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What to Look For in a Potdoc

Click Here for the California Medical Board's Guidelines for Potdocs

First, you should check to see if the doctor has a current and valid license to practice medicine in the State of California.  Next, you should check and see if he / she has any discipline actions against him / her.  Make sure the doctor is not affiliated with any pot club.  Don't go to a potdoc on the premises of any pot club.  This is illegal.  See Conant Vs Walters for details. Make sure the doctor has an established office with proper ownership.  

The California Medical Board has issued a set of guidelines for Potdocs to follow that is posted on the Medical Board's web site. The accepted standards for Potdocs are the same as any reasonable and prudent physician would follow when recommending or approving any other medication, and include the following:

  1. History and good faith examination of the patient.
  2. Development of a treatment plan with objectives.
  3. Provision of informed consent including discussion of side effects.
  4. Periodic review of the treatment's efficacy.
  5. Physician Consultation, as necessary.
  6. Proper record keeping that supports the decision to recommend the use of medical marijuana.
In other words, if physicians use the same care in recommending medical marijuana to patients as they would recommending or approving any other medication, they have nothing to fear from the Medical Board.

A physician who is not the primary treating physician may still recommend medical marijuana for a patient's symptoms. However, it is incumbent upon that physician to consult with the patient's primary treating physician or obtain the appropriate patient records to confirm the patient's underlying diagnosis and prior treatment history.

The initial examination for the condition for which medical marijuana is being recommended must be in-person.

Recommendations should be limited to the time necessary to appropriately monitor the patient. Periodic reviews should occur and be documented at least annually or more frequently as warranted.  This makes the maximum time limit for a  recommendation issued to be one year, the same as any standard prescription.  If the patient has a chronic ongoing qualifying medical condition, a new recommendation can be written when the current one expires.

For more information on guidelines for PotDocs, see the California Medical Board's web page for potdoc guidelines:

Click Here for the California Medical Board's Guidelines for Potdocs

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