Medical Marijuana Diagnosis & Therapy
Medical marijuana is a natural alternative growing in popularity, with proven healing qualities.
Makin Wellness counselors are here to help.
As we continue to learn about the benefits of medical marijuana, we are constantly discovering new ways of incorporating it into treatment as a natural alternative to traditional psychiatric medication. There is growing research and evidence that shows medical marijuana can be an effective option for those with trauma, anxiety or opioid addiction histories. In order to help answer any potential questions you can have, we will go over the basics for medical marijuana as a treatment option so you can decide whether or not this is a good option for you.
At Makin Wellness, we are licensed to diagnose and provide treatment in the State of Pennsylvania and will talk about the mental health and addiction diagnoses that are currently qualifying conditions. We anticipate this list to grow, as there are many mental health and addiction diagnoses that respond positively to medical marijuana.
Current Qualifying Conditions
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) – Clients who have gone through, observed or even heard about a traumatic event, such as disasters, war, abuse, tragedy, abusive relationships or childhood can develop PTSD. According to PTSD United, About 70% of the US population has experienced some type of traumatic event one in their lives; that’s about 223.4 million people. Out of that, about 20% will develop PTSD. Women are also twice as likely to have PTSD compared to men. Many times PTSD is misdiagnosed as an anxiety or depressive disorder so it is important to see a trauma-informed clinician for an accurate evaluation and diagnosis.
- Opioid Use Disorder – Medical cannabis can help people who are in recovery from opioids as this a much safer alternative. Medical marijuana may also be a good option to ease the symptoms of withdrawal or to limit use. Many have shared that medical marijuana relieves aches, anxiety and urges to use opioids. In the State of PA, 8 major universities are currently conducting medical marijuana research for opioids use disorder so there should be more evidence regarding this shortly.
- Anxiety Disorder– effective July 20, 2019
Medical Marijuana For Anxiety
If you feel like medical marijuana can benefit you, you will first need a written anxiety disorder diagnosis and assessment from a mental health professional like the ones at Makin Wellness!
What’s the Assessment Like?
We can meet online securely or in one of our offices. The evaluation we go through consists of addressing anxiety and fear. We will ask about what your symptoms are, how intense your anxiety and how it impacts your daily living. Talking about anxiety may be stressful, and we are here to support you throughout this evaluation process.
How Do I Start?
Call (833)-274-4325 to set up your session. We offer extremely flexible hours and are so happy to work around your schedule .
You can also take this brief FREE anxiety screening to see if you may have anxiety.
What Happens Next?
If you fit criteria for an anxiety disorder and may benefit from medical cannabis, we can submit a portion of the medical record to either yourself or a certifying physician. We will give you that document same day in the office, securely send it to you electronically or in the mail; it is whatever your preference is! We also can refer you to a medical marijuana certification center or doctor. We recommend certifying doctors that can help you from anywhere in the state.
Can We Still Meet if I Don’t Live In PA?
No. We are currently licensed in the state of Pennsylvania and are able to do evaluations for PA residents only but we are always here to help. We specialize in anxiety, so feel comforted that you are speaking with an expert!
How About Ongoing Treatment?
We can provide ongoing anxiety treatment either virtually or in one of our offices. Insurance can be accepted for that and some plans do cover for virtual counseling. Referrals can be given if you are from outside the Pittsburgh area and prefer to see someone in an office. Our clinical recommendations are highly individualized to suit your needs. Medical cannabis is not the first line of treatment for any anxiety disorder, but should be just in conjunction with other treatment modalities when recommended by your doctor. We are also happy to coordinate care with your certifying physician and dispensary pharmacist with your written consent.
What Should I Bring?
Be sure to have a list of all your current medications , their dosages and any allergies.
What About Insurance?
Insurance does not cover medical marijuana diagnosis evaluations. We are able to use insurance for ongoing counseling and accept most commercial insurance plans. We are not able to currently accept Medicare, Medicaid or state funded insurance .
What if My Employer Drug Tests Me?
Every employer is different, but it is good to have your medical card and proof that you are using cannabis medicinally. If you have additional questions related to the legalities of medical marijuana or if you are self medicating, please check out Cannabis Legal Solutions.
Medical Marijuana for PTSD
If you feel like medical marijuana can benefit you, you will first need a written PTSD diagnosis and assessment from a trauma-informed mental health professional like the ones at Makin Wellness!
