By Nicole Mongelli

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been a hot topic for years for both legality and health reasons. Even with some remaining nay-sayers, it has become more mainstream every year and currently 33 states permit marijuana use for medical reasons. This number continues to grow on a yearly basis. Majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, even though the federal government has labeled it an illegal substance.

Some proponents have hailed marijuana as a cure-all. Unfortunately, scientific research needs to be done to verify this conclusive statement. Overall, marijuana’s powers seem to have been overgeneralized. There is promising emerging scientific evidence that medical marijuana can be used to help pain, reduce inflammation, treat neurological disorders and improve sleep.

If marijuana has helped you with any of the conditions above, your doctor may require you to obtain a medical marijuana license so you can continue to use it while on concurrent medications. Even though marijuana is legal in Nevada, being a medical marijuana cardholder will decrease the sales tax on the products you buy, and grant you basic healthcare protections. For example, an employer is not required to allow medical marijuana in the workplace, but the law does require them to make reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of a medical marijuana cardholder.

The full process to become a registered cardholder is as follows:

Step 1. Qualify: To become a licensed medical marijuana patient in Nevada, you must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition by a participating healthcare professional. These include:

Anorexia Nervosa
Anxiety Disorders
Autoimmune Disease
Cachexia (malnutrition associated with disease)
Chronic Pain
Neuropathic conditions
Opioid dependence or addiction
Persistent Muscle Spasms (including MS)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Severe Nausea

If you do have one of these conditions, talk to your doctor about the idea of medical marijuana and whether or not you would benefit from using it. You’ll need this documented for your application. Some physicians do not participate in making medical marijuana recommendations, so ask your healthcare provider what their office policy is.

Step 2. Register: Once you have qualifying documentation to verify your condition, you should register as a potential patient on the Nevada Medical Marijuana Cardholder Registry by visiting

Step 3. Apply: You’ll need to apply via the website where you registered. You’ll request an application which you’ll print, fill out, and send in. You’ll also need a copy of the front and back of your government issued identification card and a money order for the $25 processing fee. The website will have specific instructions on the next steps and where to mail your application. The state will then send paperwork that you and your physician need to fill out. The following documentation from your attending physician will be required:

1. Diagnosis of a debilitating condition
2. That medical marijuana can benefit the condition
3. That possible risks of medical marijuana have been discussed with your physician

This document will also include all of your physician’s information (name, address, telephone number) and the patient’s information (name, address, telephone number, date of birth and social security number)

Step 4. Shop: You will receive notification once you have been approved, and you will receive your card in the mail. You should then visit a Licensed Nevada Cannabis Store to purchase your medical marijuana. The list of all legally licensed medical dispensaries in the state can be found at There are currently 6 in Reno and 4 in Sparks. Be sure to check it as things may change periodically.

Other Resources

Medical Marijuana Assistance Program: Visit and fill out a short form, you could be eligible for financial support.

Patient Support: WECAN, Wellness Education Cannabis Advocates of Nevada is a platform for people to post and discuss medical marijuana experiences,

If your doctor doesn’t participate in medical marijuana verification, you can try a local center that specializes in medical marijuana evaluations, like Elements Health Care Center. Visit


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