Medical marijuana can be used as an alternative treatment for many Pennsylvania patients. According to a 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study, there is evidence that marijuana can relieve pain, muscle spasms, and nausea — symptoms of various diseases and conditions approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHO CAN RECOMMEND MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Only physicians (MDs or DOs) who are licensed in the state of Pennsylvania can recommend medical marijuana ONLY after completing a 4-hour training course required by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
WHAT ARE THE APPROVED SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN PENNSYLVANIA?
A “serious medical condition” under the law is any one of the following:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Cancer, including remission therapy
- Crohn’s disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies
- Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable seizures
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Opioid-use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
- Sickle cell anemia
- Terminal illness
- Tourette Syndrome
HOW DOES A PHYSICIAN GO ABOUT BECOMING AN APPROVED PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL MARIJUANA PRACTITIONER?
All physicians who want to become approved practitioners for the medical marijuana program, must first register with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. A physician can register by accessing the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Registry and following the steps listed here.
In addition to registering with the DOH, physicians are also required to take a 4-hour training before they are approved by the state. After registration is submitted, the 4-hour training is complete, and everything is approved by the DOH, physicians can log onto their registry accounts (using username and password created during registration), and begin to initiate patient certifications.
HERE CAN PHYSICIANS COMPLETE THE REQUIRED 4-HOUR TRAINING?
The required 4-hour physician training will cover the latest scientific research data on medical marijuana, including the risks and benefits of medical marijuana. Below are the current vendors approved by the DOH for the training:
The Answer Page Inc.
Extra Step Assurance LLC
The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University
University of the Scienes
WHAT ARE THE APPROVED FORMS OF MARIJUANA THAT ARE SOLD IN DISPENSARIES IN PENNSYLVANIA?
In Pennsylvania, approved forms of medical marijuana include: pill; oil; topical forms, including gel, cream, or ointment; tinctures; liquid; a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, including dry leaf or plant form for administration by vaporization.
WHAT DOES THE PATIENT CERTIFICATION PROCESS LOOK LIKE FOR THE PHYSICIAN?
All patient certifications must be completed via the online DOH portal, where the physician profile lives. Once the patient certification is submitted to the state, the patient will receive an email prompting them to complete their registration process and pay for their card.
CAN PHYSICIANS LIMIT OR RESTRICT THE FORM OF MARIJUANA THAT A PATIENT CAN PURCHASE IN A DISPENSARY?
Yes. In Section 6 of the Physician Certification Process, the physician will be asked if there are any limitations or restrictions on the forms of marijuana the patient will receive. It is suggested that the certifying physician checks the box that recommends that the patient discusses the form of medical marijuana to be dispensed with a medical professional employed by a dispensary.