a doctor writing a recommendation with a bottle of pills and a few cannabis nugs on his desk

How to Get a Medical Cannabis Recommendation in California

When recreational use of cannabis went legal in 2018 in California, medical use had been legal since the passage of California Proposition 215 in 1996. Even though those who are 21 years or older no longer need to obtain a doctor’s recommendation or medical marijuana identification card, there are still plenty of reasons to become a medical patient in the Golden State. 

A written recommendation from a qualified doctor is required for those who are 18-20 years old and wish to purchase marijuana. Additionally, a medical marijuana identification card allows buyers to avoid taxes on their purchases.

Qualifying Conditions

Proposition 215 allows patients to seek a medical marijuana recommendation if they suffer from one of the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy Side-Effects
  • Chronic Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Radiation Therapy Side-Effects
  • Any chronic or persistent symptom that causes serious harm to the patient’s physical or mental health if not alleviated, or a condition that limits the patient’s ability to carry out one or more major life activities (e.g. eating, movement), as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990.

If you are dealing with one of these health issues, then getting a medical marijuana recommendation may help you find relief.

Collect Your Medical Records

Before you book an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor, make sure you have all the relevant medical records. This information is necessary for your cannabis doctor to determine whether your condition qualifies.

Look for a Cannabis Doctor

You can start by looking for doctors near you by searching online. Many doctors will even do an electronic evaluation. This makes it possible to get a recommendation from the comfort of your own home, as long as you have internet connection and a computer with a webcam and microphone.  Weedmaps has a useful locator tool that you can access here:

Reading the reviews can help give you an idea of whether a particular doctor will work for you.

Save Taxes With a County-Issued Card

A physician’s recommendation and a medical marijuana card are two different things. Once you get a recommendation, you don’t necessarily need to get a card. However, a card does exempt you from paying taxes on cannabis products. Adult-use purchases are subject to hefty taxes, including a 15% cannabis excise tax, an 8%-10% city tax, and a sales and use tax between 7.25%-11%.  If you wish to get a medical card, you must contact your county’s health office. Here is the info for Monterey County and a link to a directory of all offices in California.

Other Benefits

Recreational users may possess up to 1 ounce, or 28.5 grams, of flower and grow up to six plants in their private homes. Medical patients may possess up to 8 ounces, or 227 grams, of flower and may grow six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants.

Whether you choose the recreational or medical route, East of Eden is here to help you on your personal cannabis journey. Stop by one of our fully licensed locations in California!


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