The Medical Board of California voted to adopt the Guidelines for the Recommendation of Cannabis for Medical Purposes yesterday. Drafted by a set task force of two, the new guidelines contain serious provisions regarding how doctors of the state are to recommend and prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.
The two-man task force obtained insight from the Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) of UC San Diego to draft the provisions.
Attached to the MBC guidelines is the action flow of what decisions are to be made in each step of the prescription and recommendation process.
After seeing what he calls the “Decision Tree,” Steve Robinson, MD became worried that the guidelines would make cannabis treatment a last resort for patients who need them. See figure below.
Robinson postulated that the lack of sufficient knowledge among doctors about the drug, coupled with CMCR’s reputation and the medical board’s power, the Decision Tree has a very good chance at being widely used, to the disadvantage of patients who actively seek them.
“The Decision Tree needs to reflect this policy, which could be done by moving the choice point of ‘willing to consider cannabis’ up from the fifth-tier decision level to the third-tier decision level, on par with ‘Standard RX’,”Robinson says.
The guidelines also contained a sample “Agreement” that patients have to sign upon approval of cannabis treatment. This was criticized by Dale Gieringer of California NORML and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. Revisions were then made to the Agreement.
Once agreed upon, the guidelines will be set into motion and followed by the state doctors as the model for making decisions regarding the issuance of medical marijuana recommendations.