Frequently Asked Questions
How do I go about getting medical marijuana (MMJ)?
It is essentially a 4-step process:
Go online and register with the PA Marijuana Program. Click here for the link to the PA MMJ website.
Come see us for an initial office visit and, if you qualify, we will “certify” you and send you an email confirmation of certification.
Go back to the PA website and pay the $50 registration fee. Your card will come to you in the mail within 3 weeks. Once you have your card you may go to any MMJ Dispensary and buy your medicine.
What do I need for my office visit?
It is essential that you bring:
Records from your physician, primary or specialist, that establishes that you have one of the 21 qualifying conditions.
Valid and current Pennsylvania State ID, such as a driver’s license.
Payment. The initial visit is $200. Unfortunately, none of the insurance companies will cover the MMJ related costs. We accept cash, credit cards and debit cards. No checks please.
What records do you need at the time of my visit?
You will need to bring copies of your records from your doctor’s office which establish that you have one of the 21 “Qualifying Conditions” that will allow us to certify you for MMJ. Usually records from your most recent visit to your primary care physician will suffice or a recent visit to your specialist such as Pain Management, Oncologist, Neurologist, Back Surgeon, Psychiatrist or Pediatrician to give a few examples. If you are hesitant to tell your doctor why you are requesting your records don’t worry. The federal HIPPA Laws require your doctor to provide a copy of records any time you request them. You do not have to tell them why, just that you want a copy of your records.
We are at 6724 Kernsville Road in Orefield, PA. We have chosen a rural setting just a few miles outside of Allentown but well within the Lehigh Valley. We inhabit a rustic grey log A-frame house that was recently refurbished to our specifications. It provides a very homey atmosphere that is in line with the type of practice we are building.
Where are you located?
For up-to-date prices visit your Dispensary website. The average monthly cost for many of our patients is running between $50 –150 depending on the medical condition.
How much does Medical Marijuana cost?
The initial visit is $200. Each follow up visit costs $100.
How much does an office visit cost?
The state requires a yearly re-certification visit. We encourage our patients to return for an optional three month follow-up. However, all of our patients have different needs and some may require more follow-up visits than others. We encourage our patients to follow-up with us as often as they need.
How often do I need to follow-up?
There are currently two MMJ Dispensaries in the Lehigh Valley. They are:
Where are the dispensaries?
I will make some recommendations but the final selection of the dose and form of your Medical Marijuana will be up to you and the Pharmacist at the Dispensary. Here are some general principles to keep in mind:
For most patients “less is better”. As you increase the dose, feedback mechanisms may kick in which can counteract the beneficial effects.
Start with a low dose and increase it slowly over a period of 1 to 2 weeks or longer. Once you begin feeling the beneficial effects, stay at that dose for a while and see how you do.
What will my dose of Medical Marijuana be?
Pills, oil, tincture, cream, liquid, vaping, and whole flower for vaping are currently approved. Edibles and whole flower for smoking are not approved by the state.
What forms of medical marijuana will be available?
There are advantages and disadvantages to each form. The main difference is ease of use and how fast the medicine starts to work. Generally using a vape pen produces the quickest delivery of medicine into your bloodstream. The next fastest method is a sublingual spray of tincture or liquid. The slowest would be taking a pill. As a general rule, the faster the medicine is absorbed, the shorter the duration of effects.
What is the difference between forms of medical marijuana (MMJ)?
Formulations of Medical Marijuana that contain mostly THC can be “psychogenic” and cause a sense of euphoria known as a “high”. However, most of our patients will quite likely opt for formulations that are higher in the chemical known as CBD. CBD has many beneficial effects without causing a high.
I don’t want to get high. Will medical marijuana (MMJ) make me high?
No. Unfortunately no insurance providers pay for any of the office visits or the medicine.
Will my health insurance pay for visits or for the (MMJ)?
The short answer is “No.” Even if you are taking a form of Medical Marijuana that does not impair your driving, if you are pulled over by the police and undergo drug testing you will quite likely test positive and be subject to legal penalties. Avoid medical cannabis use that puts you or others at risk, such as using it while driving, at work, or in public places. Remember, you can still be arrested for cannabis use and penalties can be stiff. As with any other medication, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, it remains illegal to drive while “under the influence.”
Is it legal to drive while taking Medical marijuana
MMJ is about as addictive as caffeine. Interestingly, the withdrawal symptoms are about the same as well: Some patients experience mild to moderate headaches, some feel mild to moderate irritability or restlessness. For most, these symptoms fade quickly over about a week to 10 days.
Is Medical Marijuana (MMJ) addictive?
Many patients with chronic pain have become dependent on daily opioid therapy for their pain. Once started on MMJ many patients are able to cut back on their routine opioid use. We urge CAUTION when reducing or stopping chronic opioid therapy. Here are a few of our suggestions:
Do not stop opioids suddenly. It is better to taper off of opioids in order to avoid withdrawal. Many MMJ patients begin to cut back on their opioid use within the first 2 weeks of starting on MMJ treatment.
NEVER cut sustained release opioid medications, such as Oxycontin and MS Contin, in half. Cutting these and similar medications causes a sudden release of all of the opiate in a short time instead of over a longer period as they were designed to do and could be fatal.
However, plain percocet and vicodin may be cut in half to facilitate tapering your dose.
We recommend you inform your prescribing physician of your intention to reduce your dose. They should be happy to help guide you through the process.
Interestingly, MMJ treats most of opiate withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, muscle spasm, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, runny nose and sweating.
Finally, most patients are able to reduce their opiate dose by 50 to 80% and up to 40% of patients can wean themselves off of opiates completely!
If I start on Medical Marijuana (MMJ), can I take myself off of my opiates?
Visit to the “Qualifying Conditions” page here on our website.