Frequently Asked Questions
What services does Compassionate Certification Centers provide to patients and how much do they cost?
Below is a list of the services/pricing that we offer to medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania:
- $199 per visit
- $100 per visit (if you do not qualify for the card)
- $50 CBD consultation
- Free CBD consultation (if you do not qualify for the card)
- $125 renewal for the card
- $75 follow up visits
- $50 nurse phone consultations
What do I need to have to qualify for a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania?
Patients must be a resident in the state of Pennsylvania with proof of residency. If you do not have a Pennsylvania state I.D. an out of state I.D., passport, or other photo I.D. such as bank statement, utility bill, etc is acceptable however bring it to your appointment.
A Compassionate Certification Center patient will have a prior medical record or records reviewed and have a medical condition which fits into one of the categories below. Our doctors are certified and specialized in cannabis.
Please request medical records from any doctor who sees you, urgent care centers or other proof showing you have a condition which requires medical marijuana and bring them with you. Unsure? Call our office at 888-316-9085 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss with a trained medical professional.
Do not use another directory because you won’t find doctors who understand medical cannabis like we do anywhere else.
Where can I send my medical records?
What conditions qualify for a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Certification (or referral) by a PA doctor?
You must be diagnosed with one of the following conditions below to qualify for a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Certification. Note: We do not perform drug screens.
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Crohn’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Huntington’s Disease
- Intractable Seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
Can a patient with a medical condition in Pennsylvania receive medical marijuana if they are under 18?
Yes. A patient under the age of eighteen must have a caregiver who is approved by the department in order to obtain medical marijuana. A caregiver can be a parent, guardian or an individual approved by the department.
All applicants will need:
- Pennsylvania Background check
- Completed electronic copy of the Safe Harbor Act Letter Form
Legal guardians will need an electronic copy of their guardianship papers
- Caregivers will need an electronic copy of their caregiver status
- Spouses will need an electronic copy of their marriage certificate
Below is a list of some helpful forms to get you started:
Can someone else obtain medical marijuana on behalf of a patient from a medical marijuana doctor's certification or referral in Pennsylvania?
Yes, when a patient visits a medical marijuana doctor at any one of our compassionate certification centers, he or she can designate up to two caregivers. Before obtaining medical marijuana at a dispensary for a patient, a caregiver must also apply for a medical marijuana identification card which we will help you do during your office visit. This is an easy process and we will assist you with this. The first step is to schedule an appointment with us at compassionate certification centers by filling out step 1 on the home page of this site, or calling 888-316-9085. Our Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Doctors, nurses and PA staff with help walk you through the process.
Where will patients obtain a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania?
Use our Medical Marijuana Location Finder so you can find a dispensary that is convenient for you in Pennsylvania, and our doctors will assist you in finding the right medication using our app that you will receive after your doctor visit.
How much will this cost to see a medical marijuana doctor in Pennsylvania?
Doctor visits are $225 plus a small state fee once you qualify and you need to return to compassionate certification centers once a year to obtain a new card each year. Insurance does not cover the cost of the visit in any of the 30 or more legalized states.
If additional assistance is required to cover the cost of the medication or to obtain medical records and follow up visits are required we are able to bill insurance for non-medical marijuana related office visits or for the certification. We have a program to assist patients who have low income through our non profit. We are here to help patients receive this much needed medication and our goal is to help you if you qualify for the Pennsylvania medical marijuana card through the PA Department of Health Program. We are here to help you throughout the entire process!
How do I set up an appointment with a PA Marijuana Doctor at a Compassionate Certification Centers location?
Use our Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Location Finder and find a Compassionate Certification Center near you. You can set up an appointment by calling our office at 888-316-9085 or emailing us at email@example.com. We will notify you when new locations open up in Pennsylvania for Medical Marijuana Doctors. You can also subscribe to the email newsletter and we will update you periodically when new Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Centers open.
Call or email
Will my insurance cover the costs of my evaluation, follow up, or other costs?
Insurance does not cover the cost of the visit in any of the 30 or more legalized states including Pennsylvania and insurance has never covered this cost since the first state legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996 through the Compassionate Care Act.
If additional assistance is required to cover the cost of the medication or to obtain medical records and follow up visits are required we are able to bill insurance for non-medical marijuana related office visits or for the certification. We have a program to assist patients who have low income through our non profit. We are here to help patients receive this much needed medication in Pennsylvania and our goal is to help you if you qualify for the Pennsylvania medical marijuana card through the PA department of healths program. We will help you along the way!
