Frequently Asked Questions

medical marijuana symbol divider

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)

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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.

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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.”

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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.[6] 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.[7] This is true even when the recommending medical professional knows the patient will use the recommendation to obtain cannabis through a state program.[8] What physicians may not do is provide cannabis directly to a patient[9] or tell patients how or where to obtain it.[10]

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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?

Yes, although this is largely a symbolic gesture. Rescheduling marijuana statewide does not protect patients from criminal prosecution under federal law or allow doctors in that state to legally prescribe the drug.

Can a state legally license the production and distribution of medical marijuana?

Currently, some states, including Colorado, Maine, and New Mexico license producers and distributors of medical cannabis. Several other states are considering or are in the process of enacting similar programs. The present administration has given mixed signals to lawmakers regarding whether the Department of Justice would seek sanctions against those involved with such programs. However, as of this writing, the federal government has yet to prosecute any individuals involved with the state-licensed production or distribution of medical cannabis in any state that has sanctioned such activities.

How do I set up an appointment with a Compassionate Certification Center?

Use the section on the site, “Location Finder”. The closest center(s) will show up for you. You can call or email the center to set up an appointment. If the center is not open yet, you can subscribe to the email list and we will contact you when that center is open near you. 

Will my insurance cover the costs of my evaluation, follow up, or other costs?

No, insurance does not cover the cost of the evaluation, follow up, medical marijuana or the cost for the visit or card. Costs will be posted on the site under another section per state. 

Do I need a referral?

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 conditions are considered medical marijuana conditions?

What medical documentation should I bring?

This is state-specific and varies. Once you have identified a center near you and made an appointment, you will be given that information when you schedule your appointment.

What exactly do I receive if I get my certification from the center?

You will receive a signed document that attests you have the medical condition for which your state you reside in is allowing. You will also receive cautionary paperwork to educate yourself on how to safely begin the medical marijuana process.

How does medical marijuana (MMJ) 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 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
  • Anti-convulsive
  • Anti-schizophrenic
  • 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)
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-seizure

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.