osteopathic physician finds niche as "weed doctor"

patel2

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JaggerPlate

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These type of docs are so huge in Los Angeles. One in particular honestly has billboards all over LA and without a doubt makes millions. Nothing in life is free ... if you want to make easy money writing prescriptions for weed, make sure you understand the consequences that are associated with how the big money is made in this field (i.e. writing a prescription for every person that walks through that door and taking cold cash for doing it). Personally, I'd never risk it:

http://www.doc420.com/
 
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Hypothetically speaking, Im not sure I would be comfortable prescribing marijuana except to the patients with the most dire circumstances. As far as I know, the evidence supporting the use of pot is entirely anecdotal, and there is very little data supporting it's effective use.

I wouldn't advise any patient to inhale the products of combustion without specific circumstances.

Not to mention the legality is still quite debatable.
 

Hernandez

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These type of docs are so huge in Los Angeles. One in particular honestly has billboards all over LA and without a doubt makes millions. Nothing in life is free ... if you want to make easy money writing prescriptions for weed, make sure you understand the consequences that are associated with how the big money is made in this field (i.e. writing a prescription for every person that walks through that door and taking cold cash for doing it). Personally, I'd never risk it:

http://www.doc420.com/
how does weed treat asthma?
 
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patel2

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To each, his own...anyways Dr. Patel is a fox. I would venture to guess 80% of her cliental are men.
yeah she is. I'm sure all these weed docs are incredibly meticulous when it comes to patient documentation and records. They have to be running under the assumption that in some point in their careers, they will be investigated and/or audited b/c of the nature of their practice. Sounds like she is making 1,000,000+ per year, as a family physician...Good for her. :thumbup:
 
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JaggerPlate

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how does weed treat asthma?
You'll have to ask 'doc 420'

yeah she is. I'm sure all these weed docs are incredibly meticulous when it comes to patient documentation and records. They have to be running under the assumption that in some point in their careers, they will be investigated and/or audited b/c of the nature of their practice. Sounds like she is making 1,000,000+ per year, as a family physician...Good for her. :thumbup:
I think I initially heard of her because of an undercover news story that didn't paint the situation in a very positive light.
 
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patel2

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Notes for this thread

Q#1: Is this ethical?
Q#2: Would, as a future physician, prescribe marijuana
I'd be reluctant, just because federal law trumps any state law, and you could technically speaking get in trouble via the DEA for prescribing it. Much as I wouldn't want to create a practice of solely prescribing weed to people (since I'd want to utilize all aspects of my specialty), I do believe marijuana can have some beneficial effects to certain types of patients.

Dr. 420 quotes this passage on her website

According to Lester Grinspoon, MD, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “While few such studies have so far been completed, all have lent weight to what medicine already knew but had largely forgotten or ignored: Marijuana is effective at relieving nausea and vomiting, spasticity, appetite loss, certain types of pain, and other debilitating symptoms. And it is extraordinarily safe -- safer than most medicines prescribed every day. If marijuana were a new discovery rather than a well-known substance carrying cultural and political baggage, it would be hailed as a wonder drug."
 

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This may be slightly off-topic but in response to anyone who thinks that cannabis does not have its medicinal value, I must say that I have seen how it can help. I watched my best friend suffer through mesothelioma. He had a lung removed. He battled through rounds of chemo. And he was often written scripts for meds for the pain and nausea, most of which would knock him out and leave him in a daze. These meds did not allow him to LIVE during the time he had left. And by LIVE, I do not mean being alive and purely surviving.

So, he approached his doc and told him that he could cook with cannabis and would much prefer if he could just eat the cannabis (he made a butter of some sorts) instead of taking the medication. The doctor (in a state that has not legalized use medicinally) told him to go ahead and do what works best for him.

Suddenly, my friend was allowed to live again. He was able to leave the couch, and his house... walk his dogs, visit and spend quality time with friends and family. He was able to hold a conservation as opposed to being in some sedated state of the heavy pharms they were throwing his way. Because of cannabis he was able to live the last two years of his life. He LIVED. He was up, out, and about, whereas beforehand he was a melting mush on the couch.

Did the cannabis cure him? Of course not but it was never intended to. However, it did allow him a quality of life. Sometimes medicine is not about curing or "fixing" people.