What is the Assessment Like?
We can meet online securely or in one of our offices. The evaluation we go through consists of talking about what trauma(s) you have experienced and how that impacts your life now. We are trauma informed and therefore will be following your lead with how much you feel ready to self disclose. Talking about trauma may be painful, and we are here to support you throughout this evaluation process.
How Do I Start?
Call (833) 274-HEAL to set up your session. We offer extremely flexible hours and are happy to work with your schedule.
What Happens After The Assessment?
If you fit criteria for PTSD and may benefit from medical cannabis, we can submit a portion of the medical record to either yourself or a certifying physician. We will give you that document same day in the office, securely send it to you electronically or in the mail; it is whatever your preference is! We can refer you to a medical marijuana certification center or doctor. We recommend different certifying doctors depending on what part of Pennsylvania you live in.
Can We Still Meet if I Don’t Live In PA?
No. We are currently licensed in the state of Pennsylvania and are able to do evaluations for PA residents only, but we are always here to help. We are experts in trauma, so feel comforted that you are speaking with an expert!
How About Ongoing Treatment?
We are able to provide ongoing trauma treatment either virtually or in one of our offices . Insurance can be accepted for that and some plans do cover for virtual counseling. Referrals can be given if you are from outside the Pittsburgh area and prefer to see someone in an office. Our clinical recommendations are highly individualized to suit your needs. Medical cannabis is not the first line of treatment for PTSD, but should be used in conjunction with other treatment modalities when recommended by doctor. We are also happy to coordinate care with your certifying physician and dispensary pharmacist with your written consent.
Typical Treatment For Medical Marijuana Assisted Therapy
We specialize in an individualized approach. The primary types of treatment are:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)– This is evidence and research based talk therapy that involves sessions with a licensed therapist. CBT helps you tackle negative thinking, false beliefs and helps you find ways to manage and change them.
- Psychiatric Medication – If your symptoms are very distressing & if medication is an option you prefer, you may be referred to a psychiatrist . We refer to different psychiatrists depending upon what your unique needs are . We are more than happy to coordinate care with your doctor as well.
- Individualized Approach – Natural and supplemental treatments, such as exercise, meditation, lifestyle changes, medical marijuana and nutritional changes may be advised in addition to CBT.
Medical Marijuana as a Substitute or Used in Conjunction with Medication
According to the most recent research, medical marijuana may act as a replacement for some psychiatric medications. Preliminary studies supports that medical marijuana helps with anxiety, depression, trauma and addiction symptoms. It also shows potential for reducing your cortisol, the hormone that indicates how stressed out you are.
If you are not sure about either condition, or have never been diagnosed, you can try a screening tool to help assess the likelihood of a diagnosis.
Potential Side Effects of Medical Marijuana
While it has many benefits, it may also have some side effects. When you look at the pros and cons of marijuana, you need to look at it holistically to better understand it’s nuances. Also keep in mind if you do experience side effects, there are ways to reduce them:
- Red eyes
- Respiratory issues
- Thirst / Dry mouth
- Uneasiness / anxiety
How to Start Medical Marijuana Assisted Treatment
If you would like to pursue a medical marijuana diagnosis and feel like you have one of the qualifying conditions, schedule your initial evaluation with us. Our goal at Makin Wellness is to help get you the right information in order for us to make the right decision together. We will work collaboratively with you to help set you up for success and treat your trauma or addiction.
Getting an assessment at Makin Wellness does not guarantee you will have or be diagnosed with Anxiety, PTSD, Anxiety or Opioid Use Disorder . We are able to provide ongoing treatment in all of our offices and via telepsych. For those struggling with Opiate Use Disorder, you may qualify if conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions. We are not certifying physicians for medical marijuana in the State of PA. We are able to evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment for mental health and addiction conditions. If you fit criteria for PTSD, Anxiety or Opioid Use Disorder , you would still need to see a certifying physician after the evaluation in order to get your medical marijuana card. Cannabis is still considered illegal under federal law. Please refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Health or contact us if you have any additional questions. Ongoing treatment is expected to be used in conjunction with medical cannabis and medical marijuana is not the primary form of treatment for Anxiety, PTSD, Autism or Opioid Use Disorder.