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Will Most Medical Cannabis Consultations Take Place Online Via Telehealth?

Could Telehealth Be the Future of Medical Marijuana Consultations?

Table of contents
  1. You Can Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online with Leafwell
  2. How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online via Telehealth with Leafwell
  3. Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online?
  4. Advantages of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card via Telehealth
  5. Is it Cheaper to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online?
  6. Telehealth and Medical Insurance 
  7. COVID-19 May Speed Up Medical Marijuana Legalization 
  8. Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online with Leafwell? 
  9. Is Telemedicine the Future of Healthcare?

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, many states throughout the United States required that a patient see a physician in-person before they could use telemedicine for future consultations. Now, an initial physical examination is not required to use telemedicine, at least in some states.

medicine mobile phone object pulse research scrutiny smartphone stethoscope technology telephone treatment wireless phone telehealth telemedicine
From: https://pixnio.com/science/medical-science/stethoscope-mobile-phone-diagnosis-pulse-cardiology-medicine-healthcare (Public Domain – CC0)

The requirement for in-state licensure has also been waived by several states, meaning physicians who are licenced in one state can practice via telemedicine in another state. States throughout the US have expanded their telehealth programs and loosened restrictions in order to maintain social distancing.

One of the services starting to be provided by physicians in medical marijuana states is cannabis certification. Whilst states like Florida only allow renewals online, others like Illinois and Oklahoma have allowed for the entire medical cannabis qualification process to take place online. States like California already allowed for online cannabis recommendations prior to the outbreak.

You Can Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online with Leafwell

You can get a physician’s MMJ certificate and medical marijuana card online with Leafwell in the following states:

ArkansasCaliforniaFloridaIllinoisMaineMarylandMassachusettsMontanaNew YorkOhioOklahoma PennsylvaniaRhode Island

As more states allow for online medical cannabis consultations, we will hopefully be able to start providing certificates or recommendations in them. We here at Leafwell have always thought that telemedicine and cannabis certification were made for each other, and where legal is the simplest way of getting a certificate and medical card.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online via Telehealth with Leafwell

Each state differs, but the process generally goes like this:

  1. Register online and speak to a licensed physician.
  2. Get approved and receive your medical cannabis certificate.
  3. Go to state website and register and pay for your medical marijuana card please note: sometimes this needs to be done prior to step 1. above, or is done whilst speaking to the physician.
  4. Some states will send you a temporary, electronic copy of your medical marijuana ID card (e.g. New York), but in other states you will need to wait for the physical copy of your medical marijuana card.
  5. Once you have your MMJ card and certificate, you can then shop at a dispensary.

Other things you will need to have to get your medical cannabis card online include:

  • A smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop with a working microphone, camera and speakers.
  • Proof of identification – driver’s license or state-produced ID card. Minor patients may require a birth certificate as well.
  • Proof of address – not always necessary, but some states’ medical marijuana programs require 2 forms of proof of address from within the last 2/3 months (utility bill, voter registration, letter rom a state department).
  • Medical records – progress notes, medication list, medical images, full health records.
  • Caregivers will need to go through a criminal record check, and will also need to complete an application for and provide proof of identification.
  • Unless you have a caregiver or are legally emancipated, you must be aged 18 or over to qualify for medical marijuana.

Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online?

In most states in the United States, you will need a valid medical cannabis certificate and medical marijuana identification card from the appropriate state in order to legally consume cannabis. However, even in states where recreational cannabis is legal, there are still several advantages to getting a medical marijuana card. These include:

  • Save money on sales taxes – most states with recreational cannabis exempt medical users from sales taxes.
  • Most states allow for medical mariuana use at aged 18, and recreational cannabis at 21.
  • Medical cannabis patients usually have a wider selection of products to choose from.
  • Medical cannabis is more likely to be deemed essential, whereas recreational cannabis is not.
  • Medical cannabis patients are more likely to be eligible for dispensary deals and sales.
  • Reciprocity – those with a valid medical mariuana card in one state may be protected by medical cannabis laws in another state.