Also, please do NOT start talking about marinol as I know certain people tend to do when this topic arises. This was also administered to him at some point, and he said it was completely over the top, i.e. way too powerful and quite psychedelic. (This makes sense being that Marinol is just synthetic THC. THC is but one of many active constituents, most of which have either not been discovered or are not thoroughly understood just yet. I also find it interesting how man thinks he can consistently outdo nature. That's another topic for another day).

As for these docs who are running cash businesses dealing cannabis, well I believe they are crossing some ethical lines. For starters, I doubt that most of their patients are in such dire straits, such as my old friend. I heard stories about people simply going to the doc and saying "oh, my back hurts" and without any proper diagnostic tests, they leave the office with script in hand (and with whatever they need to apply for a card). I'm sure there will some sort of crack down on this in the near future.

Regardless of which, in certain cases, albeit mostly extreme cases, there is a use for this plant. And there is still much to learn regarding how we can utilize it in the best manner as well as the possibly thousands of active constituents and their effects and possible use. It is just a shame that cannabis is highly abused and because of this there is such a strong stigma attached to it, that often evokes negative responses from those who are uninformed on the topic. (No offense, but some of you are included in this group). Simply, put there is still much to be learned and it has helped people in ways that current pharmaceuticals are not capable of.

I just know I was able to see my buddy smile a few more times and he was able to walk around the block with me, and go on some easy going hikes with his dogs because of it. Without it, those last two years of his life would have been spent wasting away on that couch.
 
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JaggerPlate

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This may be slightly off-topic but in response to anyone who thinks that cannabis does not have its medicinal value, I must say that I have seen how it can help. I watched my best friend suffer through mesothelioma. He had a lung removed. He battled through rounds of chemo. And he was often written scripts for meds for the pain and nausea, most of which would knock him out and leave him in a daze. These meds did not allow him to LIVE during the time he had left. And by LIVE, I do not mean being alive and purely surviving.

So, he approached his doc and told him that he could cook with cannabis and would much prefer if he could just eat the cannabis (he made a butter of some sorts) instead of taking the medication. The doctor (in a state that has not legalized use medicinally) told him to go ahead and do what works best for him.

Suddenly, my friend was allowed to live again. He was able to leave the couch, and his house... walk his dogs, visit and spend quality time with friends and family. He was able to hold a conservation as opposed to being in some sedated state of the heavy pharms they were throwing his way. Because of cannabis he was able to live the last two years of his life. He LIVED. He was up, out, and about, whereas beforehand he was a melting mush on the couch.

Did the cannabis cure him? Of course not but it was never intended to. However, it did allow him a quality of life. Sometimes medicine is not about curing or "fixing" people.

Also, please do NOT start talking about marinol as I know certain people tend to do when this topic arises. This was also administered to him at some point, and he said it was completely over the top, i.e. way too powerful and quite psychedelic. (This makes sense being that Marinol is just synthetic THC. THC is but one of many active constituents, most of which have either not been discovered or are not thoroughly understood just yet. I also find it interesting how man thinks he can consistently outdo nature. That's another topic for another day).

As for these docs who are running cash businesses dealing cannabis, well I believe they are crossing some ethical lines. For starters, I doubt that most of their patients are in such dire straits, such as my old friend. I heard stories about people simply going to the doc and saying "oh, my back hurts" and without any proper diagnostic tests, they leave the office with script in hand (and with whatever they need to apply for a card). I'm sure there will some sort of crack down on this in the near future.

Regardless of which, in certain cases, albeit mostly extreme cases, there is a use for this plant. And there is still much to learn regarding how we can utilize it in the best manner as well as the possibly thousands of active constituents and their effects and possible use. It is just a shame that cannabis is highly abused and because of this there is such a strong stigma attached to it, that often evokes negative responses from those who are uninformed on the topic. (No offense, but some of you are included in this group). Simply, put there is still much to be learned and it has helped people in ways that current pharmaceuticals are not capable of.

I just know I was able to see my buddy smile a few more times and he was able to walk around the block with me, and go on some easy going hikes with his dogs because of it. Without it, those last two years of his life would have been spent wasting away on that couch.
Nicely said ... I really don't think anyone here has a problem with researching it and prescribing it to patients when they need it. However, like you said, it's the docs that literally set up a website with a. the types of ailments which qualify you for a weed card, b. how to make an appointment, c. the amount of money it will cost you (up front for this appointment), d. that you'll be in and out in 15 minutes, and e. their clinic's address ... that are pushing the limits and really aren't catering to the cancer patients. This is the type of BS I wouldn't risk my license for. I'd rather pump botox at X amount of $ for Y number of appointments per day.
 

