Wholistic ReLeaf is committed to providing our patients the best possible care, while also complying with the ever-shifting legal landscape of medical cannabis. We will continue to update our information as the State of Florida clarifies the still ambiguous areas of law.
Based on our current understanding of the law, a legal Florida resident may be certified to use medical cannabis only if all the following criteria are met:
1) A Qualifying Medical Condition – the patient must have a diagnosis of at least one of the following medical conditions, or suffer from a medical condition of the same kind or class as or comparable to one of the following conditions:
- PTSD (debilitating symptoms: insomnia, mood swings, depression, anxiety, panic attack, aggression)
- Multiple sclerosis (muscle/joint/nerve pain, chronic headaches, arthritis, fatigue, numbness/tingling, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, dizziness/vertigo, bladder dysfunction, decreased cognitive function, constipation, swallowing difficulty, chronic itchiness)
- Parkinson’s disease (tremors, difficulty speaking, cognitive impairment, stiff/rigid muscles, difficulty walking, amnesia, dementia)
- Crohn’s disease (chronic abdominal pain and cramping, chronic diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, poor appetite)
- HIV/AIDS (poor appetite, weight loss, fatigue, HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder causing deficits in attention, learning, concentration, attention, and focus)
- ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease
- A Terminal illness (diagnosed by a physician other than the physician issuing the cannabis certification)
2) Medical Conditions of the Same Kind or Class as (or Comparable to) – we understand this to mean any debilitating condition a patient is suffering from that is similar to those found in the conditions listed above.
For example, if all other eligibility criteria are satisfied, Dr. Berger believes it appropriate to consider ordering medical cannabis for a patient suffering from symptoms similar to those exhibited in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as debilitating anxiety, panic, depression, violent tendencies, or insomnia. Likewise, Dr. Berger would consider medical cannabis as a treatment option if a patient suffers from a similar chronic debilitating symptom commonly seen in Multiple Sclerosis patients, or has another debilitating autoimmune or inflammatory condition. Additionally, similar to how people with ALS and Parkinson’s may experience difficulty speaking and comprehending, people with autism and related disorders also commonly suffer a debilitating limited ability to communicate.
Please contact us if a patient is suffering from other debilitating symptoms so we can further evaluate and confirm whether this would qualify the patient.
3) Certification by a Qualified Florida Medical Cannabis Physician
A Florida-licensed physician who successfully completed the required state-sponsored medical education course must evaluate the patient.
4) Risk-Benefit Determination
During the consultation, the certifying physician must determine the benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for the patient, and document this in the chart.
5) Additional Requirements for Certain Patients
Pediatric patients – any patient under 18-years-old must have a second physician who concurs in writing that the potential benefits of treating the patient with medical cannabis outweigh the risks for the patient. The concurring physician does not have to be certified by the State to order medical cannabis nor does this physician need to formally document a recommendation. We have a second physician on staff at Wholistic ReLeaf who can provide this documentation following a chart review. The patient does not meet personally with the second physician for this service.
Additionally, the patient must have a designated caregiver who meets the State’s qualifications. The family must provide the State a certified copy of a birth certificate or a current record of registration from a Florida K-12 school and must have a parent or legal guardian who meets the requirements as set forth by the state.
Patients with a terminal medical condition – defined as a progressive disease or medical or surgical condition that causes significant functional impairment, is not considered by a treating physician to be reversible without the administration of life-sustaining procedures and will result in death within 1 year after diagnosis if the condition runs its normal course. A patient with a terminal condition must have that condition attested to by the ordering physician. Wholistic ReLeaf must be presented with the medical documentation stating the terminal status from another physician, who cannot be the physician issuing the medical cannabis certification. The physician who documented the terminal condition does not need to state a recommendation that the patient be treated with medical cannabis.
Pregnancy – a physician may not issue a medical cannabis certification, except for low-THC cannabis, to a patient who is pregnant.