For many patients — and if we’re being honest, for many doctors as well — getting a medical marijuana recommendation is a one-time affair. It’s a box to check and then you’re on your own. But it shouldn’t be that way — and doesn’t have to be.
“People need more than just some guidance of ‘try some medical marijuana,’” says Dr. Steven Salzman, medical director for adult medicine at Leafwell, a network of online medical cannabis clinics.
Getting that first appointment is easy, of course. For patients in 18 US states, the time it takes from logging onto the Leafwell website to actually speaking with a doctor specializing in cannabis is usually no more than five minutes.
But that’s not why people come back.
“We applied a medical model to medical cannabis, and, essentially, it’s really more of integrative cannabis medicine because cannabis was the start of getting patients that solid base so that you could begin to implement lifestyle changes and other things that ultimately led to them being significantly improved,” Dr. Salzman explains, “but you had to improve certain things first so you could get people back on their feet.”
“One of the things we discovered earlier on is that part of the cannabis conversation should be what are your goals of care,” Dr. George Gavrilos, the company’s chief pharmacy officer, adds. “And so for every patient, that’s different.”
“So, it’s not just get a card, try something out,” Gavrilos continues. “It’s come back, let’s talk about it. What worked? What went well? What didn’t go well? What are barriers to care, and what, what can we do to, to sort of overcome those barriers?”
Edited and produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca.