The Rise of The Medical Cannabis Industry

As medical science expands its understanding of cannabis, more patients every year are using the plant and its extracts to treat a variety of symptoms including pain. Medical Marijuana has been legalized in 33 states as well as D.C. with restricted access and more stringent guidelines being the law of the land in thirteen other states. But like any other treatment, medical cannabis is not inexpensive and continued use could result in financial hardship. In Washington, some patients may be eligible for some help with those costs. The Washington CannaBusiness Association has announced an effort to help cannabis patients relieve some of the costs involved

As reported by Debbie Cockrell of The News Tribune, The Washington CannaBusiness Association has announced that its Washington Medical Access Fund is accepting applications from qualifying cannabis patients to help offset product costs. This program is similar to existing programs that are meant to help patients offset the costs of their prescription drugs, or patient assistance programs (PAP). The money that qualifying participants would receive through the non-profit Washington Medical Access Fund would be a one-time grant of $100, and would only be made available to select patients that are experiencing financial hardship. 

cannabis, medical marijuana, health

The eligibility for application to this program would require patients to either currently be in possession of a Washington state medical marijuana card or otherwise possessing valid documentation of a qualifying medical diagnosis that is not able to be treated by any other form of treatment, including standard medicinal treatments as outlined by state guidelines by state-licensed medical providers. Valid medical diagnosis under this guideline would include: 

Various forms of Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as other autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorders.

▪ Chronic pain.

▪ Glaucoma, both whether it’s chronic or acute.

▪ Crohn’s disease for patients dealing with debilitating symptoms.

▪ Hepatitis-C for patients with debilitating nausea or intractable pain.

▪ Diseases may include anorexia, which results in nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity.

▪ Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.

▪ Any form of posttraumatic stress disorder.

▪ Forms of traumatic brain injury.

In terms of defining financial hardship that would make patients eligible for this specific program, patients would either have to be currently receiving medical care or having a limited income that is up to four times the federal poverty level. The cost of living would be determined by the size of that patient’s family as well as current medical costs. Other financial issues may be taken into account and should be listed on the application. Although this specific grant applies only to Washington state resident, there is room for programs such as this to benefit patients in other states.

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