WHAT QUALIFIES A PHYSICIAN TO RECOMMEND MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
The state of Florida is one of the many U.S states that have come to appreciate and legalized the medicinal use of Marijuana. State-run agencies like the Florida Department of Heath (DOH) have been charged with regulating Medical Marijuana (MMJ).
The Florida DOH educates and certifies Doctors to prescribe MMJ. It also monitors the conduct of MMJ doctors and patient progress. Once certified, doctors then reserve the rights to grant Florida Medical Marijuana Cards to patients who qualify for MMJ treatment.
There are very precise laws that regulate MMJ doctors in Florida. Below we take a look at a few and what they mean to both patients and physicians.Legal Requirements for MMJ Ordering Physicians in Florida
1. Valid Medical License.
The physician’s license must be active and unrestricted as defined by Florida law. Physicians who are no longer in active practice are not allowed to order MMJ treatments for patients.
Make sure your physician has an active license.
2. Registration with the Florida Compassionate Use Registry.
The recommending physician must be registered with the Florida Compassionate Use Registry. The names on the registry can be located on the Office Of Compassionate Use website.
To qualify for the registry, a practicing physician must enroll in an MMJ course offered by the Florida Medical Association (FMA) and Florida Osteopathic Medical Association FOMA). The MMJ course is an 8-hour long discourse on developments in the Medical Marijuana debate.
Physicians taking the course are exposed to new litigation and treatment options available. Due to the dynamic nature of the course, physicians have to enroll every time they renew their licenses.
Make sure that your recommending physician is listed on the registry.
3. Long-Term Doctor-Patient Interaction.
For a physician to legally recommend you for a Florida Medical Marijuana Card, you must have been their patient for over three months. This time frame allows the physician to make accurate diagnoses.
During the three months, the doctor needs to document the patient’s progress. Various treatments will be considered and their successes or failures must be documented. The Compassionate Use Act in Florida is only applicable in cases where conventional approaches have previously failed.
A recommending physician must have tried every treatment option within reason. Rushed recommendations are always rejected in the Medical Marijuana Evaluation.
It, therefore, helps if your physician is both professional and well versed in the details of a proper recommendation.
Professionalism comes in handy when patient records are required for the Medical Marijuana evaluation. Any sign of unprofessionalism will be regarded as the most likely cause of treatment failure. Such a verdict will likely to nullify the doctor’s recommendation.
4. Must Adhere to Florida MMJ Statutes.
Even if your physician meets all professional and legal criteria, their recommendation is not yet in the clear. The recommendation itself must be in compliance with the Florida Medical Marijuana Statutes.
Here are compliances to look for if the recommendation is to successfully translate to a Medical Marijuana (MMJ) Card.
i. Risk-Benefit Balance.
The recommendation must outline whether the benefits of MMJ to a patient outweigh its risks. Different MMJ treatment options offer varying degrees of side effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) is among the most potent and patient friendly Medical Marijuana options.
The recommendation should involve a treatment option that the MMJ evaluation will approve of. It is, therefore, crucial to see a doctor that is well-versed in all forms of MMJ treatment options and what they mean for different conditions.
ii. Moderation In Recommendation.
A recommending physician can only recommend a 45-day supply of MMJ. Innocent mistakes with supply recommendations are responsible for most rejections by the Florida Medical Marijuana Evaluation.
The recommending physician must, therefore, balance out the needs of the patient with the law. This is why it is highly advisable to get recommendations from doctors who have worked extensively with MMJ. They are more likely to know minute details about prescriptions. They are also most likely to know when MMJ regulation laws change or are amended.
Our physicians’ vast knowledge on Medical Marijuana is what has popularized green health among patients seeking a Florida MMJ Card.
iii. Compassionate Use Patient Registry.
After an MMJ recommendation, the recommending physician must register the patient on the Compassionate Use Patient Registry. The recommended treatment and MMJ dosage must also be included in the registry.
Once treatment is terminated, the physician is responsible for removing the patient from the record. If a recommending physician has a bad track record on the Patient Registry, his/ her recommendations are likely to be rejected.
iv. Treatment Plan.
A recommending physician must maintain a detailed treatment plan for all patients. The plan will highlight the recommended treatment, the mode of MMJ administration, and the planned duration of the treatment.
The treatment plan also tracks the patient’s progress, signs of tolerance, and any other form of reaction to MMJ. Physicians must submit individual treatment plans to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, quarterly.
However, immediate submission must be made every time there is a change in the treatment plan.
v. Under-Age Recommendation.
Sometimes a medical case with enough merit to necessitate MMJ may involve a minor. For an MMJ recommendation for a minor goes through, a second opinion is needed. Both physicians must be in agreement with the case’s merits. The two also have to satisfy Florida’s legal requirements for MMJ recommending physicians. When the recommendation is for an under-age patient, it must be made with extra caution. Cases involving minors undergo more rigorous evaluation. It helps to solicit the aid of professional Medical Marijuana doctors.
1. Here at going green, we pride ourselves on physicians who have in-depth of knowledge on MMJ. We are well versed with the most recent developments in the field and provide invaluable assistance to patients seeking a Florida Medical Marijuana Card. We also provide consultation services on MMJ treatments.
The Medical Marijuana phenomenon is relatively new. It helps to work with someone who understands the ropes.