How Does Medical Cannabis Work?
Medical cannabis contains active chemical compounds called phytocannabinoids that interact with a distinct physiological system known as the Endocannabinoid System. This system is comprised of endogenous cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and regulatory enzymes. The endogenous cannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: primarily in the nervous system and the immune system, but also in the gastrointestinal, endocrine, hematopoetic systems and more. Human and animal studies demonstrate the role of the endocannabinoid system in a wide variety of physiologic processes and this ubiquity of the endocannabinoid system suggests the possibility of multiple therapeutic roles for medical cannabis.
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Frequently Asked Questions
In order to be able to issue written certifications for medical cannabis to patients for treatment of a qualifying medical condition, you must register as a “Certifying Provider” with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Qualifying medical conditions include cachexia, anorexia, wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
The requirements for issuing a written certification for medical cannabis are:
- A “bona fide physician-patient relationship” with the patient
- The patient’s condition must be severe
- Other medical treatments must have proven ineffective for the patient’s condition, and
- The symptoms must reasonably be expected to be relieved by the use of medical cannabis.
Maryland law defines a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” as a treatment or counseling relationship between a Provider and patient in which the physician reviews the patient’s relevant medical records, completes an in person assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, creates and maintains medically standardized records, expects to monitor patient program and takes any medically indicated action to follow up.
Once issued, a Provider may amend or revoke a patient’s written certification on any medical grounds or if the patient no longer meets the Provider’s inclusion criteria, or the patient now meets the Provider’s exclusion criteria. Examples of exclusion criteria include suspicion on the part of the physician that the patient is abusing cannabis or diverting cannabis to others.
More information is available on the Provider’s Frequently Asked Questions page.
A patient must be diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions to qualify to receive cannabis or a cannabis delivery device:
- Wasting syndrome
- Severe pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic pain
No more than 120 grams of Cannabis Dried Flower– or approximately four ounces, unless a physician makes a special determination that a patient needs more.
Maximum amount of THC in an extract that a patient can get in a month is 36 grams of THC.