Medicinal cannabis

Medicinal cannabis

If you have a physician’s recommendation to use cannabis, you can:

  • Buy cannabis products with more THC
  • Buy more cannabis at a time, if needed for your medical condition
  • Possess more cannabis
  • Grow more plants at home, if needed for your medical condition
  • Get a medical marijuana ID card

Even with a physician’s recommendation, you must follow laws about where you can use cannabis.

Eligible medical conditions

Your primary care physician can recommend cannabis to help you manage any of these medical conditions:

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine
  • Severe nausea
  • Persistent muscle spasms (for example, spasms caused by multiple sclerosis)
  • Seizures (for example, epileptic seizures)

Your physician can also recommend cannabis to help with chronic or persistent medical symptoms that either:

  • Substantially limit your ability to conduct major life activities
  • May cause serious harm to your safety, physical health or mental health

Medical marijuana ID cards

You can get a medical marijuana ID card with a physician’s recommendation. Medical marijuana ID cards are voluntary. If you have one, your cannabis purchases are exempt from sales and use tax.

Medical marijuana ID cards are valid for up to one year. Both patients and their primary caregiver can get a card.

How to get a medical marijuana ID card

  1. Fill out the application
    Download and complete the medical marijuana ID card application form.
  2. Gather your supporting documents
    When you apply, you’ll need a copy of your medical recommendation, proof of identity (driver’s license or other government-issued ID), proof of residency that shows your name and current address (like a rent or mortgage agreement, utility bill, or California motor vehicle registration)
  3. Make an appointment with your county health department
    You must submit your application in person. Contact the health department for the county you live in for an appointment.
  4. Go to your appointment
    You’ll pay an application fee and have your photo taken for your ID card. Application fees vary by county, but they are not more than $100. If you’re applying as a primary caregiver, the patient will need to come to your appointment with you. If you receive healthcare through Medi-Cal, your application fee is reduced by 50%. If you receive healthcare through a medically-indigent service program, your application fee is waived.
  5. Wait for approval
    It can take up to 35 days for the county health department to issue your medical marijuana ID card.

What to do if your application is denied

You can file an appeal with the California Department of Public Health if your county health department denies your application. There is no fee to appeal.

Who is a primary caregiver

Primary caregivers are responsible for a patient’s everyday needs, such as:

  • Housing
  • Health
  • Safety

Primary caregivers must be at least 18 years old and may include:

  • A parent
  • The owner, operator or employee of a licensed facility, such as:
    • A clinic
    • Hospice
    • Home health agency