2020 was a challenging year. At the center of the distress is the coronavirus. COVID-19 shook the world by storm, impacting everyone from large corporations to individuals. If nothing else, the pandemic forced the world to reconsider how it handles healthcare.
The U.S. healthcare system, especially, was put under a lot of stress. Social distancing measures and other institutional methods to control viral spread meant addressing several industries. One problem often faced, in particular, was whether or not specific industries qualified as necessities.
Even during a global pandemic, society can‘t shut down entirely. Several industries were deemed as “essential,“ allowing them to stay open despite strict regulations. While some industries were getting this title, such as hospitals and grocery stores, others were a little less black and white.
Throughout the closings, medical marijuana providers stayed open. The U.S. government deemed them an important business that had permission to remain open. This decision may seem little, but it means a lot in terms of medical marijuana’s importance.
In this ruling, the U.S. recognized medical marijuana as a necessity for the patients using it. This decision was a relief to the countless Americans who use cannabis products to treat their conditions. Beyond this, COVID-19 impacted what expectations we should have for our medical providers.
COVID-19 and digitalized healthcare
Due to the enhanced need for restricted contact, COVID-19 measured facilitated growth in telehealth. Although telehealth is a couple of decades-old already, the pandemic gave it the extra push.
For those who use (want to use) medical marijuana, many clinics now offer remote evaluations completed through the phone, computer, or a smart device.
Online health services for these matters were long overdue. Although social distancing is a current reality, many Americans always faced travel restrictions.
Sometimes, these were because a patient had physical injuries that made it painful to leave home, and they didn’t know their options. Other patients may face a long and inconvenient commute that deterred them from going to appointments. Online evaluations allow these patients to get the help they need despite restrictions. These more convenient appointments can even encourage patients to seek the help they need.
While these services are not available everywhere, it is still encouraging to see. It is also very encouraging to witness how the U.S. is handling marijuana during the pandemic. Although medical marijuana is still not federally accepted, maybe these small moves are an indication that legislation is coming.
No matter your stance on the medical marijuana debate, you can no longer argue that the government doesn’t deem the treatments significant and essential. Many users are happy to see that their health mattered. We hope to continue to see progress.
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