There has been lots of confusion on how a person can obtain medical cannabis products in Minnesota. This is an attempt to help people understand the process. This is certainly not an endorsement of the process either as it took several days of studying the various bits of information in order to get to this level of understanding.
First a patient must meet one of the qualifying conditions. To find a list of the current qualifying conditions please follow this link – MDH-Conditions – . If you have a qualifying condition you must be seen by your health care practitioner.
Any health care practitioner can register with the state of Minnesota. So long as they are health care practitioner as defined by MN Law they can register with MDH to certify their patients.
“A health care practitioner is defined as a Minnesota-licensed doctor of medicine, a Minnesota-licensed physician assistant acting within the scope of authorized practice, or a Minnesota-licensed advanced practice registered nurse who has primary responsibility for care and treatment of the patient’s qualifying medical condition.” – MDH
They are able to find more information and register with the state at this link – Health Provider Information Registration – MDH – A doctor is not required to become registered with the state but in order to certify you meet the conditions they must register with the state. It appears there is no fee to the health care provider.
A health care provider may refer a patient to another health care provider who can certify you. The key is there needs to be a health care provider patient relationship. As there are no threats of federal intrusion or state repercussions and no cost to your provider, every health care provider in Minnesota or with a Minnesota license should register to certify patients. Medical practitioners are protected by the state of Minnesota for certification of patients.
You will need to give your certification person an email address for them to enter you into the system. The MDH and we also suggest you create a Email account that is not connected to you or as disconnected as possible as things change. You also do not want emails going to your work email account as you may change jobs. Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail all are options for an email address.
Once your health care practitioner has certified you, or you have been certified by a health care practitioner, then you will get an email from the MDH. In the email will be a link that allows you to register with the MDH and get your registration. The fees are $200 and for some people as low as $50. You can find out more about the fee structure at this link MDH-Costs to Register.
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”
We 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. Standard JPG’s are perfectly adequate and you can take one with any phone.
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.
Once 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.
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.
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.