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122 s. Moon Ave Brandon FL 33511

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Brandon Medical Center

Medical Marijuana Facts

​​Is Medical Marijuana Safe?

Yes. Modern studies are finding that Medical Cannabis is both safe and effective for treating many illnesses. (See links to studies below.)

Unlike opioid and other types of prescription pain relievers, there have been no recorded deaths as a result of an overdose of Medical Marijuana. Opioid pain relievers have caused tens of thousands of deaths and severe problems with addiction. Medical Marijuana is a much safer alternative.  It would take such a enormous amount of Medical Marijuana to cause a lethal overdose it is practically impossible for a human to do it.

Medical Cannabis has no serious side effects.  While there are some side effects attributed to consuming marijuana, they are much milder than side effects from most prescription drugs.

Like with many prescription drugs Medical Marijuana has some side effects that are more prevalent when first using and tend to subside after a regular treatment plan is followed.

Common side effects of marijuana consumption include:

      1. Altering of senses like taste, sounds, and looks


      2. Slower reaction time. Marijuana can slow motor skills especially in large does or

           if one is new to its use.


      3. Disorientation or dizzyness.

      4. Short term memory loss.

      5. Drowsiness or sleepiness.

Those who have not had previous experience with Medical Cannabis should familiarize themselves with these side effects before using it so that they can ensure they use it safely and effectively.

Medical Cannabis Has Been Found Safe & Effective In Recent Studies:

For those concerned about the long term effects of Medical Marijuana, studies have found that long term use is safe and doesn't cause other health problems if used properly. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association published this study from New Zealand in 2016 that confirms the general safety of marijuana used long term for the people who were part of this study:

Israel is one of the leading countries in the field of Medical Marijuana research. The U.S. National Institute of Health republished a recent study done there in regards to the safe use of Medical Marijuana for the elderly. Here are the conclusions:


 Our study finds that the therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious
in the elderly population. Cannabis use may decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids. Gathering more evidence-based data, including data from double-blind randomized-controlled trials, in this special population is imperative."

Here are some links to additional scientific studies on the effects & benefits of Medical Marijuana:

Medical Marijuana as an alternative to opioid prescription drugs:

Low doses of THC may promote healthy brain aging:

Medical Marijuana benefits for treating Parkinson's Disease:

Can You Become Addicted to Medical Marijuana?

Medical Cannabis is not physically addicting. However, long term users can develop a psychological addiction to marijuana.

In contrast opioids and other common pain medication can be very addicting both physically and psychologically.

Generally for people who habitually use marijuana there can be a psychological dependence but in most cases it is not severe. Some indications that a person may have a strong psychological dependence include things like missing work or other activities due to use or feeling like they can't get by in life without using it.

How Do I Use Medical Cannabis? Do I Smoke It?

Currently Florida Law does now allow for Medical Marijuana to be smoked and the raw plant form, leaves and buds, cannot be sold or purchased. The law may change in the future to allow smoking of cannabis as a form of ingestion for medical purposes but it not allowed currently.

Thankfully Medical Cannabis does not have to be smoked.  These are some of the many ways to administer Medical Marijuana.

Methods include:

           1. Vaporization (Similar to using E-Cigarettes.)


           2. Eaten in foods called edibles.


           3. Pill (capsule) form similar to common medications.


           4. Tinctures or Oils taken under the tongue or swallowed. 

           5. Topical applications like creams, lotions, patches, and salves.

Smoked or vaporized Medical Cannabis enters the blood stream very quickly.  The effects are felt almost immediately.​ When vaporized Medical Marijuana reaches the brain in only a few minutes,

Eating and other oral forms of ingesting marijuana can take up to an hour for the effects to be felt. Generally the effects last longer ranging from 4 to 8 hours on average compared with 1-4 hours when vaping it. 

THC and CBD Are Two Main Active Ingredients In Marijuana

THC or tetrahydrocannabinolis is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. THC is medical compound that produces the "high" people get.  Basically the "high" is a feeling of mild euphoria and relaxation. Properly administered Medical Marijuana can still have this effect although it won't be as prominent as felt in initial use. 

CBD or cannabidiol is the other well known compound in marijuana. CBD does not produce the "high" associated with THC and is is not psychoactive. CBD also has many medical benefits.

There is usually a combination of THC and CBD in the Medical Marijuana products prescribed for treatment. These products come in a wide variety using different ratios of the two compounds depending on the condition being treated and the effects on the individual using the product.

Different Medical Marijuana Strains Have Different Effects

There are also different species (strains) of marijuana. The 2 main species of cannabis are  sativa and indica. These different strains can produce wildly different effects on the patient.

Generally your doctor and the MMTC, Medical Marijuana Treatment Center where you purchase your Medical Cannabis can help you find the right strain and THC to CBD ratio for your specific ailment or condition. Like with all medications the right dosage and type may take some experimentation and getting use to.

