Cannabis On My Mind

Cannabis is on my mind. Cannabis is on everyone’s mind in Missouri, whether they like it or not, since the passing of Amendment 2 on November 2017.

But first, let us digress with a story. A few months ago, I went to Nikki Furrer’s A Women’s Guide to Cannabis book signing and discussion at Left Bank Books here in St. Louis. First, the book is highly entertaining. I recommend it for women, men and every gender in between. It is easy to read, relatively up to date and is written in Furrer’s tongue-in-cheek tone that reflects her effervescent personality. 

But, there was one thing that stuck in my mind. It applies to me, specifically, as a physician. Furrer shared her experience of obtaining her medical marijuana card in Colorado. She went to a “pot doctor” that wouldn’t look up from his clipboard, he asked her a few questions, she pointed at some random area in her back, he checked some boxes, didn’t do a physical exam, and moved her right along so that he could check the next box of the next patient.

The image of a crammed waiting room filled with massive amounts of people that are going through a revolving door to see a physician comes to mind. Isn’t that what patients are doing already?  Instead of a “Doc In the Box” now one has to switch to a “Pot Doc in the Box”?

On top of that, they don’t listen, don’t deviate from the questions on the screen, don’t even look up from their computer—sounds very reminiscent of the insurance doctor giving out opiates doesn’t it?

Patients have been calling me about physician certification for medical marijuana cards. They ask me questions about my practice. They inadvertently paint the same picture of the above scenario. It made me reflect on my own practice and I wanted to convey what I offer regarding physician certifications for medical marijuana cards.

Here are the following things a patient will and will not get from me:

  1. No packed waiting room. By appointment only visits without the wait-time hassle. And you get to enter my relaxing office and talk one-on-one with me. 
  • You get what you pay for. Many physician certifications are consistent with my rate. $400 for the visit. Is that 30 minutes with the actual physician?  Or 15 minutes? You should ask. With me, you get the whole hour. If you need to come back, my rate does not change.
  • I offer discounts. Veterans get 10% off. Bring cash, you get 20% off.
  • Do you value your privacy? Yes, I do too. My office practices ensure that your medical records are not in some cloud somewhere. I also won’t share your medical records without your consent. My practice phone number is my direct cell phone. I have no nurses, front desk or other staff.
  • I am not a “pot doctor” but, I do believe that medical cannabis works for certain health conditions. I am thorough and compassionate. I take time to talk with you about your health needs. I take time to obtain records from your previous doctors. If you have them already, bring them, because this helps tremendously. In addition, bring a valid ID, and fill out my forms before you come.
  • I am holistic. Just because cannabis is legal to use medicinally for your medical condition, does not mean that you should “smoke weed everyday”. You need to have a physician that can look at the root cause of your health conditions in combinations with your acute issue. Mind, body, and ātman.
  • Department of Health and Senior Services has a list of qualifying medical condition for physicians to certify. Once I certify your medical condition, you can then apply for a medical marijuana card. This is standard procedure.

Finally, I want to end with a topic that is very important when talking about cannabis that the Western world is not as familiar. We need to evolve with cannabis by taking a step back. 5,000 years back. Ayurveda, Sanskrit for ayur, meaning life and veda, meaning knowledge, has a 5,000 year health care tradition. Ayurveda has been using cannabis, or vijaya, for about as long. Ayurveda is methodical and scientific for it’s time. In ayurvedic tradition, a patient’s constitution, the season, the vehicle it which cannabis is ingested is all taken into consideration. There is value in what the ancients were doing. I will be talking in a little more detail about this on my next blog post. Stay tuned!

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