How to Get an MMJ Card for Your Child

Everybody’s heard about adults getting a medical marijuana card for themselves. Seniors particularly have made a huge splash in the news, especially as the fastest-growing demographic of new cannabis users. However, mention cannabis for kids and people will think you’re crazy?” Yet, kids suffering from cancer, epilepsy, and all sorts of other conditions are often given highly addictive pharmaceuticals. Why should we refuse something that could not only help them but is also far less dangerous? That’s why our physicians see minors too.

Plus, anyone who’s heard stories like that of Jayden David’s (of Jayden’s Journey) will come to realize that, yes, there is serious medical potential in medical cannabis and CBD. Medical marijuana is not just a “stepping stone” to legalized recreational use, and the medical applications are very real. For some people, getting access to medical marijuana is literally life-and-death.

Parents who are looking to get their child medical marijuana can do so by following this guide. While not a comprehensive, state-by-state breakdown, it will give you a good, general idea of how to get a medical marijuana card for your child regardless of your home state.

Download Free Guide to Pediatrics and Medical Marijuana + Bonus Dosing Guide
Table of contents
    1. Can a Person Under 18 Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card?
    2. What is a Caregiver?
    3. How Do I Become a Caregiver?
    4. Do I Have to Be a Caregiver for My Child to Get an MMJ Card for Them?
    5. Does My Child Have to Be On the Physician’s Call for Medical Marijuana as Well?
    6. How to Get a Medical Weed Card as a Minor
    7. How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card for Kids Cost?
    8. What ID or Documentation Will I Need for a Medical Cannabis Consultation with My Child?
    9. Will My Child’s Primary Care Physician Be Informed of Their Medical Cannabis Qualification?
    10. Finding the Right Medical Marijuana Doctor
    11. Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Card for My Kids via Telehealth Using Leafwell?
    12. What to Know About Buying Medical Cannabis for Children
    13. Finding the Right Dispensary
    14. Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Children? Finding the Right Product for My Child
    15. Can Caregivers Grow Cannabis?
    16. Applying for Your Child’s Medical Marijuana Card – Conclusion

Can a Person Under 18 Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card?

Put simply, yes. If your child fulfills the qualifying criteria in the appropriate state, they can apply to use medical cannabis. They will need to have a qualified Caregiver, who (in most states) must be at least 21 years of age and has significant responsibilities in caring for the child. Caregivers often will need to fulfill additional criteria to qualify for the role.

As minors can be particularly sensitive to THC,  the qualifying criteria for medical cannabis are often stricter in many states. Some require two physicians’ certificates/recommendations, and/or a pediatric specialist to qualify the patient. Other states will only allow cannabis qualifications for children if they are suffering from a particularly severe condition, such as epilepsy, cancer, and terminal illnesses are some examples.

Please note: we cannot provide a medical marijuana card for minors in Delaware and Georgia.

Cannabis plant next to some prescription pharmaceuticals - opioids.
Seriously sick children can be prescribed addictive opioids and benzodiazepines. Medical marijuana offers a safer alternative.

What is a Caregiver?

A caregiver is someone responsible for managing the well-being and use of cannabis of a person who has been diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition. You do not need to be related to a person to be their caregiver. An attending physician is not a caregiver.

How Do I Become a Caregiver?

This depends on the state. You will need to fill out a form, which will ask you questions about you and the designated patient in your care. In some cases, forms will inquire into any past medical training.

Some states require you to complete a Caregiver Core Certification Course, which includes about 12 or more hours of basic training on the foundations for beginning work as a caregiver. Becoming a caregiver for conditions like dementia may require you to complete more training. You must also prove that you have been the main designated caregiver for the child throughout their lives, usually as a parent or lawful guardian. Again, this depends on the state, but there are some similarities across the states.

In most states, patients can have a maximum of one caregiver who must be at least 21 years of age. There are usually several other rules for caregivers as well, such as not having been convicted for a felony offense (particularly ones involving violence or drug crimes), and not being medical marijuana patients themselves.

