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What to Expect in a Medical Marijuana Evaluation

Doctor holding a tablet speaking with a patient

Medical marijuana is an increasingly common treatment option for qualifying conditions in Texas, but before you can obtain cannabis from a licensed dispensary, you need a prescription.

The first step in this process is completing an evaluation with a registered medical marijuana doctor. This can be an intimidating process, but with some preparation and guidance, most new patients find this conversation goes smoothly. Here’s everything you need to know about a medical marijuana evaluation.

What Is the Purpose of a Medical Marijuana Evaluation?

Medical marijuana is legal in most states, although each state has its own list of qualifying medical conditions. Texas allows for medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act, and Texas physicians qualified to conduct medical marijuana evaluations are listed in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT).

The purpose of the evaluation is ultimately for the patient’s safety. The state wants to ensure that cannabis prescriptions are issued for legitimate causes and supervised by qualified doctors. In this regard, it’s no different than seeing a specialist for any other medical issue.

During an evaluation, the doctor will discuss your medical history with you. Although it may feel like a test, the purpose of this evaluation is more than just to determine your eligibility for medical cannabis. The doctor wants to make sure this is a sensible treatment for your symptoms and lifestyle. Once approved, you will be able to order medical marijuana from a dispensary.

Where Do I Go to Complete an Evaluation?

Most states that have dedicated compassionate use programs, such as Texas, will have medical marijuana evaluation centers available for those who would like to be approved for an MMJ card. You may have to drive quite a distance to reach your destination, especially if you’re in a rural area.

It’s common for states to also offer telemedicine appointments, allowing patients to find a physician and complete an evaluation from home. A medical marijuana evaluation is a review of your symptoms and history — not a physical — so there is no disadvantage to having this meeting virtually. Texas 420 Doctors helps Texans connect with board-certified physicians who can perform medical marijuana evaluations securely and efficiently.

Are Medical Marijuana Evaluations Secure?

When it comes to cannabis, there’s always the potential that someone will try to scam people. Fortunately, these types of scams are pretty easy to spot and avoid, but it’s important to keep your guard up and always do your research beforehand. Only physicians who are licensed and listed on the CURT registry may approve your application for an MMJ card.

Before you enroll for an evaluation, be sure that the physician is registered and that your state has a medical marijuana program in place. In Texas, a medical marijuana evaluation should always mention CURT and provide you with the doctor’s qualifications. You should never have to pay upfront before you receive a determination of your eligibility.

Is This Type of Evaluation Legal?

Yes, it is completely legal! According to a precedent established in a 2002 appeals case, it is not against the law to inquire about the use of medical marijuana. For that matter, neither is it illegal for a physician to broach the topic and discuss the pros and cons with their patient. This opens the doorway for healthy conversation, in which a patient can receive well-balanced facts and ask questions. For example, a medical marijuana evaluation is the place where you can ask about the benefits and potential risks of cannabis so you can make an informed decision.

What Are the Qualifying Health Conditions?

Every state has different requirements around its qualifying conditions. For those seeking a medical marijuana evaluation within the state of Texas, there are many conditions covered under the Compassionate Use Program, including:

Studies support the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia. If you or a loved one are suffering from one or more of the conditions listed above, then you may be eligible for a medical cannabis recommendation. Schedule a medical marijuana evaluation to determine your eligibility and allow Texas 420 Doctors to connect you with a qualified physician.

What Should I Bring to My Evaluation Appointment?

A medical marijuana evaluation is a conversation about your symptoms and treatment options. Bring any referrals from your primary care physician, medical scans, or test results that support your diagnosis. A government ID will be required prior to a medical marijuana evaluation to prove your Texas residency.

This is also a chance to bring your questions and your own research. Before you meet with the doctor, research your condition to find some specific examples of how cannabis may alleviate your symptoms and to identify any areas of concern you may have. This prior knowledge will help direct the conversation and make the experience more productive for you. It also gives the doctor some confidence that you understand what you’re asking for with regard to medical cannabis.

How Should I Behave During My Evaluation?

This may seem like an odd question to ask, but many patients feel that they are somehow on trial when they meet with a medical marijuana doctor. There’s still plenty of stigma surrounding the purchase and use of cannabis, and it’s normal to feel a little apprehensive going into the appointment.

The most important thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong or illegal about what you’re doing. In many cases, cannabis is a positive substitute for more addictive forms of pain relief. If you have a qualifying condition, then medical cannabis can be a safe and effective way for you to find relief.

That said, be aware that the physician in charge of your medical marijuana evaluation in Texas is not obligated to approve an MMJ card for your condition. Hence, it’s helpful to present yourself as positive and approachable throughout the entire process. Physicians are unlikely to give out MMJ cards to those who are unpleasant and uninformed, or to those whom they suspect might just be after the high. Remember to smile, introduce yourself, greet the physician by name, and then present a succinct explanation of your symptoms and the reasoning behind your visit.

What Questions Should I Ask?

A doctor speaking to a patient across a desk

A good physician will finish a medical marijuana evaluation by asking if you have any questions concerning Texas state requirements, expectations, or restrictions. If for whatever reason you are not prompted to do so, be sure to interject anyway and ask whatever is on your mind. After all, the physician is there for you, not the other way around. Your medical marijuana evaluation is your prime opportunity to understand your treatment options.

First of all, it can help clarify any confusing or misunderstood topics. Be sure to take mental note of any questions that arise during the evaluation process so that you can return to them at the end of your time together. Second, preparing a list of questions will mean that you are engaging in active listening. By engaging with what your physician is telling you, you are making connections and understanding the subject better. It’s also a great way to demonstrate your previously acquired knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Here are some common questions you may have:

  • What are the potential side effects associated with cannabis use?
  • Can I use cannabis alongside my current medications?
  • Pending the results of my medical marijuana evaluation, is my condition covered under the Texas Compassionate Use program?
  • Are there particular methods of consumption you recommend?
  • What is the typical follow-up procedure after a medical marijuana evaluation?

How Can I Boost My Probability of Success?

When going in for an evaluation, likely the only thing on your mind is getting through it and getting approved. But it’s worth noting that the process can be very positive and informative if you let it. Of course, you still want to boost your favorability and strengthen your chances of success. So how do you do it?

As previously stated, it’s crucial to make a good impression. You don’t want your physician to get the wrong idea and deny your application. Be pleasant and approachable during the entirety of the evaluation process. Be teachable, and ask questions when you don’t understand something. During the evaluation, demonstrate a working knowledge of the uses and risks associated with using medical marijuana in Texas, and give your physician solid evidence and logical reasoning behind your visit. All the tips listed above will give you a head start on preparing for your evaluation and increasing your probability of success.

You’re On Your Way!

Now that you have a better idea of what a medical marijuana evaluation is, hopefully you feel prepared to approach the appointment with confidence. Remember, be open and honest with the physician, and arrive equipped with research so that you can have an informed discussion.

Texas 420 Doctors creates a relaxed, patient-focused approach in our first-time evaluations. Your secure and confidential conversation with a CURT-registered doctor will be a time to gain more information about your treatment options and make a plan for the best way forward. Contact us today to get started!