Do I need a referral from a doctor in Pennsylvania?
No, you can schedule an appointment with a center as the certification is a cash acceptance only per visit, and you will not be billed so your insurance will not require this since you do not use insurance because it does not cover medical marijuana visits to physicians.
What medical documentation should I bring, or upload to your site, prior to my visit to your Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Doctor's offices (Compassionate Certification Centers)?
This is specific to the state of Pennsylvania and each state varies. We make this simple for you by using our form on the home page to upload your information. Once you have scheduled an appointment you should bring any medical records you have that show your diagnosis from any other doctors. If you do not have medical records, please contact our office or schedule an appointment so we can begin to document your medical history and exam so we can verify that you qualify for a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana card through the PA Marijuana Program.
What exactly do I receive if I get my marijuana card in Pennsylvania from Compassionate Certification Centers?
You will receive a signed document that abides by the PA Department of Health Marijuana Program that you have a qualifying medical condition and you will receive the following:
- Educational materials
- An interactive app which has 7 years of data to help assist you track your progress and find the right medication at the dispensary that helps your condition(s)
- Consultation from our certified and trained Pennsylvania marijuana doctors who will help educate you on the safety, storage and administration of the medication(s) you buy at the dispensary
How do I approach my Pennsylvania doctor about medical marijuana?
Be as informed as possible about your potential treatments, their side effects and what you want to get out of your treatment. Your current doctor may or may not want to do the recommendation which is why Compassionate Certification Centers physicians are marijuana doctors trained in this field to specifically assist in this process. If you find your doctor is not open to medical marijuana as an option for you or you do not want to discuss it with your current physician please make an appointment with one of our centers. We encourage patients to do what is best for them, their loved ones and their families. We are here to help you.
Will I be drug tested in Pennsylvania at a Compassionate Certification Center?
Will I lose my job if I have a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania or am listed on the directory as having a card by a medical marijuana doctor?
In Pennsylvania, what are the Marijuana restrictions from employers when in the PA program?
- Patient may not perform any employment duties at heights or in confined spaces including, but not limited to, mining while under the influence of marijuana
- Employer may prohibit patient from performing any task which the employer deems life-threatening, to either the employee or any of the employees of the employer, while under the influence of medical marijuana. The prohibition shall not be deemed an adverse employment decision even if the prohibition results in financial harm to the patient
- Nothing in the Pennsylvania Department of Health Act shall require an employer to make accommodation of the use of medical marijuana on the property or premises of any place of employment
- Nothing shall require an employer to commit any act that violate federal law in Pennsylvania
- The Act does not limit an employer’s right to discipline an employee for being under the influence of medical marijuana in the workplace in Pennsylvania or for working under the influence of medical marijuana when the employee’s conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for that position under PA Medical Marijuana Laws
Why is the price for the doctor visit so high?
Doctor visits range from state to state with some states being $450 per visit and some being several times a year. Our price is average if not lower than most states, especially new states. We offer a diagnostic tool which no other state offers when patients see us, and this will save hundreds of dollars at the dispensary.
Will there be other options to help pay for the doctor visit?
There are several programs including our own nonprofit which can offset the once a year doctor visit cost if someone financially cannot afford it. Those programs are mostly individual nonprofits which we will provide a list for.
Are SSI/SSD recipients exempt from the state fee of $50?
Not to the knowledge of Compassionate Certification Centers. Please contact the PA Department of Health for this answer.
Do you require payment for the doctor visit before the scheduled appointment?
I am now living in another state, but I still own a home in Pennsylvania. Would I be able to obtain a card there in PA when I am visiting my home?
You have dual residency. If you provide proof of residency for PA then you can qualify for a PA card. The states are not reciprocal with a PA Card, only 7 states currently have reciprocity in the USA.
Would Pennsylvania recognize my medical card from another state?
Where can I send my medical records?
Who will be able to obtain medical marijuana if you are a parent whose child needs this or under 18?
Under the Medical Marijuana Program, patients who are residents of the commonwealth and have a serious medical condition as certified by a physician will be able to obtain medical marijuana at approved dispensaries that are located in the commonwealth and have a validly-issued permit from the department.
A “caregiver” who is designated by the patient and approved by the department will be able to obtain medical marijuana from an approved dispensary located in the commonwealth that has a validly-issued permit from the department in order for the caregiver to deliver medical marijuana to the patient.
Who is considered a "Caregiver" under the Act?