TeamZissou

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Lol I don't understand why this is getting such a reaction out of people. Frankly, when you look at marijuana from a medical perspective if you have the option to write a Rx for that vs a Narcotic which would you feel more comfortable as a future physician? From a legal and medical point of view, if the marijuana takes care of the patient's pain then why wouldn't you use that. It's physically safer and much less addictive than the narcotic.

Seems to me this guy is just ahead of the curve and made a few bucks off it. Financially he doesn't have much to lose since he isn't actually writing scripts for it so he can't be held liable for malpractice. All he is doing is saying the patient "MAY" benefit from the drug.

Soooooo he is risking what? His reputation? Well I for one am not judging him because guess what my tuition was this year? Oh and guess how many people have heard his name now? and what where his patient base numbers at again? Uh huh...... Medicine is a business folks.
 
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This reminds me a little about problems occurring here in Florida, but not with marijuana prescriptions. For some reason in my home state it is very easy to write prescriptions for painkillers (actually any drug from Xanax to Methadone). It is an epidemic. Broward county (Fort Lauderdale) and Pinellas county (St. Petersburg) have even more liberal laws than the rest of the state. We have people driving from Ohio/Wisconsin/Kentucky to visit these "pain clinics" where they write you off for 400 Xanax and 300 Oxycotin pills for just showing up. These pain clinics have their own pharmacy filling scripts right in the office! Some of these pill pushers even have chains of 10+ pain clinics around the state. No doubt to avoid detection. The boards of health have finally started to nail these monsters and take away license and throw people in jail. Not saying this is the same situation as in California, nor am I trying to put marijuana in the same category as these powerful narcotics. Just saying there is a difference in treating sickness and fulfilling the medicine-pharmacy-industrial complex. From what I have been told this culture of pushig prescriptions arised from the compassionate but misplaced notion of "people should live a life without pain". I despise these doctors, and people doing the same thing with marijuana should equally be shunned by the profession. I don't understand California, the social engineering going on in Cali.........you guys are making sugar/trans fats illegal while the same time pushing for weed for everyone.
 

JaggerPlate

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Lol I don't understand why this is getting such a reaction out of people. Frankly, when you look at marijuana from a medical perspective if you have the option to write a Rx for that vs a Narcotic which would you feel more comfortable as a future physician? From a legal and medical point of view, if the marijuana takes care of the patient's pain then why wouldn't you use that. It's physically safer and much less addictive than the narcotic.

Seems to me this guy is just ahead of the curve and made a few bucks off it. Financially he doesn't have much to lose since he isn't actually writing scripts for it so he can't be held liable for malpractice. All he is doing is saying the patient "MAY" benefit from the drug.

Soooooo he is risking what? His reputation? Well I for one am not judging him because guess what my tuition was this year? Oh and guess how many people have heard his name now? and what where his patient base numbers at again? Uh huh...... Medicine is a business folks.
Honestly, I 100000% agree with you that medicine is a business and I'm ALWAYS the first guy to tip my hat to the docs who are savvy/realistic enough to drop the stuffy attitude associated with medicine and do well for themselves, but this one is just a bit too far in my book.

I live(d) in a state where medical MJ is legal, and, I won't lie, MANY of my friends, who are not suffering from any medical condition, proudly got their MJ license the first chance they got. This is how the process went down (keep in mind they went to different docs at different points in time):

1. Googled and found a doc in the area
2. Went to his/her website, looked up the FAQ on what medical MJ is used for and picked an easy symptom (one buddy used anxiety, another said he had trouble sleeping, one said back pain, etc)
3. Went to the clinic (each one said the clinic was packed)
4. Waited for a few minutes, called in, sat down with the doc in his/her office in some cases, an exam room in a few others
5. Doc asked what it was needed for
6. No physical exam, history, review of previous medical records, etc, etc, was performed
7. Doc gave them an approval letter (which may not be the same thing as an RX, but you can't get the license without it, and you can't get the letter without going to a doc ... so it's medical documentation aka a prescription)
8. Paid $100 - 200 bucks in cash on their way out
9. Went to a dispensary, got their stuff, and went along their merry way

Now ... I honestly have a hard time believing that there are no risk/ethical issues here. Granted, they aren't handing out letters for black tar heroin, but honestly if you went to a doc, said you had back pain, and the guy threw a bag of vicodin at you without even cracking a chart or having a nurse take your BP, and told you to pay on the way out ... would you not think something was up?

