In the age of telemedicine, it’s probably no surprise that consultations with physicians are increasingly taking place over the internet.
Using services like Skype or Google Hangouts, prospective patients can have face to face conversations about symptoms and treatments.
Telemedicine is developing over a growing variety of applications and services, including two-way video, email, and texting.
Ever on the cutting edge, doctors able to prescribe medical cannabis have been interested in the advantages of this modern advancement, and some are already taking to the Internet to find patients in need.
Many wonder, however, whether doctors can legitimately recommend and prescribe medical marijuana over Skype or other televideo services.
Many states where medical cannabis is legal require a healthcare provider and her or his medical cannabis patient to have a pre-existing, “bonafide” relationship.
Most states also require an in-person examination of the patient before any recommendation of medical marijuana, in addition to various requirements regarding follow-up care.
The rub is that in most of those states, the language of the law doesn’t specify whether these “pre-existing, bonafide” relationships between doctors and patients can be established virtually.
On the other hand, some states explicitly prohibit physicians from recommending medical cannabis via Skype or similar tele-services. Colorado’s Medical Board took this approach last August. Illinois also directly prohibits the practice.
But in other places, healthcare practitioners and patients alike are taking advantage of the ambiguity of the law.
In Minnesota, it took one medical cannabis patient just 8 minutes to obtain a card.
And the less time physicians spend with medicinal-pot seekers the better, according to Christ, executive director of Montana Caregivers Network.
The controversial group has helped thousands of Montanans sign up for medical marijuana cards at traveling clinics and via Internet consultations.
(Photo Courtesy of bcpa.com)