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  • Do you have any COVID-19 policies?
    Our Medical Marijuana Card certification service is 100% online and happens via a telemedicine appointment. In this case, we do not have any COVID-19 restrictions or requirements for our service.
  • If recreational is legal, why get a medical card?
    The medical card not only protects your job, but it also will save you from the huge taxes they plan to charge when the dispensaries are allowed to sell marijuana recreationally.
  • Is the Medical Cannabis Registration Card from the Board of Pharmacy still required?
    Starting July 1st, 2022, the only document you need in order to shop in a Virginia dispensary is the certificate from Athena Heals. Gov Youngkin signed a law that eliminated the need for the state registration card. This means that the certificate from Athena is your "medical card".
  • How can I legally purchase marijuana in Virginia?
    You currently need two documents to purchase medical marijuana in Virginia: 1) A certificate from Athena Heals saying you qualify for medical marijuana and 2) A government issued ID. If that ID is not from Virginia, you will also need something that proves you are a Virginia resident. A Tax receipt, lease or mortgage statement, or utility bill with your name and address will work. To make an appointment click here. Further clarification: Starting July 1st 2022, the only document you now need in order to shop in a Virginia dispensary is the certificate from Athena Heals. Gov Youngkin signed a law that eliminates the need for the state registration card beginning July 1st, 2022.
  • Do I qualify for a medical marijuana card in Virginia?
    To qualify for a medical marijuana card in Virginia, you need the following 1) to be at least 18 years old 2) to be a Virginia resident 3) to have a condition that we believe will benefit from marijuana (many conditions do!) and 4) to have tried some sort of traditional treatment in the past (medication, surgery, counseling, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractics, etc). If you aren't sure you will qualify, you can still meet with Athena to discuss it. The consultation/exam is free. You only ever pay for the certificate.
  • Do I need a Virginia ID?
    No, any government issued ID will do to prove your identity. If your ID does not show your current Virginia address, you will need an additional document that proves your residency. A tax receipt, mortgage/apartment statement, or utility bill with your name and address will all work.
  • What is the REAL cost?
    We learned that some places charge you for the exam then surprise you with an additional fee for the certificate! The only thing we charge you for is the certificate. Your exam and consultation are free. You only pay if you decide you want to follow through and get the certificate. The basic medical card is $90. This is a 15 minute appointment that covers all of the critical information you need to know. If you are getting a card for a minor/dependent adult, requesting permission for a Registered Agent to pick up the marijuana products for you, or if you think you'll need extra assistance (like not good with computers), you should use the "Special Needs" option. This is a longer appointment that provides time to explain things better. The price for that depends on your specific needs (the prices are all listed on the appointment page). Keep in mind there is a discount for people who have a doctors order, veterans, and people on Medicaid or Medicare. We also offer a 50% discount for patients on hospice care. A full list of prices is on the Services page here. Don't forget, if you decide you want to purchase the optional registration card from the state, the state will charge you $50. But this card is no longer required in Virginia.
  • I need a renewal, but I got my original card with a different doctor. What should I do?
    We made a special price just for folks like you! Just choose the Medical Card Renewal appointment and pick the $65 price option that says you've never seen Athena. Normally a certificate costs $90 for new patients and $50 for them to renew it each year. You don't need the same level of instruction they do, but we still have to put in some extra work to create a new chart for you. We figure this is a good compromise. Starting next year you'll qualify for the $50 renewal. Click here to schedule an appointment.
  • How do I make an appointment?
    At Athena Heals, we let you make your own appointments. To do that, just click on the Get Started button (or click here). This will take you to our Services Page. From there select which appointment you want. That will then allow you to pick whatever date and time you prefer and apply a discount if you qualify. You will receive an invoice by email that you can pay right away or wait until after you've met with Athena and had all your questions answered. You can also choose to not proceed and not pay at all. No pressure!
  • I let my card expire. Which appointment do I need?
    It's ok if your card is expired! You still need less explanation than a brand new person 😊 So, if you have seen Athena before, feel free to pick the renewal option for $50. If you were certified through someone else and that expired, pick the $65 renewal option for people who have never seen Athena
  • Who Will Know I Have a Medical Marijuana Card?
