Telehealth has allowed Ohio patients with debilitating medical conditions to get their medical marijuana card from home. This offers many benefits, from affordability and convenience to health and safety. Learn what telehealth is and how it keeps improving to benefit medical marijuana patients.
The Impact of COVID on Medical Marijuana
The COVID pandemic hampered many aspects of everyday life, not the least being obtaining health care. For many people, it became increasingly hard to see a doctor for anything except essential or emergency care–and even then, it was still a struggle; other people refused to risk leaving their homes to sit in a waiting room filled with people with unknown health conditions.
In terms of medical marijuana, many patients with debilitating conditions could not access the medicine they needed or the doctor’s authorization to do so. And because of that, their health conditions worsened in many cases.
Telehealth helped to solve that problem.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth is using technology to conduct secure, real-time medical interactions remotely. In other words, like a more-secure FaceTime or Zoom call, it allows a patient and healthcare provider to communicate face-to-face, in real-time, over the internet.
All it takes for a person to use telehealth to meet with a doctor are an internet-capable device such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, an email address or phone number, and a secure internet connection. (Note that a public Wi-Fi internet connection is not considered secure enough for telehealth.)
Improvements in Telehealth Technologies: Digitization
As telehealth technologies improved, they began incorporating digitization tools to allow for the secure exchange of documents and records. Now, patients could upload and send to the doctor, for instance, identification and medical records from previous doctors. In contrast, doctors could upload and send confidential and important documents such as test results and prescriptions. Digitization also allows for the instant signing of important medical documents.
One clear benefit of all this is that digitization, combined with telehealth doctor’s visits, allows patients to receive treatment faster and without any unnecessary hindrances. Maintaining digital records and providing digital prescriptions also avoid the hassle of trying to keep track of important medical paperwork and prevents the possibility of losing any of it.
Digitization of dispensary sales and purchases can help medical marijuana providers in various locations predict demand. This allows them to ensure they have enough of the particular products their customers want to meet that need.
In addition, by keeping track of what strains, forms, and brands of medical marijuana products you prefer, dispensaries can better recommend medical marijuana products you might want to try when the ones you use are out of stock or exciting new products that might be of interest to you come in.
They are integrating blockchain technologies – the same technologies on which cryptocurrencies are based – to increase the security of telehealth communications, transactions, record-keeping, and health tracking.
Digitization has also made it easier for dispensary agents to be more extensively trained in medical marijuana laws and usage to serve their customers better. Many states even require newly hired dispensary agents or doctors applying for Certified-to-Recommend status to complete certain digital training before they start work.
For example, Ohio requires all dispensary agents to complete a Foundational Training program comprised of multiple online courses in Administration, Patient Care, and Compliance.
Meanwhile, Ohio physicians applying for Certified-to-Recommend status must complete two hours of approved Ohio CTR provider training per year.
Digital Medical Marijuana Cards
Many states use digitization to issue their state medical marijuana cards digitally. This allows patients to start purchasing medical marijuana immediately upon approval of their application rather than waiting for a physical card to arrive in the mail. It also allows patients to produce their medical marijuana card at a dispensary or for a law enforcement agent straight from their phone.
This further increases the security of medical marijuana cards by preventing the possibility of a medical marijuana authorization from being lost, stolen, destroyed, or misused, which can happen more easily with a physical card.
States Pass Telehealth Legislation
In response to this secondary health care crisis COVID perpetrated, many states began to enact temporary suspensions or waivers of laws prohibiting the use of telehealth for doctor’s appointments, including medical marijuana consultations. However, as the COVID crisis wore on, many of these states made those suspensions permanent.
Fourteen states and four U.S. territories have instituted long-term waivers or passed legislation allowing for greater telehealth access, including, in many cases, medical marijuana.
Some states allow telehealth for all visits, including for medical cannabis. In contrast, others allow telehealth for follow-up visits or medical marijuana recommendation renewal appointments but still require an initial visit with a provider to be conducted in person.
Telehealth Acceptance and Usage
The constant improvements in security and usability of telehealth technologies and increasing access to those services have produced an increasingly widespread acceptance and usage of telehealth technologies among government and civilian populations.
In other words, it’s easier to use telehealth to get or renew a medical marijuana card.
How to Use Telehealth to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio
To get your Ohio medical marijuana card from the safety and comfort of your home using telehealth, you must visit mmjcard4less.com. Sign up for free and provide basic information about yourself and your qualifying medical condition. This will include uploading a photo of your valid government-issued photo ID verifying your age and residency. It would help if you lived in Ohio to qualify for an Ohio medical cannabis card. In addition, if you are under 18, you must have a parent or guardian register as your caregiver. You, then, pay the low $99 fee for the service. (And, if, for any reason, the doctor decides you don’t qualify for medical marijuana, this fee will be refunded.)
Once you complete this step, you’ll enter a virtual waiting room while MMJCard4Less connects you with a doctor certified to recommend medical marijuana in Ohio. You’ll meet with this doctor over a secure video call, during which the doctor will verify your qualifying medical condition.
Assuming the doctor approves you for medical marijuana, they will submit their recommendation on your behalf by entering you into the Ohio Medical Cannabis Patient Registry. You will then receive an email instructing you to log in to the Registry to complete your application and pay the $50 state fee ($25 for caregivers;). You may be eligible for a reduced fee if you qualify as a veteran, disadvantaged, or senior.
At this point, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will review your application. Assuming your application is approved, you will receive instructions for accessing your digital Ohio medical cannabis card. You can print out the card to carry in your wallet or purse or show the digital card on your smartphone or tablet when visiting a dispensary or being questioned by law enforcement.
Every year, you’ll need to renew your medical cannabis card in Ohio, which you can conveniently do from home using MMJCard4Less.com’s telehealth services.