Getting Your Medical Marijuana Card Without Leaving the House
Dr. Lewis Jassey is a pediatrician who comes to us today, amidst this unprecedented health crisis in the world, with over 25 years of experience. He has run a practice of over 15,000 patients in the past, been on staff at 5 major hospitals, and has lectured nationally for pharmaceuticals and pharmacogenetics. He has appeared many times on national TV & radio shows before, and he even authored the well-known book called “The Newborn Sleep Book”, where he shares his full proof method of getting children to sleep through the night. So needless to say, he comes to us today with a wealth of medical experience.
Dr. Lewis is now using his skills and experience to help patients get their medical marijuana cards through telemedicine (or video conferencing). He believes that patients that are immunocompromised or even just busy should not be forced to leave the house (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) to get medicine that helps them live a normal life. Learn more in our interview below.
If you are suffering and in need of medical marijuana to live a better or normal life, we encourage you to consider an online consultation. We have partnered with LeafWell to offer our readers $10 off of your first consultation using code MJE10 here.
As a physician, what’s Your general take on this pandemic that we’re all living through right now. Should we be freaking out right now?
No one can profess to be an expert on COVID-19. This is a new infection that we are all still learning about. As trained medical personnel, what we CAN bring to the table to tackle this issue is implementing our training in virology, understanding how diseases incubate before one exhibits symptoms, modalities of how infections spread, & infection control.
I think everyone has an opinion about everything on social media these days, and people really need to only listen to statements from the CDC, or other health agencies versed in this matter. And everyone these days tend to live in extremes. It’s ok to live somewhere in the middle. We DO need to listen carefully to recommendations and be smart, but we don’t have to go in a complete panic, hoard toilet paper, fight people in supermarkets over a carton of milk, & think that this illness will wipe out life on this planet as we know it.
You’re from NY, what’s the general feeling like out there?
It’s like a ghost town here. Everything is basically shut down. With the exceptions of supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, transportation outlets although they’re barely used, restaurants that are just basically open for deliveries or pick up, and of course, medical facilities. Driving around the streets of Manhattan are eerily quiet, not far from the movie, “I am Legend”.
But whether you live in NY, with more cases than just about every country in the world, or you live in areas not hit nearly as much, we’re all vulnerable, and it can hit any one of us. Besides, you can’t look at numbers by themselves. It’s all relative to population density. The good people of where you live shouldn’t contrast their numbers to NY, & then not head the warnings issued by health agencies advising on this. We all have to do our part of containment.
So how are you seeing this the COVID-19 crisis impacting the world of medical marijuana?
It’s having a profound impact on this market, much like it is for the rest of the world. Mind you, when you look at the patients who qualify to be certified for medical marijuana use, many of them have conditions that make them either immunocompromised or at least a little more vulnerable, to contracting ANY infection.
COVID-19, as we know, is certainly as virulent as just about most infections we’ve seen. So a patient on chemo or who’s HIV+, or even those patients who are dealing with profound stress in their lives living with chronic pain syndromes or suffering from PTSD, are even more at risk with this pandemic.
Now that goes beyond HAVING their underlying condition. It impacts them having to go & sit in a doctor’s waiting room when visiting the physician who’s certifying them. That can be quite risky right now. That doesn’t even take into account those that need to take public transportation to and from the doctor’s office, being around people who could transmit infection to them. And then what about taking that SAME public transportation to the dispensary to pick up their product? What about the fellow patrons shopping in the dispensary at the same time? What about the workers there? These are ALL real issues going on now.
What Can People Do that Are Currently in Need of Medical Marijuana but do not Want to Rick Leaving the House?
There’s a VERY viable option to them, & that’s through Telemedicine.
Telemedicine, for those of you who don’t know, is the exchange of medical information from one location to another using a form of electronic communication, for a provider to help a patient. This was an up and coming mechanism to use to interact with your physician BEFORE the Coronavirus outbreak. During THIS time, it could make a difference between being safe, or essentially, metaphorically speaking, driving head on into oncoming traffic (because that’s the chance you take now when going out and subjecting yourself to others, when you’re higher risk). As long as you meet your particular state’s qualifying criteria for being cleared, you can be certified in no time.
What’s the process look like? How fast does this go?
If you do it with a company as I work for – a company called a LeafWell – and you meet your state’s criteria, we can clear you in under 15 minutes. I kid you not. No other company’s doing that.
I know for a fact where the quickest company around, and many of these patients have been going to doctors up the wazoo for years. They’re doctored out, and they don’t want to physically visit yet another doctor, much less a waiting room for an hour or more.
Other people just have crazy busy work schedules after a long day, who wants to get in the car or hop on a train and go sit in a doctor’s office and then travel to a dispensary? There aren’t enough hours in the day for many of us.
You mentioned eligibility in certain States. Obviously you have to have a medical marijuana program in your state, right? Are you allowed to do telemedicine prescriptions in any state that has a medical program? Are there only specific States that let you do this?
There are certain States that require what we call a wet-signature – where you have to see them in person. Right now we are active in these states:
- Florida (for renewals)
- New York
- Virginia & New Jersey, Missouri, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota (end of the month – April 2020)
- Arizona & Utah (Pending Telemedicine)
Within a few months, we’re gonna be helping out just about the entire country.
This is so convenient. I’m sure that comes with some kind of cost or some kind of catch. Are you guys more expensive?
No. We’re not. Actually we’re THE cheapest on the market that I know of today. There are doctors taking advantage of their patients, & gouging then, bringing them back every 3 months, charging them $250-$300 & even higher a visit, to recertify them. It can cost patients over a $1000 a year JUST to be recertified!