The Act defines a “caregiver” as an individual, 21 years of age or older unless otherwise authorized by the department, who is designated by a patient or, if the patient is under 18 years of age, an individual that is a parent or legal guardian of the patient, or an individual designated by a parent or legal guardian, or an appropriate individual approved by the department upon a sufficient showing that no parent or legal guardian is appropriate or available.
Caregivers must undergo a criminal history background check, submit an application to the department for an identification card, and be registered with the department. The department will make applications for caregivers available on its website. Simple! If not, call us and we will assist.
Can patients with serious medical conditions receive medical marijuana if they are under 18?
Yes. Patients under the age of 18 with a serious medical condition may obtain medical marijuana through a caregiver. For patients under the age of 18, a caregiver may be a parent or legal guardian, a person designated by a parent or guardian, or an individual approved by the department upon a sufficient showing that no parent or legal guardian is appropriate or available.
The caregiver must undergo a criminal history background check, apply to the department for an identification card, and be registered with the department. The patient must also have an identification card issued by the department. The department will make applications available to patients on its website.
Can someone else obtain medical marijuana on behalf of a patient?
Yes. When a patient submits an application to the department for an identification card, he or she may designate up to two caregivers. Caregivers must undergo a criminal history background check, submit an application to the department for an identification card, and be registered with the department. The department will make applications for caregivers available on its website.
There is a $50 processing fee for caregiver applications, but the department may waive or reduce the fee if the applicant demonstrates financial hardship on the application.
Can a cargiver be designated by more than one patient?
Yes. A caregiver may be designated by up to five patients. Before obtaining medical marijuana for a patient, however, a caregiver must apply for and obtain a medical marijuana identification card and be registered with the department.
Where will patients or caregivers obtain medical marijuana?
Registered patients or caregivers with an identification card issued by the department may purchase medical marijuana at an approved dispensary that has a valid permit from the department and is located in the commonwealth. The department may issue permits to up to 50 dispensaries across the state. Each dispensary may have up to three locations in the state from which to dispense medical marijuana.
Will there be enough medical marijuana for all approved patients and caregivers?
The department will be reviewing a number of factors to determine the placement of dispensaries across the state in order to ensure that medical marijuana is available for patients with serious medical conditions. The department will be conducting a full population study during the next six months that will include: (1) the location and number of patients suffering from serious medical conditions; and (2) their ability to access public transportation to get to a dispensary.
Can I obtain medical marijuana from out of state and transport it to PA while they wait for it to become available?
Only a minor under 18 years of age with a serious medical condition may obtain medical marijuana from another state through a parent, legal guardian, caregiver, or spouse. For up to two years following the effective date of the Act, Section 2106 of the Medical Marijuana Act provides that if a parent, legal guardian, caregiver or spouse of a minor under 18 years of age with a serious medical condition lawfully obtains medical marijuana from another state, territory or country to be administered to that minor, the parent, legal guardian, caregiver or spouse does not violate the Act, or the Pennsylvania Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. The form of marijuana obtained in the other state must be in the form made lawful by Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program. Patients, parents, legal guardians, caregivers and spouses also must comply with the application and certification requirements of the Act, as developed by the department. The department intends to publish a temporary regulation regarding the implementation of Section 2106.
Neither Section 2106 nor the Act permits adult patients 18 years of age and older, or their caregivers, to obtain medical marijuana from another state. For adult patients 18 years of age and older, medical marijuana may only be obtained from a department-approved and permitted dispensary located in the commonwealth as permitted by the Act.
Where can I send my medical records?
Will I lose my license and how do I know what to prescribe?
Laws vary by State, it is important that having access to the legal knowledge in our portal will help you stay compliant. A hand full of doctors have lost their licenses or have been reprimanded for practice without a license, or partaking in illegal activities such as fraudulent documents. Physicians cannot legally prescribe marijuana, they attest to the disease state the patient has, they do not prescribe in most states except New York. The Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies Marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. (Mark Crane, Doctors legal risks with medical marijuana, June 4, 2015)
Will I lose my job?
If you are a hospital employee or affiliated with a health care system such as the VA, that changes and varies if you have an employee contract. To error on the side of caution, You should speak to your legal counsel. Medical Marijuana has been legal since 1995 in California. Our membership allows you to seek attorneys in your state if you do not have one, or speak to other health care practitioners to network with so you can incorporate Medical Marijuana into your medical practice.
Is it safe?
There have been no known cases of a lethal overdose of cannabis. DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, in response to a petition to reschedule cannabis under federal law concluded in 1988 that, “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume…. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.”
