Medical marijuana is legal in Washington State. One of fourteen states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, Washington State law dictates how to get approved yet there is still some confusion. The law is a little ambiguous, so this should clear up some of the more confusing aspects of getting approved for medical marijuana is Washington. What it means to get approved for medical marijuana is that you will have a document that gives you an affirmative defense in court. It makes it legal for you to use, possess, and grow medical marijuana.
In order to get approved for medical marijuana in WA State you must have a qualifying medical condition*. To get approved for medical marijuana in WA there are several conditions that qualify you. Some medical marijuana conditions are cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, spasticity disorders; Glaucoma, Crohn's disease, Hepatitis C, Anorexia and intractable or chronic pain. Medical marijuana should be used where standard treatments or medications are not relieving the condition. One reason that people get medical marijuana in WA is because they are not getting complete relief from traditional medical treatment, like pain medication. Medical marijuana works for pain. It is worth trying to get medical marijuana in WA if you have one of these conditions and take a lot of other medications (nausea, pain) without good relief.
The easiest way to get approved for medical marijuana in Washington State is to talk to your doctor about trying it. There are some people who are marijuana consumers before getting approved medically for it. They might notice that when they smoke it that the pain level lowers or they are able to tolerate food. Other people read or hear about medical marijuana from other sources. It is pretty easy to bring it up to the doctor. You can say to them "I have heard a lot about medical marijuana lately. I have read that it is helpful for ____ [insert qualifying condition] and I'd like to try it. What do you think?"
Only a doctor can recommend medical marijuana. The law is very clear. It prohibits doctors from prescribing it it, but they can discuss the pros and cons of using it and if it is found that the possible benefits outweigh the risks then a doctor can sign a piece of paper saying so. The paper literally says just that, and then you will have to keep it with the medical marijuana. A nurse practitioner or other medical personnel's recommendation other than an M.D. or D.O. will not hold up under law. To get approved for medical marijuana in Washington State you cannot use a nurse practitioner or anyone other than an M.D. If you can't get a recommendation for medical marijuana from your doctor because of red tape political crap (and it is there) then you will have to find a medical marijuana friendly doctor. Medical marijuana friendly doctors are actually medical clinics that are dedicated to carrying out the law.
A lot of doctors believe that marijuana is a helpful medicine and/or think it should be all out legalized for medical use but they are restricted by their hospital policy from assisting patients in getting approved. This left a hole and a huge need which has been semi-met by the medical marijuana clinics. If your primary doctor will not or cannot for whatever reason write a recommendation for medical marijuana then you can contact the medical marijuana clinic.
Once you are approved for medical marijuana in Washington State you will have a piece of paper that authorizes your use. There are no fancy papers or special certificates for medical marijuana authorization. Make sure that your medical marijuana authorization is always with your medicine. After you get approved for medical marijuana you will need to find a medical marijuana dispensary or provider.
*A more comprehensive list is here on the Washington State law website. The law dictates how to get medical marijuana. Always follow it. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=69.51A.
Other Washington State Resources: How to Get Gas Cards and Transportation Help for Doctors Appointments in WA