Medical marijuana is a safe and natural alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals for the treatment of chronic pain and debilitating health issues. As Florida begins its transition toward this holistic approach to medical treatment, we are committed to staying at the forefront of the field with integrity and compassionate, client-focused care.
Experience matters. Dr. Lora L. Brown has 17 years of experience in interventional pain therapy and has served for two Florida governors on the prescription drug abuse task force. When you receive a recommendation from Dr. Brown, or anyone on her AMRX team, for medical cannabis, you can rest assured that you are getting the highest standard of care from one of the state’s most trusted and respected physicians.
If you would like to learn if medical marijuana is right for you, please call us today at 727-209-5470 to schedule a personal consultation with an expert AMRX healthcare professional. We welcome patients from Tampa, St. Petersburg and throughout Florida.
On this page, you can learn more about:
- What is medical marijuana?
- What conditions can medical marijuana treat?
- How does the process work?
- Is medical marijuana safe?
- Legal types of medical marijuana in Florida
- Benefits of medical marijuana
- Medical marijuana for seniors
- Discreet home delivery
- Is medical marijuana right for me?
- Contact us today
Medical marijuana, or medical cannabis, is a term that refers to the use of the marijuana plant or its extracts to treat a disease or symptom. Marijuana contains certain chemicals called cannabinoids. These chemicals are related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal mind-altering element of marijuana. THC reduces nausea and increases appetite, making it an effective treatment for patients with chronic pain, cancer and a number of other health conditions.
Following scientific studies, the FDA has approved two pill-form medications that contain THC: nabilone and dronabinol, both of which are used to treat nausea and weight-loss associated with cancer and AIDS. However, the marijuana plant itself has not yet been recognized or approved by the FDA as medicine. When determining the risks and benefits of a possible medication, the FDA requires a large amount of data, stemming from carefully-conducted studies in hundreds to thousands of human subjects. As of today, there have not been enough large-scale clinical trials to demonstrate the benefits of the marijuana plant compared to those of its cannabinoid ingredients.
Florida voters approved medical marijuana in November 2016. The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, supported the legalization of medical cannabis for people with certain debilitating diseases or comparable conditions as determined by a licensed state physician. Amendment 2 stipulates that the Department of Health must regulate the production and distribution of medical marijuana and issues identification cards for patients or their legal representatives.
There are a number of conditions medical marijuana can treat. The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative explicitly allows medical cannabis to be used as treatment for the following specific diseases:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Amendment 2 also permits licensed Florida pot doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for other debilitating medical conditions that are comparable to the diseases listed above, such as:
- Muscle spasms
- Chronic pain and illness
- Nerve pain
- Loss of appetite
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain disabilities
In Florida, if you decide you’d like to try medical marijuana, you can’t simply swing by your doctor or local dispensary and pick up a product. There is a detailed process that involves medical records, applications and an established relationship with a state-approved medical marijuana physician.
If you are considering medical marijuana as a treatment method, your first step is to schedule an appointment with one of Dr. Brown’s AMRX healthcare team. During this initial consultation, we will evaluate your medical history and current health to determine if medical cannabis is an appropriate treatment option for your condition.
Medical marijuana will not be provided at the initial consultation. If Dr. Brown has determined that you are a good candidate, you will be issued an order for a specified amount of THC. Once you have applied for and received your ID card, you will work with a dispensary to obtain your medical marijuana.
You can learn more about how to qualify for a medical marijuana card in Florida by visiting this page.
What if I need to change doctors? An unexpected scenario may arise in which you want to find a new physician. We received many calls about this when the California-based Tetra Health Care closed several of their marijuana clinics. In such cases, it is often possible for Dr. Brown to take over your care. Although we will need to update your information with the state and establish your patient information in our system, you will not need to reapply to the state or wait another 30 days for your ID card, depending on where you are in the process. We cannot establish you as a patient until your previous physician has deactivated you in their registry. State law does not allow a patient to receive medical marijuana guidance from more than one doctor at a time. We also cannot credit back any payment you paid to the previous doctor, and you will need to undergo the same new-patient process as our other patients, but we will do everything we can to make your transition as efficient as possible.
Florida has strict rules in place to ensure that medical marijuana is cultivated responsibly and safely. Before being licensed to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana, Florida dispensaries must show that they have been a plant nursery for at least 30 years, and have grown at least 400,000 plants.
When cultivated in state-approved spaces by professionals and prescribed specifically by a doctor, medical cannabis is pure, controlled and very safe, especially when compared to most conventional treatments, like opioids, which can lead to fatal overdoses. Unlike medical marijuana, pharmaceutical drugs can cause permanent medical problems and lead to side effects such as blindness and organ failure.
Marijuana is still a drug, however, and shouldn’t be used by everyone. People who are pregnant or suffer from heart problems or have certain mental issues should not take marijuana as a medical treatment.