What doctors may and may not do?
In Conant v. Walters, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the federal government could neither punish nor threaten a doctor merely for recommending the use of cannabis to a patient.[4, 5] But it remains illegal for a doctor to “aid and abet” a patient in obtaining cannabis. This means physicians and other medical professionals may discuss the pros and cons of medical cannabis with any patient, and recommend its use whenever appropriate. They may put that in writing or otherwise participate in state medical cannabis programs without fear of legal reprisal. This is true even when the recommending medical professional knows the patient will use the recommendation to obtain cannabis through a state program. What physicians may not do is provide cannabis directly to a patient or tell patients how or where to obtain it.
How many states have enacted medical marijuana laws since 1996?
25 total states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The District of Columbia have passed laws providing for limited legal protections from arrest for authorized patients who use cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation.
May a legislature reschedule marijuana for medical purposes under state law?
Can a state legally license the production and distribution of medical marijuana?
What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana is a prescription drug consisting of the dried buds of the female cannabis plant. The active ingredient is THC, a cannabinoid, which interacts with the system in the brain involved with pain transmission. Marijuana provides relief from several serious symptoms such as severe pain, chronic nausea, loss of appetite, muscle spasms and others.
How does medical cannabis work?
From United Patients Group:
There are over 400 natural compounds in medical marijuana and, of these, eighty are only found in cannabis plants. These eighty special compounds are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids relieve symptoms of illness by attaching to receptors in the brain that look for similar compounds that occur in the human body, such as dopamine.
There are five major cannabinoids in medical marijuana that are particularly effective for relieving symptoms of illness, and each one produces different physical and psychological effects. This is why certain strains of medical marijuana are bred to have different amounts of each cannabinoid and are recommended for different conditions
THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol. It is probably the best known cannabinoid present in medical marijuana. Physically it acts as a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory and psychologically it acts as a stimulant. This makes medical marijuana strains high in THC a good choice for patients who need relief while also to remain alert and active.
What are the side effects of medical marijuana use?
The side effects of marijuana vary quite a bit among different strains of Cannabis and different people. Negative effects range from drowsiness and loss of focus to agitation leading to fear and paranoia. Such effects are temporary and go away within a few hours. Smoking marijuana carries many of the same risks as smoking cigarettes and is not advisable. Because of the adverse health effects of smoking, other methods of ingesting marijuana are preferable.
How does one take medical marijuana?
There are many methods of ingesting marijuana including eating, drinking, vaporizing and smoking. We also have techniques and recipes for preparing marijuana in edible forms, in tinctures and for vaporization.
How much marijuana do you need to take and how often do you take it?
Medical marijuana prescriptions vary depending on the patient’s condition and the strain of marijuana. Your doctor can help you determine the right dosage for your situation. The average use of marijuana for medical purposes is from 1 to 3 grams per day. If you are just beginning to use marijuana, you should start with a small dose and increase it gradually until you reach a comfortable level. The limit set by the MMPR is 30 times the daily quantity of dried marijuana indicated by your doctor on your medical document OR 150 grams – whichever is less.
Can you use marijuana while on other medications?
Some pain medications have been proven to be more effective in combination with marijuana. However, with all medication, different combinations can have unpredictable effects. You should always consult your doctor before combining any medications.
For what conditions is medical cannabis used for?
- Chronic Pain
- Arthritis/Inflammatory conditions
- Crohn’s Disease/Colitis/IBS
- Brain Injury
- Brain Tumor
- RCPS (aka RSD)
- Parkinson’s Disease
Should I be worried about addiction and withdrawl side effects?
The current statistic of a 9% addiction rate among cannabis users needs to be viewed from a certain perspective. If a product such as cannabis resolves an undiagnosed depression or anxiety, then we cannot use the term “addiction” when the patient resists removal or denial of a product that makes him/her feel better. The percentage of undiagnosed depression/anxiety in the general population has been quoted to be as high as 30% and cannabis has been shown to help this diagnosis in adults.
In my personal experience, withdrawal is rare, and simply represents the return of the underlying symptoms that existed well before marijuana was ever used. Even in the rare situation that might have been said to be a possible case of withdrawal, the symptoms of craving and agitation lasted only about 3 to 4 days and were not very uncomfortable. This is vastly different to narcotics, benzodiazepines or even antidepressants.
An incidental note here is that if you ask the average PTSD patient without chronic pain if they could see their life without medical cannabis, they will usually state that they would much rather not have need for any treatments, and that they would like to return to a life without any medical treatments at all, including cannabis.