Again, I honestly have no misconceptions about MJ. I don't think it's some scary gateway drug, I don't think it's 'ruining our youth,' etc, etc, but let's work a few things out here:

If you want to be a weed doc ... be a man about it, and don't play games. Don't tell me you're in it to help cancer patients. If you were in it to help dying patients with their quality of life ... you'd prescribe weed from your oncology practice ... you wouldn't hand out discount flyers on a website or call yourself 'doc 420.' Let's just call a spade a spade here and realize that these people were ballsey enough to see a way to make a buck in the current for something that will very likely be completely legal at some point in the future and are capitalizing on it.

That's fine and great for them, but I'm positive there are going to be crack downs on it in the future (like I said, I first heard of that one 420 doc because a news station sent someone in there undercover as a patient and they basically saw everything I described and obviously made an interesting story about it), and if you're going to sell out ... do it Dr. Rey style and stuff boobs and lipo fat housewives all day ... don't potentially risk your license doing stuff that is borderline shady (we wouldn't even be having this discussion if it wasn't).
 

JaggerPlate

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This reminds me a little about problems occurring here in Florida, but not with marijuana prescriptions. For some reason in my home state it is very easy to write prescriptions for painkillers (actually any drug from Xanax to Methadone). It is an epidemic. Broward county (Fort Lauderdale) and Pinellas county (St. Petersburg) have even more liberal laws than the rest of the state. We have people driving from Ohio/Wisconsin/Kentucky to visit these "pain clinics" where they write you off for 400 Xanax and 300 Oxycotin pills for just showing up. These pain clinics have their own pharmacy filling scripts right in the office! Some of these pill pushers even have chains of 10+ pain clinics around the state. No doubt to avoid detection. The boards of health have finally started to nail these monsters and take away license and throw people in jail. Not saying this is the same situation as in California, nor am I trying to put marijuana in the same category as these powerful narcotics. Just saying there is a difference in treating sickness and fulfilling the medicine-pharmacy-industrial complex. From what I have been told this culture of pushig prescriptions arised from the compassionate but misplaced notion of "people should live a life without pain". I despise these doctors, and people doing the same thing with marijuana should equally be shunned by the profession. I don't understand California, the social engineering going on in Cali.........you guys are making sugar/trans fats illegal while the same time pushing for weed for everyone.
I was actually going to bring up the crazy pain clinic scandals in FL as an example of pushing boundaries, but didn't want to deal with them not equating, etc.
 

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I'm not sure how this doctor runs his practice, but the medical marijuana industry in California is despicable. I am 100% for full legalization, but it's absolutely insane and so 'dirty' how it works down here. For example, I was at Venice Beach yesterday and you get mobbed by these people advertising for places like 'Dr. Kush'. Once inside, you are given a form to fill out and the employees tell you HOW to fill it out so you qualify for whatever recommendation the doc gives. In essence, it's idiot proof and any joe or jane on the street can get a rec for under $100.

If this was any other drug, and a clinic's employees were telling you how to describe your symptoms so you can qualify for a specific drug, that clinic would be shut down ASAP. But since marijuana doesn't require a script and simply needs a recommendation, I guess whatever regulation applies to the prescribed drug doesn't for weed. But I really feel the industry casts a black shadow on the medical profession, as currently run.
 
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patel2

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Lol I don't understand why this is getting such a reaction out of people. Frankly, when you look at marijuana from a medical perspective if you have the option to write a Rx for that vs a Narcotic which would you feel more comfortable as a future physician? From a legal and medical point of view, if the marijuana takes care of the patient's pain then why wouldn't you use that. It's physically safer and much less addictive than the narcotic.

Seems to me this guy is just ahead of the curve and made a few bucks off it. Financially he doesn't have much to lose since he isn't actually writing scripts for it so he can't be held liable for malpractice. All he is doing is saying the patient "MAY" benefit from the drug.

