CHA News Article

Guidelines Available for Recommending Cannabis for Medical Purposes

The Medical Board of California has released guidelines for providers recommending cannabis for medical purposes. The guidelines emphasize the importance of collaboration between physicians and their patients, noting that — prior to authorizing or recommending cannabis — physicians should document an established physician-patient relationship with mutual understanding of shared responsibility for the patient’s care. The board also recommends that physicians document a medical examination of the patient, including the patient’s history of present illness, social history, past medical and surgical history, alcohol and substance use history, and diagnosis requiring the cannabis recommendation.

Importantly, the guidance notes that Business & Professions Code Section 2525.3 states that recommending cannabis to a patient without appropriate examination and medical indication constitutes misconduct. The guidance goes on to detail treatment agreements, outlines qualifying conditions, and provides information on monitoring and adapting the treatment plan. The board’s guidance is not intended to mandate the standard of care.