    First of all, there is a difference between who will know you have a medical marijuana card and who will know that you have purchased medical cannabis from a Virginia Medical Dispensary. If you never use your card at a Virginia Medical Dispensary, then the only people in Virginia who will know you have a medical marijuana card is your cannabis provider and the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. Once you purchase cannabis at a Medical Dispensary, you will lose some privacy. When you use a Virginia Medical Dispensary, your purchases get documented on a website called the PDMP (Prescription Drug Monitoring Program). In fact, the purchase of any controlled substance, including things like vicodin or xanax, get documented here. Though some out of states medical cannabis purchases do not get reported to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, Maryland and DC do share their PDMP database with Virginia. The people who will know you have a medical marijuana card will therefore depend on whether or not you use a Medical Dispensary. If you use a Virginia Medical Dispensary, the people who will know includes your cannabis provider, the medical dispensary staff, the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, and the DEA if they have a reason to look into it. And, if you use any Medical Dispensary in a state that shares it's PDMP database, every doctor or pharmacist who serves you will also be able to see your cannabis purchases in all of those states (but the doctor or pharmacist will have to go out of their way to search for your file). Especially important to know, your health insurance company might possibly find out that you use medical marijuana if your doctor decides to document it in their notes. The people who will not know you have a medical marijuana card (unless you tell them or give them permission to access your medical records) are everyone else. That includes your current employer, your prospective employers (even hospital employers and state employers), and any government agency besides the DEA. That includes Child Protective Services, the DMV, the ATF, the FBI, and the CIA. Ok, so, if you're on the Most Wanted List, maybe the FBI could find out. Stay off the Most Wanted List! All joking aside, if you are suspected of a crime, you can unfortunately lose your privacy rights.
  • What's a doctor order/referral and how does it work?
    First of all, don't worry, a doctor order or referral is NOT required to get certified with Athena Heals. It only gets you a discount 😊 A doctor order or referral is a letter or prescription from any of your doctors requesting a consult from Athena Heals to evaluate you for a medical marijuana card. They need to include your diagnosis in the order. They can email the order to or they can fax it to (571)517-1184. Alternatively, you may take a photo of the order and email it yourself.
  • How do I pay?
    You will receive an invoice by email that you may pay right away or wait until you get a chance to meet and talk to Athena. We prefer credit card payments, but cash or cashiers check are also options if you live near Alexandria (you would need to make arrangements directly with Athena for that). We do not accept personal checks. Bankful is the name of the company that secures your credit card online - this is why it says Bankful on the payment page. If you want the invoice to be generic for privacy, please let Athena know before you pay the invoice.
  • Do You Take Insurance? Flex Cards?
    Since cannabis is still illegal federally, there is currently no insurance company that will pay for anything related to cannabis. For this reason, we offer a discount on the initial certification for Medicaid and Medicare patients. Flex cards are similar, however, you can request an invoice that is generic and doesn't specify exactly what you are paying for. It would be up to your insurance company to investigate which service you purchased.
  • When do I get my card?
    Immediately. Keep in mind that there is no physical "card". If you decide to pay for your appointment by the time that you meet with Athena, you will have access to the dispensaries as soon as you finish your meeting with Athena. What you get is an email from the state that has two electronic documents showing you have been given permission to purchase medical cannabis in Virginia. One document is in a short easy-to-use format called a "Digital Identification Card". This one is designed to be easy to print or saved as a screenshot and what is considered the "Medical Card". The other document is more detailed and is called "Written Certification Application". Remember, starting July 1st 2022, the only thing you need in order to use a Virginia dispensary is the Medical Card from Athena. The Registration card from the Board of Pharmacy is no longer needed.
  • How does telemedicine work? Where do I find the zoom link?
    When you make your appointment, you will receive a confirmation email titled "Here are your online session details" that will assign you a Zoom link for our meeting. The email will say "Video conference: Join Meeting". When you click on the words Join Meeting, it will automatically open up your Zoom app if you have it. If you don't have the app, it will take you to where you need to go to download the app. Please download the app (it's free), set up a basic account, and make sure the link works prior to our appointment (this includes making sure you can turn your microphone and video on). When it's time for our appointment, click on the link again. It will take you to what is called a waiting room in Zoom. Wait there until Athena pulls you into the video conference. Please do not attempt to host the meeting. Athena will be the host. If you have a different video app you prefer to use (like FaceTime), please let Athena know and she'll be happy to accommodate you.
  • I can't find the email with my (certificate/zoom link/payment link)
    Check your spam/junk folders. The easiest way to do that is to go to your INBOX, use the search window, and type "athena". That will show you all emails you've received from Athena Heals. If you still don't see them, contact us at
  • Is there an expiration date? How much is the renewal?
    Yes, the certificate expires one year from the date of your appointment. You will get an email reminder about 4 weeks before your expiration date and again about 2 weeks before. We recommend you schedule your renewal about 1 week before the certificate is due to expire. To schedule your appointment, click here. It costs $50 to renew the certificate.
  • What Are the Risks of Medical Marijuana?