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Advantages of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card via Telehealth

  • The ability to see patients living in remote locations, the elderly, those with mobility issues and underserved communities..
    Time and money saved for patients with regards to transport costs, missed days at work etc.
  • Patients can see a physician almost immediately.
  • Great for routine check-ups.
    Reduced overheads for clinics, with a greater ability to expand areas of service and increase the number of patients that can be seen..
    In emergency & critical situations, the ability for a specialist physician to give advice and guidance online could be life-saving. There is also the ability to train other physicians and other healthcare workers online.
  • Physicians and nurses can monitor multiple patients.
  • Extremely useful for mental health, psychotherapy and group therapy.
  • Great for services like physiotherapy.
  • Great for regular appointments where constantly meeting face-to-face is time-consuming.
  • Provide care in disaster and emergency situations.
  • Allows people to distance socially easily and reduce the chances of infection.
    The ability for out-of-state clinics to compete could result in a greater level of competition. This can help drive down the costs of healthcare.

Moreover, there are many people who do not mind seeing a physician online. Although the need for human interaction should not be overlooked (and is obviously necessary in critical & emergency situations), the main focus is the entirely functional need for healthcare. Even prior to the COVID19 crisis, a 2015 survey showed that “Among patients who have not used a telemedicine service, 75 percent express interest in using one in lieu of an in-person medical visit.

medical marijuana card california

Is it Cheaper to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online?

Leafwell is a telehealth provider with competitive pricing, and we aim to make the ability to get a medical marijuana card as simple and accessible as possible. We generally pass on the savings from overheads onto our customers, except where it is not legally possible to do so. It is generally cheaper to get a medical cannabis certificate online with Leafwell, and the service we provide is second-to-none. You get your money’s worth! Some states are more expensive that others. California’s medical marijuana certificate costs $49, and the certificate + card is $59.

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Telehealth and Medical Insurance

One of the main concerns was that patients did not know if insurance covered the cost of their consultation. Since the expansion of telemedicine services to accommodate social distancing, insurance companies have started to cover the costs of telehealth services. Of course, as cannabis is a federally illegal substance, insurance will not cover the cost of consultation.

Yet, many states consider cannabis dispensaries to be an essential service. After all, to declare cannabis not essential would defeat the idea of “medical cannabis”, and there are some seriously sick people who need it for day-to-day living.

COVID-19 May Speed Up Medical Marijuana Legalization

States will also be looking for industries to bring jobs (and tax money) to a post-COVID19 world. Legalizing cannabis is definitely something they will be considering. This will no doubt create more pressure to legalize federally.

Whether this crisis prompts recreational legalization remains to be seen, but medical legalization is very likely for most states. Until there’s significant testing and a vaccine, social distancing is going to last some time. This will probably mean that many cannabis certifications will be taking place online, except in perhaps some instances where a face-to-face meeting is merited by the condition.

On the other hand, people who are living in states where the institution of a medical cannabis program would have taken place this year may find that such plans may take a back burner. Florida only allows renewals, not new applications, so new applications may be suspended to some extent in a few states. However, as time goes on, new applications will have to be allowed. This makes it increasingly likely that medical cannabis consultations will take place via telemedicine nationwide, in all states with a medical marijuana program.

Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online with Leafwell?

It’s quite simple, really: wherever you are, you can speak to a physician online and qualify for a medical cannabis certificate and MMJ identity card. No need to go to a clinic in-person, no need to book an appointment, no need to risk infection … You can simply sign up for an account and speak to a physician online. Of course, not all states have telemedicine/telehealth, and some states do not allow for online medical mariuana qualification even if they allow for doctors’ appointments online via telehealth.

Is Telemedicine the Future of Healthcare?

Yes and no. There is no doubt that telehealth/telemedicine provides a huge number of advantages, including both time and cost savings. However, there are still many improvements that need to be made to the technology (although the platform that Leafwell provides is one of the best ones available on the market today, and we’re constantly improving it!), and some things are going to need an in-person, face-to-face, physical examination. However, as the technology improves, expect to see more day-to-day appointments take place online. Also expect to see more group meetings with clinics as well. It seems, however, that telehealth is here to stay, and will likely be more commonplace in the future.

Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/intelfreepress/6948764580/sizes/o/in/photostream/; author: IntelFreePress (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

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