The health benefits of cannabis are somewhat new to the medical community. Over recent years, cannabis and its derivatives have been found to have a number of beneficial health effects, creating quite a controversy in the medical industry. This has led to a surge in “cannabis doctors,” which seems to be the new buzz word in the marijuana industry.
But, is a cannabis doctor a real doctor? A Ph.D. doctor? Well, it depends. A Ph.D. doctor could certainly become a cannabis doctor if they wanted to. On the contrary, you also get those who have seen a gap in the market and are trying to capitalize – whether they are qualified or not. In other words, they might be quacks.
Because there are so many discrepancies between state laws and contradictions between state and federal laws, the cannabis market is largely unregulated. There’s a lot of confusion surrounding what is allowed and what is forbidden. This means that the industry is pretty much free-game for cannabis doctors – whether they’re the real deal or quacks.
Recent reports suggest that there has been an increase in the number of fake doctors who have been issuing invalid medical cannabis recommendations. If you’re looking to consult with a legitimate cannabis doctor, you need to have your wits about you.
What Is a Cannabis Doctor?
A cannabis doctor is a physician with all the rights and privileges to practice in any particular state – just like a normal doctor. They may specialize in a specific field, like oncology, or they could be a general practitioner.
In theory, a cannabis doctor is experienced in medical practice and isn’t any different from other doctors you see. Well, there’s one big difference; they are willing and qualified to recommend medical marijuana. In other words, they are normal doctors but specialize in using marijuana for medical purposes.
Becoming a cannabis doctor obviously requires a specialized knowledge-base about the cannabis plant, which can be difficult due to marijuana prohibition. Although more abundant than many people think, cannabis research is limited due to federal restrictions.
Just like with any other drug/medication, cannabis doctors are required to research the proven uses and be aware of any side effects that cannabis may cause. Current and aspiring cannabis doctors have to learn from the growing body of research work that does exist, and from other physicians that have already established practices in the cannabis industry.
Medical Cannabis Doctor Qualifications
Technically, becoming a cannabis doctor requires a lot of education and certifications. However, currently, there’s not much regulation in place. Legitimate marijuana practices will use strict standards to evaluate the cannabis doctors that they allow joining their network of trusted physicians.
Physicians should meet each state’s specific requirements to qualify as the type of doctor that can recommend cannabis. For instance, MarijuanaDoctors.com ensures that all doctors adhere to state medical marijuana laws, and give out medical marijuana recommendations, not phony prescriptions. Each physician must have an active medical license in good standing.
It’s important to remember that rules and regulations surrounding medical cannabis differ from state to state. But there are a few sources that physicians can use to prepare themselves for recommending cannabis treatment. The Western Journal of Medicine has published a number of recommendations for doctors who recommend cannabis.
Guidelines for Cannabis Doctors to Follow
- Know the patient’s cannabis and other drug use history, including addiction
- Examine patients who practice a smoked marijuana treatment for immune status and pulmonary function
- Obtain training or certification in addiction medicine
- Comply with all state initiatives to track cannabis sources and patients using it for medical purposes
- Counsel the patient on the risks of medical cannabis, both short-term and long-term
- Review uses and dosing recommendations
- Ensure the cannabis sourced contains standard THC levels and no contaminants
- Confirm that other methods of treatment were tried and failed
Cannabis doctors should understand that case notes could become valuable for continuing research into the efficacy of cannabis for specific conditions. It will help physicians, their patients, and the medical community to keep detailed and accurate notes as cannabis treatment progresses.
Here’s an example of the requirements that cannabis doctors need to abide by according to laws in Florida. These form the basis of requirements in most states:
- Determine that the potential risks of cannabis treatment are reasonable when compared with the possible benefits
- Establish a treatment relationship of at least three months with the patient before giving a cannabis recommendation
- Maintain a treatment plan for the patient that includes the dose and form of cannabis, duration of intended treatment, and reaction to the treatment
How to Avoid “Quacks”
When you’re looking to get your hands on medical cannabis and need a doctor’s recommendation, you don’t want to get caught up in the legal entanglements. All you want is to find a doctor who is willing to look at your case and recommend what you need, and a legitimate dispensary where you can find good quality marijuana
Because the cannabis industry is so new, there are lots of people trying to crash in on the “craze.” Marijuana has been a popular recreational drug for decades, with its own underground cultivation and distribution system. In your quest for medical marijuana, we’re certain that you want to avoid any fraudulent activity.
Here are a few ways to ensure that your cannabis doctor is legit:
- Referrals: Since there are so many cannabis doctors out there, it can be difficult to tell the good from the bad (the quacks from the real deals). If you know someone who is using medical cannabis, they might be able to recommend you to a trustworthy cannabis doctor.
- Compassionate Use Registry: Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply in all states. But, in organized states, like Florida, there is a database to keep track of all legit doctors who have been authorized by the state to issue medical marijuana treatment. So if you are looking for a cannabis doctor, check to see if your state has a registry and whether your doctor is registered.
- Thorough Examinations: One of the best ways to tell if your doctor is legit or not, is to check that they conduct a thorough examination. Your physician should inquire about your medical condition, and ask you several questions about your condition. A legitimate doctor won’t want to risk their reputation by prescribing medical cannabis as a treatment for those who don’t really need it.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Doctors
At the end of the day, most cannabis doctors – especially those employed by reputable establishments – are the real deal. However, there certainly are a few phonies out there. The future of the medical cannabis industry is very bright, but still largely unknown as far as what we can expect it to look like.
Things are evolving so quickly, and no one knows for certain what the future holds for the medical marijuana industry. But, there are true experts out there who can guide you and give you all the insight you need into medical cannabis. You just need to do your research and find a trustworthy platform or establishment.