It has been somewhat confusing for patients in Utah who would like to discuss Medical Marijuana with a doctor, PA, or NP because the Utah Medical Cannabis Card system is not up and running, dispensaries are not open yet, but Medical Cannabis is already legal. And then there is this weird feeling you get when you think about talking (out loud) about a drug that you grew up thinking was harmful, illegal, addictive, and terrible.
First, take a look at the list of qualifying conditions. You can also call our office or go to my previous article and look over the qualifying conditions. Anxiety and depression, insomnia, migraines, and glaucoma are NOT qualifying conditions in Utah, even though they can be treated in other states.
Pain greater than 2 weeks, not controlled with standard treatment – Persistent Nausea – Alzheimer’s – Crohn’s disease – Ulcerative Colitis -Cancer – ALS -Cachexia (weakness &/or weight loss due to illness) – HIV or AIDS – Epilepsy – Seizures – Persistent muscle spasms – Multiple Sclerosis – PTSD – Terminal Illness – Rare Condition or Condition you feel should be evaluated by the Utah Compassionate Use Board
The vast majority of patients will use pain as a complaint. This has been the case in all other states Medical Marijuana is legal. Utah defines pain qualification as the following.
Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed, in the qualified medical provider’s opinion, despite treatment attempts using: conventional medications other than opioids or opiates: or physical interventions.
For example, a patient has a metal plate in their arm after surgery three years ago and the metal plate causes long-term pain. Ibuprofen and Tylenol do not work well and the patient did physical therapy after the surgery but is still left with some ongoing pain. This pain obviously is longer than two weeks and conventional medications are not effective. In my opinion, This patient would qualify for a Medical Cannabis Card.
I have discussions with orthopedic surgeons who agree that any of their knee replacement or hip replacement patients would qualify even before surgery because their pain is greater than two weeks and because it will require surgery to fix. Even if ibuprofen and Tylenol help the pain, the fact that they need surgery proves that “conventional” medical treatment is not effective for their condition and “physical interventions” did not work.
It gets trickier when the patient has a toothache for three weeks, takes Norco, which helps, but Tylenol does not. Technically this will qualify, but many providers will still not recommend in this case.
This patient has painful migraine headaches, they come on every two-three weeks, last about a day and a half, but the medication they are prescribed does not really help, and this drug is the second one they have tried. The condition has been bothersome for over a year. Do Migraines qualify? No, they do not. But do they qualify for the PAIN associated with the Migraines? Yes.
Translation: The pain is bad and affects life enough that the patient is asking for help from a PA, NP, or doctor.
The Migraine patient has a Pain Disorder (as defined above) because she has pain in her head (anatomical site), she is seeking help (clinical attention), it causes her to miss work or otherwise affects her life, and the pain is not faked (feigned).
If you still don’t know that you would qualify or you are just plain scared about it, please please call me at 801-851-5554 and let’s talk about it. I grew up in Utah and I think I know the feeling. Also, contact the clinic and we will send you a secure form for health questions. Please do not send health information in an email.
Once you schedule you will instantly get an emailed link to the secure intake form and consent, and be able to confirm the appointment with your deposit. The total cost of the evaluation and recommendation is $250 paid by credit or debit card at your visit. There is no deposit.
Come prepared to talk about marijuana, cannabis, weed, pot, ganja, hashish, tincture, oil, creams, joints, bongs, dabs, wax, resin, and anything else you want to talk about. Yes, we are comfortable with the whole process and we want you to be too. Destigmatizing Medical Cannabis for you is part of this process.
You should also bring any medical records if we requested to confirm your diagnosis for the qualifying condition.
If you qualify and we decide together that you would like to try Medical Cannabis for your condition, you will get a letter from me THE SAME DAY that will allow you to legally possess and use cannabis in Utah.
After March 1st, Utah requires a 30-day follow-up visit after the initial recommendation. This is included with our initial cost, but may not be with other doctors. Check with your doctor before you go!
Medical Cannabis Cards in Utah expire after six months. We will send you a reminder one month before it expires to remind you to confirm a renewal visit. Many times the renewal will be offered via telemedicine (zoom video chat). Please note that telemedicine visits are subject to availability and are offered under limited circumstances. Call us at 801-851-5554 to ask about arranging a telemedicine visit.
While you are in ultimate control of what you use and how you use it, we also include education and expertise with delivery methods (oral, inhaled, cooked, creams, tinctures) and dosing help. In my opinion, you should be wary of those that are not willing (or able) to discuss this with you. Don’t you think your medical provider should know a lot about what they are recommending?
You can always get more information at UtahMarijuana.org and join the email list below to get education about cannabis in your email inbox.
Now you know a little more of what to expect with a Utah Medical Marijuana Card evaluation and hopefully, this made you feel a little more comfortable with the process. Please comment below if you have questions or need clarification on anything!