I want to get off zoloft & onto medical MJ for anxiety
November 4, 2012 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible for a doctor in a state in which medial marijuana is not legal to write a prescription for a patient in that same state?

North Carolina resident here. Neighbor upstairs has chronic back pain & several fused vertebrae over 3 separate operations so far. He is afraid of becoming dependent on pain meds, so a friend sends him medical marijuana from a state in which is it legal.

He mentioned his concerns to his doctor who offered to prescribe the marijuana for him.

1) Is that even possible?
2) Would it be possible for me to extract myself from a decade long, low level zoloft prescription for anxiety & begin a prescription for medical marijuana?

I'd rather have immediate control over my dosage than have a build up or drop down lag, and I'm also increasingly annoyed with supporting big pharma.

I'd partake using a vaporizer, like Ploom, not smoking it.

I have smoked MJ before many times, & would like to return to it from a known source rather than whatever flavor happens to be available on the street.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For #1, I see nothing about medical cannabis in North Carolina on norml's site: http://norml.org/laws/item/north-carolina-penalties-2?category_id=877. So.... I'm sure the doctor could prescribe it for him or for you, but I don't think that will help in a legal setting. You might get some consideration from a judge if it came to that, but it doesn't look like there is anything on the books to back you up.

As for #2, you should talk to your doctor about that. It is possible, but you really should talk to your doctor about that option. Could work for you (works for a lot of people), but isn't something to just try willy-nilly, especially if you've been on the SSRI for as long as you have.
posted by ish__ at 7:20 AM on November 4, 2012

NC doesn't have a medical marijuana law. The state that the marijuana is coming from probably has rules about who is allowed to prescribe/recommend (the language may vary) it for patients, and your friend's doctor is probably not in any of those categories, if he isn't licensed to practice in that state. In any case, the Feds don't give a shit about this, in the sense that they don't recognize that the state considers it legal. To the Feds, and very likely to your state lawmakers and enforcers, possession is still going to be illegal.

Regarding switching from Zoloft to weed for anxiety control: Maybe? Many people with anxiety disorders seem to find that weed makes the symptoms worse, not better. Many people find it works for them. Your mileage is going to vary on that.
posted by rtha at 7:35 AM on November 4, 2012

As others say, MJ is illegal in North Carolina, for any reason. Your friend doesn't have a prescription for it, nor can a NC doctor write such a prescription.

Just because his out-of-state friend calls what he mails to your friend "medical marijuana" doesn't make it qualify as medical marijuana unless that out-of-state friend is himself a doctor and is getting it from a state-approved grower --- no, his basement setup doesn't count! --- and even if he were a doctor, at the very least it would be unethical (if not outright illegal) to prescribe anything for someone without a medical examination, friend or not. And finally, shipping it through the mails opens up a whole 'nuther can of 'interstate shipment of class x substances' worms.

So, all in all: sorry, but there is currently no legal way for you to get medical marijuana in NC, no matter whether you intend to smoke it or use a vaporizer.
posted by easily confused at 7:59 AM on November 4, 2012

There are a few things off in your neighbor's story.

Did your neighbor travel to that state and get a legitimate prescription? Nearly all the states require proof of residency before they give a registry ID card to purchase. MM cannot to transferred to other unregistered people; however, a qualified caregiver can give it to a registered patient. It appears that a more correct statement is that your neighbor has a friend dealing him illegal drugs which your neighbor uses to manage chronic pain.

If you legally want medical marijuana you need to find a state where you are able to get a prescription. It's extremely likely you'll need to travel there to pick it up because qualified caregivers aren't going to mail to you in a state where it's illegal. Even with a legal Rx, you're still going to be subject to your state's possession laws.
posted by 26.2 at 8:50 AM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

A couple of points (and the short answer is no):

-- Every state that has authorized medical cannabis explicitly restricts it to state residents only. There is no way to get legal authorization as an out of state resident. (A handful have reciprocity agreements with other mmj states, but that does not include NC.)

-- Marijuana acquired as legal medical cannabis loses that legal protection as soon as it leaves that state. It will be of the same quality and so on, but is subject to the laws of the state it is in.

-- Doctors do not prescribe medical marijuana, even in states where it is legal, they recommend it. There is no prescription for mmj anywhere (although, yes, people do say "prescribe" all the time.)

-- Your best bet, given your quality concerns, is the standard adage to "know your dealer". There are no legal avenues for you to acquire either a recommendation or a supply.

-- Whether or not it will work better for you than zoloft isn't really knowable unless you try it, and doing that with your doctor's advice, knowledge, and support is a good idea.

The other option, of course, is to work with advocates in NC to help pass a mmj law there. There's some great drug policy reform work happening in NC right now, which you could support, although I don't know how much they're working on mmj.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:13 AM on November 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Medical patient in Michigan here ho has been active at times in helping support such measures.
First off, no doctor anywhere "prescribes" cannabis. It is merely a recommendation. Due to federal law a doctor could potentially lose their license to practice for scripting schedule one drugs (which cannabis falls under, ironically they have "no medincinal application" yet the government holds patents on active thc and other cannibinols).
Second, has to be in your state and NC isnt a medical state. Third "medical cannabis" is simply a term that means good quality cannabis. It is a plant. It doesnt need anything more than soil or a hydro setup. Doesnt matter if its grown in a field, greenhouse or yes a basement. Cannabis is cannabis but not all is created equal."Approved medicine" is simply gimicks used in the industry to brag about thc levels and inflate the prices of cannabis. Ive seen this in Michigan and I am sure it happens elsewhere.
/been "medicating" for over 6 years. Ive seen amazing cannabis from all types of setups and different growers. Only thing i look for is organic with no pesticides and the absence of fungus/mould and or pests. Which any good grower can easily avoid making those mistakes
posted by handbanana at 6:45 AM on November 5, 2012

Also talk to your doctor about tapering off Zoloft. It was a bitch for me when I cut it out cold turkey. Do.not.recommend.

Cannabis could help but different strains help in different ways. There are indicas and sativas with many different blends of the two. Cannabis could help but it does take a little bit of trial and error. Plus the side effect s of being high become normalized and not as intense with regular and increased usage. Only potential harm I see for trying it is legal repercussions within your state.
posted by handbanana at 6:54 AM on November 5, 2012

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