Soooooo he is risking what? His reputation? Well I for one am not judging him because guess what my tuition was this year? Oh and guess how many people have heard his name now? and what where his patient base numbers at again? Uh huh...... Medicine is a business folks.
:thumbup: I generally think it's a good thing to see physicians being entrepreneurial. He's taking advantage, really, out of the fact that marijuana is illegal in our country, while legal for medicinal uses in many states. The narcotics example is irrelevant since that is 100000x more harmful and dangerous.

At worst, one of his patients smokes too much weed, and passes out on his couch with a bowl of twinkies, while watching Jersey Shore. At best, their life is drastically improved in one way or another with reduced pain/nausea/migraines etc. Narcotics on the other hand can lead to all kinds of intense addictions and physical withdrawal symptoms that will ruin a person's life.

The problem isn't with these individual physicians prescribing marijuana as a means to make a lot of money. The problem is bad policy by the US federal government of making marijuana illegal in the first place. The physicians are just taking advantage (legally), of a flawed system.
 

JaggerPlate

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I'm not sure how this doctor runs his practice, but the medical marijuana industry in California is despicable. I am 100% for full legalization, but it's absolutely insane and so 'dirty' how it works down here. For example, I was at Venice Beach yesterday and you get mobbed by these people advertising for places like 'Dr. Kush'. Once inside, you are given a form to fill out and the employees tell you HOW to fill it out so you qualify for whatever recommendation the doc gives. In essence, it's idiot proof and any joe or jane on the street can get a rec for under $100.

If this was any other drug, and a clinic's employees were telling you how to describe your symptoms so you can qualify for a specific drug, that clinic would be shut down ASAP. But since marijuana doesn't require a script and simply needs a recommendation, I guess whatever regulation applies to the prescribed drug doesn't for weed. But I really feel the industry casts a black shadow on the medical profession, as currently run.
I think this is why I have a problem with it too ... I lived in So Cal, and you're dead on about the description. It's funny too because I have absolutely no problem with it, and since it's completely decriminalized in CA anyway, it's whatever, but the way the practices are marketed, run, etc, is just gross.

:thumbup: I generally think it's a good thing to see physicians being entrepreneurial. He's taking advantage, really, out of the fact that marijuana is illegal in our country, while legal for medicinal uses in many states. The narcotics example is irrelevant since that is 100000x more harmful and dangerous.

At worst, one of his patients smokes too much weed, and passes out on his couch with a bowl of twinkies, while watching Jersey Shore. At best, their life is drastically improved in one way or another with reduced pain/nausea/migraines etc. Narcotics on the other hand can lead to all kinds of intense addictions and physical withdrawal symptoms that will ruin a person's life.

The problem isn't with these individual physicians prescribing marijuana as a means to make a lot of money. The problem is bad policy by the US federal government of making marijuana illegal in the first place. The physicians are just taking advantage (legally), of a flawed system.
We get it dude ... you heart weed. Everybody has a friend who loves weed and never shuts the hell up about weed and reads random, asinine internet banter written by some jackass in Humbolt about how no one has every OD'ed on weed, and how alcohol is so much worse than weed, etc, etc, etc.
 
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patel2

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Honestly, I 100000% agree with you that medicine is a business and I'm ALWAYS the first guy to tip my hat to the docs who are savvy/realistic enough to drop the stuffy attitude associated with medicine and do well for themselves, but this one is just a bit too far in my book.

I live(d) in a state where medical MJ is legal, and, I won't lie, MANY of my friends, who are not suffering from any medical condition, proudly got their MJ license the first chance they got. This is how the process went down (keep in mind they went to different docs at different points in time):

1. Googled and found a doc in the area
2. Went to his/her website, looked up the FAQ on what medical MJ is used for and picked an easy symptom (one buddy used anxiety, another said he had trouble sleeping, one said back pain, etc)
3. Went to the clinic (each one said the clinic was packed)
4. Waited for a few minutes, called in, sat down with the doc in his/her office in some cases, an exam room in a few others
5. Doc asked what it was needed for
6. No physical exam, history, review of previous medical records, etc, etc, was performed
7. Doc gave them an approval letter (which may not be the same thing as an RX, but you can't get the license without it, and you can't get the letter without going to a doc ... so it's medical documentation aka a prescription)
8. Paid $100 - 200 bucks in cash on their way out
9. Went to a dispensary, got their stuff, and went along their merry way

Now ... I honestly have a hard time believing that there are no risk/ethical issues here. Granted, they aren't handing out letters for black tar heroin, but honestly if you went to a doc, said you had back pain, and the guy threw a bag of vicodin at you without even cracking a chart or having a nurse take your BP, and told you to pay on the way out ... would you not think something was up?

