Minnesota Medical Cannabis, How To

mn-largemapThe Minnesota Medical Cannabis program is an interesting program with lots of confusion about how it works.  We followed a patient with intractable pain through the process.

First it took considerable amounts of research on the MDH website for information on the program.  But once it’s understood it’s really not that hard provided your Health Care Practitioner is ok with the medical use of Cannabis.  You can find more about this part of the process in our other article – Link

People will probably be surprised if they discuss this with their Health Care Practitioner.  It’s always best if you good relationship with your Care provider and are able to talk openly with them.  It seems that there are a very limited number of Health Care Practitioners in the state or anywhere that aren’t willing to give something new a try, even Cannabis.  It’s very easy for any Care provider to register with the state to certify people, there is also protections in place for Providers to keep their names out of the hands of everyone.

Our patient said,  “With the support of my Doctor I was able to find someone who was in my health care system and able to fast-track me to a doctor (that) was in the state registry and could certify me.”  For this patient it was a regular referral and covered by insurance.

Certification is an instant process once your entered into the system  “After that consultation I was entered into the state registry and certified almost instantly from the state.  Then I completed the registration process with the state and was approved.  It was then a matter of setting up an initial consultation with the dispensary”

01We followed the patient through the registration process.  It started with an email from the MDH with a link back to their website and introduces you.  It also shows some of the information you are going to need when the patient registers with the program.  We suggest you have copies of your state picture id and also any documents about being eligible for the reduced registration fee.

As you go through the registration process it will ask you for various things and verify your information in the system to create an account.

04Once your account is created you are given a ID number and fill in some demographic information.  After that you will need to upload a scan or picture of your state identification and also documents that show you might be part of the reduced cost to register.06-1

Then you verify all of your information to make sure that it’s correct and your ready to submit your payment with a credit card.13

 

There is a verification process that does take a few minutes to confirm that you are entered properly but appears to be very quickly.  Our patient completed the registration online in the afternoon on a Friday and was certified, registered and verified within a very short period of time.15

The next step is to contact a dispensary and set up an appointment.  “I was kinda surprised when I set up my consultation with the dispensary that they were busier than I expected.  But not so that I had to wait a long time to see them.”

It does take about an hour for your initial appointment as they go through all your medications, medical conditions.  “In many ways the visit to the dispensary was similar to any other pharmacy, they asked a number of questions about my medical history and medications I was taking.”

During the initial consultation at the dispensary they determine if your aware of the various affects of cannabis products, the different formulations they offer.  Our patient said “the individual who went over the various formulations they had available and we openly discussed the use of marijuana.”  adding “I liked that the individual I worked with was very knowledgeable about the products they had and the effectiveness of the different delivery methods.  All in all they were very professional and answered any questions I had and were very through.”

The cost of the medication will not be covered by any insurance plan, however the expense really depends on what formulation you need.  Our patient had pain which is best treated with higher concentrations of THC, which is cheaper.  “I was surprised at the cost of my medication.  I thought it would be more expensive than I had heard.

While it is true that some of the formulations are more expensive that has to do with the concentrations of THC to the other Cannabinoids and other biologics in the extracted compounds.

There is extreme flexibility in dosage.  It’s very well documented that THC and the other cannabinoids have a very high LD-50 level so the products are easy to figure out a dosage and start someplace and then increase to what finally gives you the relief you seek without any fear of an accidental overdoes.

The dispensary our patient went to is using whole plant extracts.  Using a very safe and proven CO2 method of extraction they not only extract the THC but all the other beneficial plant elements that would be found in smoked cannabis.  They have taken great care in attempting to provide what will be the most effective formulations for the individual patient.   There is nothing to keep a patient from mixing the various formulations to find what it is that works best for them.  The program in it’s operation and dispensing of medication is very flexible to fit the patient.

While we are not impressed with the variety of products, number of companies allowed, and dispensary locations are few and far between in out-state MN we are impressed with what they are doing now.  It’s not that hard for a patient to be certified, it’s very easy for Care providers to register with the state to certify people, it’s a start in the right direction.