Leafwell can help provide more specific state information for caregivers during the certification process.

Do I Have to Be a Caregiver for My Child to Get an MMJ Card for Them?

Yes. Unless the child is legally emancipated, they will need to have a qualified caregiver to get a physician’s certificate or recommendation for a medical marijuana card.

A child needs to have a caregiver in order to qualify for a medical marijuana card. A picture of a mother holding and kissing her child.
Source. Public Domain Picture CC0.

Does My Child Have to Be On the Physician’s Call for Medical Marijuana?

Yes. The physician will need to see your child in order to speak to you and examine them if necessary.

How to Get a Medical Weed Card as a Minor

As a caregiver, you will be applying for medical cannabis on the behalf of someone else and the process is much the same. You will need to fill out your child’s application form (often a specific application form for minors), a caregiver form, and, where allowed, an application form indicating if you wish to grow medical cannabis. You will need to provide identification and proof of residency for both yourself and your child. You may need two physicians’ certificates or the opinion of a pediatric specialist.

Here are general steps for getting a medical marijuana card via telemedicine, whether it’s for you or for your child:

  1. Register online and speak to a licensed physician. Please have appropriate ID for you and your child, as well as a working camera, speakers and microphone on your smartphone, tablet or computer so you can speak and see the doctor.
  2. Following examination, get approved and receive your physician’s medical cannabis certificate or recommendation. Your certificate/recommendation will be emailed to you.
  3. Register with the state Department of Health’s medical marijuana program. You will need to fill out a minor’s medical marijuana card form for your child, and a caregiver’s application for yourself. Sometimes, the caregiver form will be attached to the original application form, in other instances a caregiver application form is separate. The patient application will then list their caregiver/s on the application form.
  4. Receive your child’s medical marijuana card and your caregiver’s card.
  5. You can now shop at a dispensary in your state for appropriate cannabinoid-based medication for your child. You may need to take a photographic ID with you as well. Your child will not be able to enter the dispensary with you.

How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card for Kids Cost?

This varies by state and the number of years the state allows qualification or (Illinois allows for up to three years’ qualification, for example). There are also usually some extra things that are needed that can increase costs compared to an adult’s medical marijuana card, including the caregiver’s medical cannabis identification card and the need for a second physician’s opinion. You can visit our Ultimate Guide to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card for more general information.

The total cost of a medical marijuana card for a child can be between approximately $100 and $500 for an annual certificate and medical marijuana card, depending on state. We try to keep medical cannabis cards for children relatively affordable where we can here at Leafwell. Prices are subject to change.

What ID or Documentation Will I Need for a Medical Cannabis Consultation with My Child?

You will need ID both for yourself and your child. There are some differences from state-to-state, but as a general rule of thumb, you will need:

  • Photo ID of yourself – state-produced ID card, passports, or driver’s licenses are usually acceptable.
  • Your child’s birth certificate.
  • Proof of address from the last two to three months. This can include a rental or mortgage agreement, utility bill (gas, electric, water, broadband bill – not cell phone), or correspondance with a state department (e.g. the DMV).
  • In some states, a criminal background check.
  • Two passport-style photographs of you and your child.
  • Any relevant medical history, including progress notes, medication lists or medical images.
Download Free Guide to Pediatrics and Medical Marijuana + Bonus Dosing Guide

Will My Child’s Primary Care Physician Be Informed of Their Medical Cannabis Qualification?

As the recommendation will be noted on your child’s medical records, your child’s primary care physician will be informed. It is also appropriate to tell your primary care physician if you intend to use medical cannabis for your child to prevent any contraindicated drug prescriptions or treatments. If you need a primary care physician for your child, we here at Leafwell are here to help!

Medical marijuana and children. Mother playing with child.
You can get an MMJ card for your child with Leafwell.