Again, I honestly have no misconceptions about MJ. I don't think it's some scary gateway drug, I don't think it's 'ruining our youth,' etc, etc, but let's work a few things out here:

If you want to be a weed doc ... be a man about it, and don't play games. Don't tell me you're in it to help cancer patients. If you were in it to help dying patients with their quality of life ... you'd prescribe weed from your oncology practice ... you wouldn't hand out discount flyers on a website or call yourself 'doc 420.' Let's just call a spade a spade here and realize that these people were ballsey enough to see a way to make a buck in the current for something that will very likely be completely legal at some point in the future and are capitalizing on it.

That's fine and great for them, but I'm positive there are going to be crack downs on it in the future (like I said, I first heard of that one 420 doc because a news station sent someone in there undercover as a patient and they basically saw everything I described and obviously made an interesting story about it), and if you're going to sell out ... do it Dr. Rey style and stuff boobs and lipo fat housewives all day ... don't potentially risk your license doing stuff that is borderline shady (we wouldn't even be having this discussion if it wasn't).
I definitely agree with your sentiment. They very well know they aren't in it to help cancer patients and those who truly need marijuana, but instead to take advantage of a huge cash loophole related to dumb government policies that make weed illegal.

But...remember, these doctors are running a business and so looking "legit" is important for customers. Or at least, showing some semblance of professionalism is needed to keep the investigators at least somewhat at a distance. I don't know too much about the crackdowns, but you have to imagine that these docs have some very effective system in place, to cover their bases and document things if an investigator shows up. If they are smart enough to take advantage of this loophole, they are probably well versed on all the state rules/regulations regarding prescribing the drug.

edit: lol, and I don't "heart" weed. But it's undeniable that it has potential medical uses, and isn't as bad as other drugs. I don't advocate it, smoke it, or think that it is productive to an individual who doesn't need it, but just that it should be legal. In fact, I think all drugs should be legal, since drug use should be treated as a health, not a legal issue.
 
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JaggerPlate

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but you have to imagine that these docs have some very effective system in place, to cover their bases and document things if an investigator shows up. If they are smart enough to take advantage of this loophole, they are probably well versed on all the state rules/regulations regarding prescribing the drug.
I actually highly doubt it. They probably see maybe 40 patients or so a day, most likely never see them again (in CA I think the weed license is good for 2 years or something), so doing all that charting and taking the time to stay up on rules and regulations??? Doubt it. My guess is that weed docs are 3 fold:

1. The hippie doc who, if he wasn't prescribing weed, would be practicing cranial OMM in Seattle

2. The burn out who tried to do legit medicine for a long time, was sick of making 150k putting in an honest 70 hour week, and is willing to take the risk

3. The person like 420 doc who really thinks of themselves as some sort of balla' but just happens to fall into a generational gap where this sort of thing is acceptable.

Trust me, Warren Buffet isn't envious of any of these people, nor do they have some uber awesome trap door set up to strangle the legal system. Again, let's call a spade a spade.
 

JaggerPlate

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edit: lol, and I don't "heart" weed. But it's undeniable that it has potential medical uses, and isn't as bad as other drugs. I don't advocate it, smoke it, or think that it is productive to an individual who doesn't need it, but just that it should be legal. In fact, I think all drugs should be legal, since drug use should be treated as a health, not a legal issue.
Can you show me the undeniable evidence? All I ever hear is anecdotal stories and a quote from doc 420s site where a psychiatrist blatantly says the evidence is lacking ... but what we have is positive. This isn't science, and is far, far from undeniable.
 
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patel2

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Can you show me the undeniable evidence? All I ever hear is anecdotal stories and a quote from doc 420s site where a psychiatrist blatantly says the evidence is lacking ... but what we have is positive. This isn't science, and is far, far from undeniable.
From wiki, but with links to studies. They link to studies that suggest marijuana may prevent alzheimers, stop the spread of breast cancer, increase appetite (for HIV/AIDs patients), kill brain cancer cells (ironic, eh?), and reduce spasticity in multiple sclerosis. It's far from conclusive that it definitively does any one of these things, and I wasn't suggesting that.

