The state of Oregon has gone further than most states in accommodating indigent medical marijuana patients. A program there allows people who are being treated with cannabis to deduct the cost of the medication from their income for purposes of determining eligibility for public assistance.
This benefit is only offered to Oregon residents who are on Social Security due to being elderly or permanently disabled. Officials say very few of Oregon’s permanently disabled are using medical marijuana. The program includes medical marijuana as part of the general pharmaceutical deduction, treating it like any other drug.
For cannabis, patients may count the cost of growing or acquiring medical marijuana as well as the fee for obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana card. In addition to Oregon, Maine and New Mexico allow similar deductions.
Marijuana is prohibited by Federal law but 17 states allow some degree of use for medical purposes. Cannabidiol and other components of the drug have a variety of health benefits:
- The THC in cannabis can prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- Cannabis is good for the nausea and poor appetite that are an effect of some cancer treatments.
- Cannabis fights nausea and other symptoms of Crohn’s disease
- Cannabis helps with the pain and pressure of glaucoma.
- Cannabis can relieve migraines
- The anxiety underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder can be lessened with cannabis
- Cannabis can be an important part of pain management.
- Cannabis is used in treatment of seizures.
Because of the Federal legal status of marijuana used for medical purposes, these deductions may be in conflict with policies established by the Department of Agriculture, which administers food stamp programs along with the states. Oregon officials say they plan to meet with the USDA to discuss the issue.