Finding the Right Medical Marijuana Doctor

Some doctors may be reluctant to recommend medical marijuana for a child. However, any parent coming to medical marijuana is usually at their wit’s end, looking for anything that could help or save their child, especially when so many prescription medications have nasty side-effects or fail to help.

Fortunately, Leafwell can see patients through telemedicine. Our doctors can recommend cannabis for patients online through telehealth and reach those who are struggling to find a recommending physician. We are very sensitive and aware of the needs of parents providing MMJ for their children.

Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Card for My Kids via Telehealth Using Leafwell?

Of course! We even have pediatric specialists specifically to help parents and guardians with medical marijuana for their children.

Finding the Right Dispensary

You can have a valid medical marijuana card for a child and everything, but some dispensaries may be reluctant to hand over medical marijuana to parents treating their kids. Most well-run dispensaries, however, will have no problems helping you find an appropriate cannabis medicine for your child.

Finding the right dispensary may require some trial and error, but you can make things easier for yourself by doing plenty of research and asking others you might know for advice. If you are active on social media, there are several parent groups based across the US who are providing their children MMJ. These support networks can be a great help.

Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Children? Finding the Right Product for My Child

Seriously sick children can be prescribed any number of harsh and even addictive medications, including opioids and benzodiazepines. These have a number of short- and long- term negative effects. Medical marijuana is comparatively well-tolerated by the human body, and there is no risk of deadly overdose, even for children.

With this being said, parents must still take care when it comes to giving any medicine to children, including cannabinoid-based ones. We know that, as THC affects CB1 receptors, it is psychoactive. THC can have a negative impact on the developing brain, especially if regular large doses are used. If THC is required, then it is wise to use smaller doses in consultation with a physician.

However, one needn’t use psychoactive amounts of THC to obtain its medical benefits. Even low doses of THC (1 – 3 milligrams), which have little psychoactive effect, can deliver its anti-nausea, anti-tumor, painkilling and sleep-promoting properties. Some children with cancer may need higher doses of THC. Even if this is not ideal, THC is still far safer and more tolerable compared to many medications.

For children, other cannabinoids like CBD, CBDV, THCA and CBC may be more useful, as they do not have the same level of psychoactivity as THC, and are unlikely to cause any long-term changes to the brain, as they are not affecting CB1 receptors in the brain in the same way as THC.

For more information about children and cannabis, read our article ‘What are the benefits and side-effects of medical cannabis for children’.

Can Caregivers Grow Cannabis?

Essentially, being a caregiver gives a person similar rights to patients with regards to their ability to grow cannabis. In some states, caregivers are allowed to cultivate small amounts of medical cannabis within certain requirements. Caregivers also have limits on how many patients for whom they can cultivate. In some states, a specific license is required in order to legally grow medical marijuana.

In California, caregivers can grow up to 12 mature plants, depending on their proximity to a dispensary. Specific strains of cannabis not grown by the local dispensary can be grown by the caregiver. Caregivers cannot use cannabis for themselves unless they are registered medical marijuana patients.

Applying for Your Child’s Medical Marijuana Card – Conclusion

For those completing a medical marijuana card application for someone else, it is the same process as completing it for themselves – they just have to confirm that they’re applying for someone else and give their Caregiver ID number on the form. Getting a medical marijuana card for a minor shouldn’t be too difficult, as children suffering from conditions requiring medical marijuana tend to have vast, detailed medical records proving their illness and lists of medications given to them.

We hope the above guide serves as a helpful resource to obtaining a medical marijuana card for your child.

Download Free Guide to Pediatrics and Medical Marijuana + Bonus Dosing Guide

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Written by
Dr. Lewis Jassey

Dr. Lewis Jassey has been a pediatrician over the last 25 years, run a practice of 15,000 patients, and been on staff at five major hospitals for over two decades. Dr. Jassey has carved a niche for himself successfully working with patients on the spectrum, as well as patients with a variety of mental health issues. He lectures on a national level, with expertise in pharmacogenetics and pharmacology.

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