Brandon Medical Center is here to help you with your questions and specific needs in regards to Medical Marijuana.

We hope you find this information helpful. 

Please call us if you still have any questions. (813)502-6430 or email us at

Commonly Asked Questions:

What Are The Requirements To Become A Medical Marijuana Patient In Florida?

1. All patients must be legal residents of the State of Florida.

2. A patient must be diagnosed with one of the following conditions in order to use Medical marijuana:

          Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Crohn's Disease, Parkinson's Disease,

          Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) ,

          AIDS, HIV, ALS​ (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) .

          Other conditions or ailments with the ​same severity and symptoms may also            qualify when determined by a qualified physician.

​3. For patients under the age of 18 a second physician must agree to the use of Medical Marijuana as a treatment option.

4. Other treatments options must have been tried and found unsuccessful before Medical Cannabis is considered.

5. It must determined by a qualified physician that the benefits of using medical cannabis out weigh the potential risks to the patient.

6. Patients must be registered with the "Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use Registry" by a qualified physician in order to receive treatment with Medical Cannabis.

What Steps Are Necessary To Get Approved For Medical Marijuana?

1. Contact us and our staff will schedule your appointment for your Medical Marijuana Evaluation with our certified physician. 

2. Once your exam is completed and you have met the Florida requirements, Brandon Medical Center's certified physician  will enter the order with the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. You will then receive your State of Florida Registry ID Number .

3. After being approved the State of Florida will then send the patient their picture I.D in the mail.

Is Medical Marijuana Covered By Health insurance?

No. Currently there are no insurance carriers that will pay for Medical Marijuana office visits, related services, or medicines. The Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved cannabis as a form of medical treatment yet.  Insurance companies generally won't cover new forms of treatment and drugs that have not received FDA approval.

How Long Does It Take To Get Qualified?

Most patients are qualified on their first visit if their medical condition meets the necessary criteria. After your evaluation your Brandon Medical Center physician will determine if you qualify for medical marijuana. The physician will then make the recommendation and input your order information into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. 

What Documents Will I Need to Bring To My Evaluation?

Patients need to bring a valid Florida Driver’s license or State ID card which shows that you are a Florida resident. You will also need to bring your medical records with your diagnosis of a qualifying condition under Florida law with you. Documents from your most recent visit to your primary physician or other medical specialist will usually have an up to date summary of your diagnosis and treatments for your qualifying medical condition.

How Often Do I Need To See The Doctor?

Under Florida State law patients must be seen by their doctor in person at least once every 210 days. Basically this means every 30 weeks (roughly 7 months) you will need to see your certified physician to remain qualified for Medical Marijuana.

A physician may require more follow ups if the patient is inexperienced with the use of Medical Marijuana or suffers in a way that may need additional care. This is up to the discretion  of the physician based on the best treatment options for the patient.

As each patient has their own needs and considerations the doctor will make a follow up visit schedule tailored to the specific needs of the patient. 

Do I Need  A Referral From Another Physician?

Referrals from another physician are not required although they can still be helpful in making an evaluation. If you have a referral from another doctor or medical specialist please bring it along with your other documentation. You still will need to have a previous diagnosis for one of the qualifying conditions listed above which you have been treated for by a physician or other medical specialist. 

Can minors and children be qualified as patients?

Yes. However, patients under the age of 18 must have a second physician agree to the use medical cannabis in order to get a recommendation from our certified physician.

How Long Does The Initial Evaluation Take?

​Please arrive at least 10 minutes early for your scheduled appointment. 

During your initial visit a member of our staff will check your vitals. The doctor will give you a personal exam,review your medical history with you, discuss your treatment options and answer any additional questions you may have. The doctor will also go over the benefits and expectations of a medical cannabis treatment plan. 

The exam usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour so please make sure to allow your enough time to complete the evaluation.  A written excuse can be provided if needed for your work or school.

Once your evaluation is complete, we’ll schedule a follow up appointment for you before you leave.

How Do I Get My Medical Marijuana Once I Am Approved?

Once a patient is approved by the State of Florida and has received their ID card a patient can then contact one of the state approved Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers. 

Most MMTC dispensaries offer delivery services. Please check the dispensaries for availability and pricing.

Patients may want to check out all of the MMTC (Dispensary) links below that currently serve the Tampa metro area:

Aphria (Opening Soon)

4306 S. Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL 33611



8701 North Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33614


Surterra Therapeutics     

2558 E Fowler AveTampa, FL 33612


Knox Medical

601 34 Street North
St. Petersburg, Florida 33713
(727) 605-0066 or 888-441-5669

How Much Does Medical Marijuana Cost?

The Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC), and also  known as Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, have their own pricing and product lines. Patients will want to contact the different Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to learn about their different products and pricing.

Do You Still Have Questions?

Please give us a call at (813) 502-6430, or email us at and we will answer any other questions that you may have.