    Research on Medical Marijuana is limited due to the fact that its legal status is very limited. Keep this in mind when reading about both the benefits and risks of using it. Here are the main risks we know about so far: Side effects vary from person to person and depend on the potency and amount of marijuana used, as well as the frequency of use. People who are chronically exposed to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active constituent in marijuana, are less likely to have side effects than those who have never used it or only use it occasionally. Marijuana can cause short-term paranoia in some people, resulting in symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, confusion, panic attacks and occasionally, psychosis. These reactions may be more common in people with an underlying psychiatric disorder or who are genetically more susceptible to mental health disturbances. Dependence on Marijuana can arise with long-term use and has caused withdrawal symptoms in some people. Children and adults under the age of 24 are especially at risk of addiction. There has been evidence of damage to the pleasure centers of the brain when people in this age group use it daily. The damage leads to decreased IQ and difficulty succeeding in life. The risk of coronary artery disease and a heart attack is also increased in the hour following Marijuana use; people with underlying heart conditions should use Marijuana with caution. Marijuana cigarettes tend to be smoked without filters, are inhaled more deeply, and are smoked to a smaller butt size. This leads to higher amounts of smoke being drawn deeper into the lungs than with cigarette smoking. Marijuana smoke leads to 5 times greater absorption of carbon monoxide than cigarettes. Due to how long Marijuana smoke is held in the lungs, there is 4x more tar deposited in the lungs. Benzopyrene, a cancer-causing agent, is present in similar amounts in Marijuana as in cigarettes. Marijuana smoking is also known to damage lung tissue, leading to asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). Researchers warn that smoking Marijuana may also decrease reproductive function (the ability to have a baby) and can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth and tongue. Marijuana may potentially weaken the body's immune system and may increase the risk of leukemia and other cancers in children whose mothers smoke Marijuana during pregnancy. Users should also be aware that Marijuana purchased off the street can sometimes be laced with other drugs or substances that can lead to more dangerous side effects. Click here or here for more information.
  • Is Marijuana safe with blood thinners?
    Anyone on blood thinners or antiplatelet medications needs to know that Marijuana products can dangerously change the way your medications work. You will need to talk to both Athena and the doctor prescribing these medications before you can safely use Marijuana .
  • Can I use Marijuana with birth control?
    Unfortunately birth control pills use the same liver enzymes that Marijuana does. There is concern that using Marijuana while you take a birth control pill will cause the pill to not work for the NEXT 28 DAYS! So it is recommended that you use another form of contraception when using Marijuana .
  • What are Athena's Credentials?
    Athena Baldwin has a PA Master's degree from Baylor College of Medicine, she is board certified by NCCPA and is licensed in the State of Virginia as a Physician Assistant. She is also a registered practitioner with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to certify patients for medical cards. I'm proud to say my company is 100% PA-owned and PA-operated. Though I have a supervising physician in my Emergency Medicine practice, Virginia does not require a supervising physician for medical certificates. This does not mean that you get less care from me. In fact, I have been told that I have been more helpful than the Marijuana doctors people saw in the past. Don't believe the smear campaigns.
  • What are Virginia Cannabis Laws?
    Some of the important Virginia cannabis laws I have found include the following: Medical Medical patients may purchase 4 oz every 30 days in Virginia. In DC it's 8 oz. You can't drive under the influence. You can't use it near a school. You can't use it in public. You can't have an open container in the car, even if you're a passenger (anything where the original seal has been broken). You can't have anything in the passenger area of your vehicle. Your Virginia cannabis license will not protect you in a state where it is illegal. There is a law that provides job protection as long as you have a valid certificate. It doesn't include federal jobs and contractors who are subject to federal law. Also doesn't cover pre-employment pee tests. Your employer can still test you and say that your job can't be impacted by your cannabis use, that you can't be high at work, and that you can't have drug paraphernalia at work. Keep in mind some people have still lost their jobs, so know your company policies well. Nonmedical Adults 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Everyone Adults 21 and older can smoke marijuana privately in their homes. Adults 21 and older can grow up to four plants in their homes. The plants cannot be seen from the street and cannot be accessible to anyone under the age of 21. The plants must include a legible tag that includes your name, driver's license or ID number, and a notation that the marijuana plant is being grown for personal use as authorized by law. Up to one ounce of marijuana may be shared with another adult who is 21 or older, provided there is no remuneration or exchange of money or anything of value. You can't cross state lines with it. It can't be mailed. It's illegal on any federal property. You can't buy a gun if you possess cannabis. You might be able to possess a gun in Virginia while possessing cannabis - this is a grey zone. Virginia law implies that it is ok, while Federal law says it isn't ok. DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer and I cannot give you legal advice. I'm just passing along what I have found online. Always talk to a lawyer to be certain of your rights and restrictions.
  • I'm under 21, can I get a card?
    Unfortunately daily cannabis use and heavy cannabis use have been shown to cause changes to young brains that can lead to lifelong addiction and difficulty functioning normally in life. The younger the person is, the worse the effect, but these changes can happen all the way up to age 24. For this reason, we discourage using medical cannabis on a regular basis when people are under the age of 24. Since recreational is available from age 21 and up, we require patients between the ages of 18 and 21 to get a note from their doctor saying that they do not object to their patient's cannabis use. Children under 18 must demonstrate extraordinary need and will require approval from their doctor. Both groups will need to schedule the "Special Needs" appointment.
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