Like I said, it's undeniable that marijuana has potential medicinal uses, and probably is more safe and has less side effects than narcotics. I just think this should be explored further, and receive more research funding than it currently does. Like that Harvard psychiatrist said, it's the political and cultural baggage that weed carries that has prevented more active, real research into what this drug can do.




http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2562334/?tool=pmcentrez

http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/6/11/2921.long

http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v34/n3/full/npp2008120a.html

Just check the wiki site for dozens of study links done about marijuana.
 
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Very similar to the pain clinics in Florida. People drive to them from all over the country and form lines every morning. [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L1kxT0DqrU[/YOUTUBE]
 

JaggerPlate

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From wiki, but with links to studies. They link to studies that suggest marijuana may prevent alzheimers, stop the spread of breast cancer, increase appetite (for HIV/AIDs patients), kill brain cancer cells (ironic, eh?), and reduce spasticity in multiple sclerosis. It's far from conclusive that it definitively does any one of these things, and I wasn't suggesting that.

Like I said, it's undeniable that marijuana has potential medicinal uses, and probably is more safe and has less side effects than narcotics. I just think this should be explored further, and receive more research funding than it currently does. Like that Harvard psychiatrist said, it's the political and cultural baggage that weed carries that has prevented more active, real research into what this drug can do.
The wiki-defense ... nice. I'm sure MJ has applications, like I said before, I have absolutely no problem with people who want to research it, figure out if it's good for their patients, and prescribe it as necessary. However, this has absolutely nothing to do with these people running weed clinics in states like CA. Additionally, people running these clinics are going to do NOTHING for the advancement of it as a medication ... all it does is associate it with a drug culture and make uptight old white men want to research it/legalize it even less.

I can't express enough how I don't have a problem with it as a whole, but I do have a problem with these weed clinics and people who want to paint these docs as something they are not. I'm sorry, but they aren't balla businessmen, they aren't furthering the advancement of a wonder drug, they aren't even really helping out a significant amount of the worthy population ... they are people who are making money writing weed LORs for kids who are sick of buying crappy weed from Mexico off the shady kid down the street who still lives with his parents and plays electric guitar shirtless with the garage door open all day.
 

JaggerPlate

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everybody has a friend who loves weed and never shuts the hell up about weed and reads random, asinine internet banter written by some jackass in humbolt about how no one has every od'ed on weed, and how alcohol is so much worse than weed, etc, etc, etc.
when have you heard of someone dying from smoking to much "pot". yes they could hop in a car and be blazed out of their mind and kill someone, but i do not think that is a legitimate argument because alcohol does the very same.
roflmaoooooooooooooooooo
 

TeamZissou

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This reminds me a little about problems occurring here in Florida, but not with marijuana prescriptions. For some reason in my home state it is very easy to write prescriptions for painkillers (actually any drug from Xanax to Methadone). It is an epidemic. Broward county (Fort Lauderdale) and Pinellas county (St. Petersburg) have even more liberal laws than the rest of the state. We have people driving from Ohio/Wisconsin/Kentucky to visit these "pain clinics" where they write you off for 400 Xanax and 300 Oxycotin pills for just showing up. These pain clinics have their own pharmacy filling scripts right in the office! Some of these pill pushers even have chains of 10+ pain clinics around the state. No doubt to avoid detection. The boards of health have finally started to nail these monsters and take away license and throw people in jail. Not saying this is the same situation as in California, nor am I trying to put marijuana in the same category as these powerful narcotics. Just saying there is a difference in treating sickness and fulfilling the medicine-pharmacy-industrial complex. From what I have been told this culture of pushig prescriptions arised from the compassionate but misplaced notion of "people should live a life without pain". I despise these doctors, and people doing the same thing with marijuana should equally be shunned by the profession. I don't understand California, the social engineering going on in Cali.........you guys are making sugar/trans fats illegal while the same time pushing for weed for everyone.
I loved reading your post and I agree with everything you said. Until you're last sentence. I don't understand why there is a disconnect in the logic of Californians though?
 

