Saturday, November 20, 2010

Medical Marijuana: Getting a Doctor’s Recommendation

I decided to not broach the subject of medical marijuana with my doctor (i.e. I chickened out), and instead chose to search for doctor’s known to recommend medical marijuana. Fortunately, during my research on marijuana, I came across a useful link that makes it easy to find doctors who will prescribe medical marijuana. When I had Googled “marijuana dispensary locator,” up popped California NORML’sCalifornia Dispensary Locator.” By entering my zip code, I could locate physicians willing to recommend medical marijuana… as well as collectives/cooperatives (a.k.a. dispensaries), and delivery-only services (where they will deliver marijuana to your doorstep).

I selected the “Physicians” option, entered my zip code, and then clicked “Search.” A split-second later, I had a list of physicians that willingly, openly recommend medical marijuana to their patients in need. The list was organized by proximity to my zip code, with those closest to me at the top. It included their names, locations, and phone numbers. It also showed the distance of their office from my zip code, and included a link to a location map.

Pretty easy.

I selected one that was closest to my home and called just after 9:00am. I spoke with a representative and explained my ailment and that I was seeking a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana. She asked if I had seen a doctor regarding my condition. I had. She then asked if I had paperwork diagnosing my condition. I did. Given that I had paperwork documenting my condition, she suggested I schedule an appointment. As it turns out, they had an available opening early that same afternoon, so I scheduled it.

I left for my appointment a little sooner than necessary to ensure I arrived on-time. The office was located in a nice area, so I felt safe traveling there. When  I arrived, I walked in. It was clean, professional, and welcoming. In fact, it reminded me of just about every other doctor’s office I had visited. There were comfortable chairs and a coffee table, with end tables strewn with magazines available for casual perusing. It was well lit, with soft background music playing. Very familiar, very comfortable surroundings. There were two other people in the waiting room, whom I assumed were patients. Both were waiting their turn to see the doctor.

The receptionist greeted me, had me sign-in, and then handed me a brief information form to fill out. The form contained the usual medical-history questions… existing conditions, allergies, family history, etc. It also included information about medical marijuana, its effects and its known medicinal uses, and the limitations and privileges afforded under California’s Proposition 215.

After returning my completed medical-history questionnaire to the receptionist, I sat and waited my turn to see the doctor. A few moments later, Dr. Smith called me into his office.

Dr. Smith asked how he could be of service. I explained my condition and that I was wondering whether medical marijuana might help relieve my symptoms. He first reviewed my questionnaire, asked me a few clarifying questions, and took my blood pressure. Then he discussed my condition in detail, explaining its known causes and suggested therapies, and then asked whether I had tried any of those remedies. I had, but with limited success. After asking a few more questions, he explained that he felt medical marijuana may help, and then recommended I try it.

And that was that. My meeting with Dr. Smith had lasted about 20 minutes, and I now had my medical marijuana recommendation.

With Dr. Smith’s blessing, the receptionist handed me my certificate titled, “Physicians Statement, Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5,”  certifying that I had a medical condition which may benefit from medical cannabis. She promptly snapped my photo, and a moment later, handed me my Medical Marijuana Patient Verification Card, which confirmed that I had the legal right to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The receptionist then warned that if I grow my own marijuana I will need to prominently display my certificate near my plants.

Grow my own pot? It hadn’t occurred to me. I gave it a moment’s thought, but after reflecting on my own past experiences with vegetable gardening (and how hard it was), I opted to simply buy marijuana from a licensed dispensary. I absolutely love the idea of purchasing fruits and vegetables at Certified Farmer’s Markets from growers who are in the business of providing fresh produce to consumers instead of laboring to grow my own. So I decided to do the same with medical marijuana… to purchase it at licensed dispensaries from growers whose business is providing quality products to their customers.

Now I just need to find a dispensary.

No comments:

Post a Comment