Our certification is good for a year unless your state has other limits. Like Florida, the longest you can go is 210 days. And hey, if you need follow-ups sooner with your doctor for whatever reason, I get that. But we’re not bringing patients back just to make extra money on them, unnecessarily.
Shifting gears a little bit – another thing that I noticed you guys are doing that I think is really unique is your way of testing patients to determine how their body can handle cannabis or CBD. If a patient is taking meds at the same time it can tell them if cannabis will interfere?
Yeah. This is really really interesting actually. I’ve been doing this for about 4-5 years or so now.
- For those who are concerned about the potential side effects of being on a particular medicine that their provider is ready to start, this test is for you.
- For those who are on a list of medications & trying to manage safety expectations of each being used together, this test is for you.
- For those who have experienced side effects before, being on multiple medications, trying to figure out which medicine caused their previous side effects, this test is for you.
- For those who are contemplating initiating medical marijuana therapy and wondering about its safety for THEM, this test is for you.
- And, for those who are already on multiple meds, & concerned about how medical marijuana’s presence in their daily medication regimen may either impact any of those meds or how any of those meds may impact how your body might metabolize medical marijuana, this test is for you as well.
You swabs inside of each cheek. 20 seconds per cheek. It’s with a cotton swab, like a Q Tip. So it doesn’t hurt AT ALL.
It’s sent off to the lab for testing.
I personally prefer GeneTrait in Columbia, MO, a former forensic lab that initially was solving crime mysteries. I feel no one handles DNA better than them.
And the head of their laboratory, Shelly Beckwith, answers the most challenging questions if providers need the support.
Results typically come back within the week.
And then, your provider can interpret what YOUR specific findings mean.
Essentially, what’s looked at, are the enzymes that are in the CYP450 system of the liver. This is a major network within the liver that contains different enzymes, which are utilized to metabolize many different medications.
So whether it’s:
- SSRI anti depressants
- Anti anxiolytics
- ADD stimulants & non stimulants
- Reflux meds
- Non-Steroidal & steroidal anti inflammatories
- Cholesterol lowering drugs
- allergy medications
- Or whether you are taking medicinal marijuana or even CBD, the information you can find out is invaluable to you.
I’ve ran a practice of over 15,000 patients, & I can’t even begin to express to you all how much my patients and their families appreciated having this information at their fingertips.
It’s a NO BRAINER
You’re a pediatrician, what your thoughts are on Children and Cannabis, & where you think the future is with the pediatric community?
That’s a topic real dear to me, because after all, I’m a pediatrician. So let’s compartmentalize this into what is currently mainstream acceptable practice. And then, what has anecdotal evidence & what I’ve seen myself, that’s not mainstream just yet.
Just about every state’s guidelines, patients, including pediatric ones, can be cleared for medical marijuana use, if they suffer from conditions such as:
- HIV or AIDS
- Chron’s Disease
- Chronic pain
- Severe Nausea
- Terminal illnesses
- And autism-in Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, & Puerto Rico
And states that allow medical cannabis for debilitating conditions at the doctor’s discretion include: California, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, DC. So let’s throw them into the mix too.
I don’t have to convince your audience how helpful medicinal marijuana can be for patients who suffer from conditions that they can find benefit from it. So there is a lot of help for children as well. Which is great. Approved on a state level. No issues.
I remember back in my pediatric residency, years ago, like almost 30 years ago, I had a patient VERY VERY dear to me, Frankie. 13 yr old boy with a perineuroctodermal tumor. Started in his lungs, spread to his bones. He was in a lot of pain. What it took to get the ethics committee of the hospital to clear him for Marinol, which is a form of medical marijuana in a pill, to take away his pain-it was like moving mountains. Frankie wouldn’t have had to suffer nearly as long, today.
bless his soul.
So we’ve come a real long way.
Now let’s look at this a little further.
I’ve had pediatric patients who failed on multiple different meds, go on CBD therapy alone, or CBD with low dose THC therapy, & it significantly diminished their anxiety, depression, & OCD. And the same has held true for patients previously failing on multiple meds who were autistic patients & selective mutism patients who weren’t talking, & all of a sudden, started talking, or began talking significantly more.
This was without extra therapies or changing their present modalities up at all. I’ve had children declassified for being on the spectrum. I kid you not. Imagine what happens when we get this word out, & even more parents get their children on this kind of therapy. Maybe get some further studies out. You might not only help your own child, you might help to shape the landscape in treatment of these conditions in the 21st century! So reach out. Let’s do this!
Speaking of sharing, do you have any good stories you can share where you’ve seen traditional western medicine Fail and cannabis Succeed?
A few years ago, I had this family I’m really close with, have an 18 mo old with a rare tumor behind the eye, growing into his brain. As you can imagine, they were scared for his life, literally. They went to the best pediatric oncologists in Manhattan, NY, settled on a world famous institution, & they started him on chemotherapy. The tumor was tracked, & as per serial MRIs, & it wasn’t shrinking.
It got bigger.
Before it became part of NY state’s legal criteria, the parents on their own, reached out to doctors in California. They researched it extensively, & got their son on cannabis. They didn’t tell the oncologists, because at the time, they were afraid that they might disqualify him from any treatments on their son’s behalf, & that they might even call CPS on them. But we’re tight, so they confided in me.
He went for his next MRI 3 months later. And guess what. THE TUMOR SHRUNK! It did. And the doctors were just utterly mystified, & their only explanation, was, it was “a miracle”. They had no other explanation. And the tumor never grew bigger again. PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT A MIRACLE. IT’S CANNABIS. Maybe I should rephrase that.
You don’t need to stand before a man parting a sea with a rod as the only way of witnessing a miracle. Medicinal cannabis IS a miracle!
Curious about getting your Med Card? Feel Free to ask us anyhting at email@example.com and if you are ready to get started use code MJE10 here to get $10 off your consultation!
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