Is it safe to use medical cannabis?
There have been countless studies about the benefits of medical cannabis. Currently, it is being used to treat many illnesses; such as symptoms of PTSD, cancer, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, chronic pain, arthritis, depression and many others. In addition, there has been no recorded deaths from cannabis use or abuse. If you are unsure about the benefits of medical cannabis, contact your physician to discuss it further.
How does medical marijuana benefit your health?
Marijuana has been found valuable in the treatment of many illnesses and conditions throughout history. Although many of the benefits we hear about are anecdotal, a large global effort is underway to understand the medical benefits of marijuana using scientific and clinical approaches. The major benefits have been associated with reductions in pain, help with sleeping disorders, side-effects from pharmaceuticals or cancer treatments, and other symptom relief.
Will smoking cannabis cause lung cancer?
I fully agree that smoking any product may increase the risk of lung and cardiovascular problems. The healthiest solution is to “Vaporize” the product which is very effective and provides an almost equal response time as smoking, with the added advantages of a much more efficient use of the costly product. There is also lingering smell and the added advantages of a much more measured and controlled dose with the newer devices.
The risk/benefit ratio is unknown.
Who should avoid marijuana?
Patients with a history of heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other disease of the airways, drug or alcohol abuse or dependence, or a serious mental disorder, such as schizophrenia should all consult their doctor before trying medical marijuana. You should also avoid marijuana if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning to get pregnant, or if you are allergic to any cannabinoid.
Is marijuana legal?
Marijuana is still a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes is a criminal offense. Marijuana is only legal when used by an authorized patient for medical purposes.
Is my medicine covered by my medical plan?
At this time most medical plans will not cover medical cannabis costs. If you are a veteran, you may have coverage through Veterans Affairs Canada. Medical cannabis is regulated under the Narcotic Control Regulations and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, but it does not have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) which is required for provincial and third-party formularies (medical plans). Medical cannabis expenses can be claimed on your income tax return under the Medical Tax Credit.
How do I prove to authorities that I am authorized to possess medical cannabis?
Your proof of “authorization to possess” can either be the label on the product packaging or a separate document from the licensed producer. This official document will accompany your initial shipment.
Are there alternative methods to using marijuana besides smoking?
Always store your marijuana in a cool, dry and above all SECURE place. Consider using a safe or other locked secure container to store your medicine. Ensure that any edible product is also well marked and secured against mistaken identity.
What are the differences between Indica and Sativa?
There are two basic types of Cannabis plants, Sativa and Indica. Sativas are taller plants originating from Mexico, Columbia and Southeast Asia. Sativas usually have a higher THC content and cause a stimulating, uplifting effect. Indicas are shorter, dense plants originating from Afghanistan, Morocco, Tibet, etc. Indicas have a more sedative or relaxing effect and can be used for anxiety reduction. Within these two types of Cannabis exist many sub-types or strains of Sativa and Indica. Many of these strains are given seemingly odd or interesting names, usually based on a slang description.
What does 'combining strains' mean?
Alone, none of the five major cannabinoids are as effective as when they work together. These five cannabinoids also work with the minor compounds in marijuana, and this is probably one reason that medical marijuana replacements like Marinol do not work very well.
Professional medical marijuana growers can analyze their medical marijuana strains to breed and grow medication for patients with the desired range of levels of each major cannabinoid. Using this knowledge of what each compound does helps medical marijuana pharmacists, or budtenders, find the right combination for patients to treat specific conditions and find maximum relief.
What is CBD? How does it work?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol actually reduces the psychological effects of medical marijuana. For most patients, a strain that has high THC and high cannabidiol will have fewer “mental” effects and more physical ones. High cannabidiol medical marijuana strains, like Blueberry and Harlequin, are especially effective for illnesses with strong physical symptoms
Cannabidiol’s effects include:
- Reduced pain
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced nausea
- Sedative effects
- Arrests the spread of cancer
What is CBN? How does it work?
CBN is cannabinol, not to be confused with Cannabidiol. Cannabinol is very similar to THC, but has less psychological effects. It is produced as THC breaks down within the medical marijuana plant. High THC will make cannabinol’s effects stronger, and very high cannabinol concentrations can produce undesirably strong head highs. Cannabinol levels tend to be high in medical marijuana strains like
For example, Strawberry Haze and Blue Rhino, which can be particularly helpful for:
- Lowering pressure in the eye (such as with glaucoma)