical marijuana users, caregivers must renew their licenses every year or every two years.

Medical marijuana patients can also be caregivers to others. In most states, a person can have a medical marijuana license for their own personal use while also serving as the authorized caregiver for another patient. A caregiver may only use medical marijuana in this specific situation.

What Makes a Good Marijuana Caregiver?

Choosing a designated caregiver entails picking a trustworthy individual. They must be prepared to learn about the regulations, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of medical marijuana. It’s critical that both the patient and caregiver are at ease with the medication’s use and any potential consequences for the patient. It must be possible for them to access medical marijuana for the patient, whether by placing an order or buying it personally. The caregiver must also meet the qualifying standards of state law.

​Many patients choose their family members to be their caregivers, but you can choose anybody you feel comfortable with, who is dependable and knowledgeable about your medical requirements. A caregiver needs dependable transportation and a functional understanding of cannabis basics. 

How To Become a Good Medical Marijuana Caregiver

Being a good medical marijuana caregiver is important because you are responsible for administering regulated medication to someone who cannot access it on their own. You will have a direct impact on their health and wellbeing, so it isn’t a role to take lightly. Here’s what you can do to ensure you’re providing the best possible care for your patient(s).

  1. Educate Yourself on Cannabis Basics and Administration Techniques

Patients under your care may require caregiver assistance in selecting the best strain and delivery technique. It’s important to keep in mind that medical marijuana is a health product and treatment that doesn’t have to make patients feel impaired. Caregivers play a significant role in this since selecting a medical marijuana strain, along with administering and delivering the right dosage, are the most crucial aspects of medical marijuana treatment. Caretakers need to understand the different types of strains, forms, and procedures since each patient responds differently to medication.

  1. Understand the Laws of Your State

Both patients and caregivers must abide by the regulations that apply in each state. You and anybody in your care will stay safe if you are completely informed of the restrictions on medical marijuana usage in your state. The laws of your state may differ significantly from those of other states. Ensure you are familiar with your state’s legislation.

  1. Always Think About What’s Best for the Patient 

In procuring, purchasing, delivering, or administering medical marijuana, caregivers actively advocate for the patients under their care. To ensure that the patient under your care is receiving the best treatment, you can speak with their doctor about their requirements and ensure their best interests are taken care of in terms of a comprehensive treatment plan.

  1. Take Care of Yourself 

The last piece of advice is crucial for everyone who provides care in any capacity, even when medical marijuana isn’t involved. In order to provide the best care for someone you are responsible for, you must first take care of yourself. When you are healthy and happy, you will be able to provide the greatest care for those you are responsible for.

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