Telemedicine is a facet of contemporary healthcare that has been robustly expanding in recent years. One could make the same claim about medical cannabis. Now the two have even more in common.
Pasadena-based e-health startup Indica MD recently unveiled a telehealth platform that is a portal to medical marijuana. Limited to residents of California and New York, Indica MD’s website boasts everything qualified patients need to obtain a medical cannabis card, including the doctors. It describes its operation as “Canna done right.”
First step: reference the list
Interested individuals should visit IndicaMD.com to determine whether they have one of the health conditions that would qualify them for access to medical marijuana.
There is some variability in the illness lists of the two states, though there are several conditions covered in both, like cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and chronic pain. In addition to arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, and anxiety, California also extends its list with this final item:
“And, any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that substantially limits the ability of the person to conduct one or more major life activities (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) or, if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient’s safety or physical or mental health.”
New York’s list of ailments that would qualify a patient to use medical marijuana includes Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, it defines chronic pain as “any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability, that has intolerable side effects, that has lasted for or is expected to last for at least three months, and other modes of therapy that has failed to treat or that cannot be treated by another therapy because it would be harmful.”
Patients register on the site and consult remotely with doctors
If an individual has a condition that appears on his/her respective state’s list, the next step is registering on the website with an email and password in order to fill out a health questionnaire and request an online consultation with a physician within Indica MD’s doctor network. This service includes a video chat, and the patient only owes a fee for the visit if s/he is approved for access to medical marijuana.
In California, that approval comes in the form of a Medical Marijuana Recommendation Letter, and in New York, a Medical Marijuana Certification Number. Both are emailed to patients upon physician approval, and are valid for one year. Approval grants qualified individuals information regarding medical marijuana dispensaries in each state. Approved patients are able to access any of the medical dispensaries within their respective states.
The Indica MD telehealth platform is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and the company states that patient information is kept private and secured within an encrypted system.
Company promises safety and privacy
“Indica MD provides our patients the safety and privacy to visit knowledgeable and compassionate medical marijuana doctors online from their smartphone, tablet, or computer,” Dr. Teddy O’Connell, CEO of Indica MD said in a press release. “Before a patient can access medical marijuana, they must first obtain a valid recommendation or certification from a qualified, state-licensed medical doctor. Indica MD’s doctors provide these evaluations and operate in full compliance with the laws of California and New York.”
For patients who believe that medical cannabis might alleviate symptoms of health problems, but who may have been held back by the daunting first visit to a physician to learn more, Indica MD could be quite a boon. Although this particular telehealth platform is only available in two states at this point, it doesn’t strain credulity to imagine other states following suit, as well as other companies creating their own medical cannabis portals.
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