Medical Marijuana Telemedicine is Legal in Some States
Before COVID, not many legal marijuana states allowed for marijuana telemedicine. Telemedicine involves a visit between a health care provider and patient either by telephone audio (in limited instances), smart phone, computer, or laptop, all three of which need cameras. Due to recent pandemic stay-at-home orders, the need for telemedicine for medical marijuana patients is quite clear. More legal marijuana states began allowing medical marijuana telemedicine as an appointment option. It is unclear if the states that are temporarily allowing for marijuana telemedicine will continue to do so when emergency provisions/orders pertaining to medical marijuana telehealth end in each state. During this time, many states have deemed marijuana dispensaries as essential business, thus enabling medical marijuana patients to obtain their medicine during this time of crisis.
It was first used to transmit images, video and medical data. It has grown over the years to include virtual patient/physician visits. Last year, roughly only 8 percent of Americans reported ever using telemedicine; however, this has quickly changed due to the pandemic and revisions in state and insurance regulations which allow for telemedicine (insurance doesn’t cover medical marijuana or medical marijuana telemedicine). Some doctors report that up to 95 percent of physician/patient visits are now through telemedicine.
Telemedicine increases access to care by eliminating transportation time and costs. This is especially important for patients in underserved areas who don’t have medical marijuana doctors near by. Telemedicine is also of great benefit to patients who are homebound due to medical conditions. And, telemedicine reduces the need to take time off from work for appointments and eliminates the need for patients to find care for children or for older adults for whom they care. Patient appointment telemedicine wait times are often less than wait times for traditional office visits.
Telehealth provides doctors with the ability to expand their patient base beyond physical offices and expand office hours. Doctors who provide telemedicine options may experience reduced overhead due to the need for less office space with less footage dedicated for exam rooms and possible reduced personnel needs at the front desk. Office visit no-shows have been found to be reduced with the use of telemedicine, helping to increase the efficiency of a practice. As patients use convenient telehealth services, findings are showing many patients who have utilized telemedicine would do so again. With telehealth, doctors can create new and more patient-friendly models for the delivery of care.
Ask your doctor if they will evaluate and certify you via telemedicine!