While smoking marijuana is still illegal, and can have adverse effects on the lungs, medical marijuana users can get cannabinoids in other forms, such as topicals, tinctures or by using a vaporizer, which lessens the negative impact of smoking.
Users may experience minor side effects, including a sense of drowsiness, dizziness, short-term memory loss and feelings of euphoria or anxiety. If any of these symptoms occur, consult with your AMRX healthcare team. These kinds of side effects are most likely related to too high a dose. Many times, simply reducing your dose or lengthening the interval between doses will alleviate these side effects.
Although it is now legal to ingest medical marijuana, it is illegal to smoke it. Currently, the most popular ingestion methods being offered by Florida dispensaries include:
- Vaporizing: Also known as “vaping”, vaporizing involves heating cannabis to a controlled temperature that releases cannabinoids without actually causing combustion. This allows you to safely inhale light vapor and almost 95 percent of cannabinoids without any of the negative effects of inhaling harsh smoke.
- Tinctures: Perhaps one of the most convenient, effective and underrated delivery methods, tinctures are liquid concentrations of cannabis. Cannabinoids and THC are extracted and infused into alcohol or medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils which can then be ingested with a dropper or dosed sprayer. Tinctures provide excellent dosage control and cannabinoid options.
- Orals: Capsules and other edibles such as wax based compounds and/ or chocolates may be used as an alternative route of administration. Oral ingestion is associated with a lower bio-availability that inhalation or sublingual methods.
- Topicals: When cannabinoids are combined with a penetrating topical cream or salve, they can be applied directly to affected areas to enter the skin and body tissues. Topical cannabis is a popular pain management treatment for many because it does not produce a psychoactive effect.
Marijuana is hardly a new fad. The earliest indication of marijuana use dates back 5,000 years to ancient Romania, where a cup containing burnt hemp seeds was discovered in a burial site.
Cannabis was also recommended for malaria and menstrual cramps in China around the same time.
As the health benefits of medical cannabis are becoming more recognized and less stigmatized, support for the legalization of medical marijuana across the country is steadily increasing.
- Reduces pain
- Reduces nausea
- Reduces vomiting
- Increases appetite in patients who are malnourished or undergoing chemotherapy
- Helps with insomnia
- Eases depression
- Slows the progression of inflammatory diseases
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Promotes healthy digestion
The list above is only a brief synopsis of the many symptoms and medical conditions that can benefit from medical cannabis.
While Americans over the age of 65 account for only 14 percent of the country’s population, they use more than 30 percent of all prescription drugs, including addictive painkillers. Medical cannabis is an ideal way for many seniors to manage both their pain and general health. In fact, a recent survey by Quinnipiac University found that 83 percent of Florida voters aged 65 and older supported medical marijuana.
When a doctor prescribes medical marijuana for seniors, it is important to start with slow doses and keep a close eye on the effects of treatment. Tinctures and topicals are popular options among seniors to address conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis and insomnia.
Although medical marijuana is now legal in Florida, obtaining it can still be incredibly difficult. Your condition may prevent you from driving to a dispensary yourself, or your nearest dispensary may be struggling to keep up with the high demand for medical cannabis products.
We understand how frustrating it can be when you can’t get the treatment you need when you need it.
That’s why most Florida dispensaries offer discreet home delivery services at a reasonable cost to patients who are unable to get medical marijuana themselves. Your medical cannabis can be delivered personally to your door by professional, state-approved carriers. These deliveries are not shipped, but handed directly and discreetly to you or your legal representative.
Millions of people across the country have begun to turn to medical marijuana because it provides relief for a number of health conditions by minimizing symptoms, reducing pain or eliminating certain issues completely. Our patient-demographic encompasses a wide range of ages and lifestyles. Many of our patients are concerned about the toxicity of pharmaceuticals and are seeking a more natural, holistic alternative to traditional opiates.
If you suffer from a condition which can be effectively treated with cannabis, you may be wondering if medical marijuana is right for you. Although it has successfully helped millions of people, it is not right for everyone.
The first step you should take when considering medical marijuana is to meet with Dr. Brown or one of her professional staff members and discuss all of your symptoms, questions and concerns. Having served on the prescription drug abuse task force for two governors in addition to being a nationally-respected authority on interventional pain treatment with 17 years of experience, Dr. Brown is uniquely qualified in her field. She will assess your individual needs, explain all of your options and make a recommendation that is safe, effective and designed specifically for you.
If you live in Florida and are ready to enjoy the health benefits of medical marijuana, please contact us today online or at 727-209-5470 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brown. Our state-of-the-art facility in St. Petersburg welcomes patients from Tampa and throughout the state of Florida.
To comply with Florida law requiring an in-person initial evaluation, the AMRX team plan to host travelling clinics to be held statewide. Ask an AMRX representative about the upcoming schedule to find out when we are in a town near you.