What are my responsibilities to my patients who want medical cannabis?
A provider's professional obligations to prospective medical cannabis patients are not different from those for any other patient. A provider is not required to qualify a patient for medical cannabis. The provider is expected to assess a patient’s medical history and medical condition, and recommend treatment that they think is appropriate.
What are the general legal standards for determining if a patient qualifies for medical cannabis?
You and the patient must have a “bona fide provider-patient relationship.” The patient’s condition must be severe, other medical treatments have been ineffective, and the symptoms reasonably can be expected to be relieved by the medical use of cannabis.
What is a “bona fide provider-patient relationship?”
Maryland law defines this term. Essentially it is a treatment or counseling relationship between a provider and patient in which the provider reviews the patient’s relevant medical records, completes an in person assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, creates and maintains medically standardized records, expects to monitor patient program and takes any medically indicated action to follow up.
What must I do to register with the MCA?
Providers must register on the MCA’s website in order to provide patient certifications. Registration must be renewed every two years.
During registration, you will need to provide your Maryland Board license number, your CDS number, specify the conditions or diseases that you plan to treat, and any criteria for including or excluding patients.
Are there conditions that qualify for treatment with medical cannabis?
Yes, if the patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care.
If the patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes: cachexia, anorexia, wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another chronic medical condition which is severe and for which other treatments have been ineffective.
What information will be contained on the written certification?
Patient name, address, date of birth, physician’s name, the date of patient qualification, and medical condition(s).
Can a provider revoke a patient’s certification?
Yes, a provider may amend or revoke a certification on any medical grounds or if the patient no longer meets the physician’s inclusion criteria or the patient now meets the provider’s exclusion criteria.
Two examples of exclusion criteria are that the provider suspects that the patient is abusing cannabis or the patient is diverting cannabis to others.