TeamZissou

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Honestly, I 100000% agree with you that medicine is a business and I'm ALWAYS the first guy to tip my hat to the docs who are savvy/realistic enough to drop the stuffy attitude associated with medicine and do well for themselves, but this one is just a bit too far in my book.

I live(d) in a state where medical MJ is legal, and, I won't lie, MANY of my friends, who are not suffering from any medical condition, proudly got their MJ license the first chance they got. This is how the process went down (keep in mind they went to different docs at different points in time):

1. Googled and found a doc in the area
2. Went to his/her website, looked up the FAQ on what medical MJ is used for and picked an easy symptom (one buddy used anxiety, another said he had trouble sleeping, one said back pain, etc)
3. Went to the clinic (each one said the clinic was packed)
4. Waited for a few minutes, called in, sat down with the doc in his/her office in some cases, an exam room in a few others
5. Doc asked what it was needed for
6. No physical exam, history, review of previous medical records, etc, etc, was performed
7. Doc gave them an approval letter (which may not be the same thing as an RX, but you can't get the license without it, and you can't get the letter without going to a doc ... so it's medical documentation aka a prescription)
8. Paid $100 - 200 bucks in cash on their way out
9. Went to a dispensary, got their stuff, and went along their merry way

Now ... I honestly have a hard time believing that there are no risk/ethical issues here. Granted, they aren't handing out letters for black tar heroin, but honestly if you went to a doc, said you had back pain, and the guy threw a bag of vicodin at you without even cracking a chart or having a nurse take your BP, and told you to pay on the way out ... would you not think something was up?

Again, I honestly have no misconceptions about MJ. I don't think it's some scary gateway drug, I don't think it's 'ruining our youth,' etc, etc, but let's work a few things out here:

If you want to be a weed doc ... be a man about it, and don't play games. Don't tell me you're in it to help cancer patients. If you were in it to help dying patients with their quality of life ... you'd prescribe weed from your oncology practice ... you wouldn't hand out discount flyers on a website or call yourself 'doc 420.' Let's just call a spade a spade here and realize that these people were ballsey enough to see a way to make a buck in the current for something that will very likely be completely legal at some point in the future and are capitalizing on it.

That's fine and great for them, but I'm positive there are going to be crack downs on it in the future (like I said, I first heard of that one 420 doc because a news station sent someone in there undercover as a patient and they basically saw everything I described and obviously made an interesting story about it), and if you're going to sell out ... do it Dr. Rey style and stuff boobs and lipo fat housewives all day ... don't potentially risk your license doing stuff that is borderline shady (we wouldn't even be having this discussion if it wasn't).
Fantastic post. I love how you actually look at it from a legal and medical perspective. As you well know with your MPH this is the line we as future physicians have to take.

Now to other readers:
Like it or not this is the current practice climate people. I don't care what people's personal bias is against marijurana the bottom line is if someone SAYS it takes care of their pain WHY not just write a letter saying they MAY benefit from it. There is little/no risk in this as a physician.

If you don't realize by now it is not YOUR responsibility as a physician to decide if people use marijuana or not.

So, to all those HATERS out there: step off your judgment soapbox people.

Marijuana is now legal, people just have to be willing to tell a "white lie" to a physician to get it. If you have a problem with this then take it to the legislature or government officials. Or why don't you just chastise the patients for using marijuana in the first place.

Oh and personally you probably won't catch me writing "letters" on behalf of patients for this, why? Because my reputation/career means more to me than the profits I stand to make at this point in my career ;)
 

TeamZissou

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The problem is bad policy by the US federal government of making marijuana illegal in the first place. The physicians are just taking advantage (legally), of a flawed system.
This.:thumbup:

It will take legalizing it to take it away from the medical sector though. Until then a very fortunate few are going to make A LOT of money legally. But at what cost?
 

TeamZissou

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Can you show me the undeniable evidence? All I ever hear is anecdotal stories and a quote from doc 420s site where a psychiatrist blatantly says the evidence is lacking ... but what we have is positive. This isn't science, and is far, far from undeniable.
Uh JP, there is solid statistical evidence out there showing it has medical uses for pain and as an anti-emetic. Just saying.
 

Kevin Baker

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I think you guys are arguing different things. On the one hand, marijuana has potential benefits. Heck, documented benefits. On the other hand, like any drug, it has side effects and there isn't exactly a randomized phase IV clinical trial going on that quantifies what the extent of benefits are, and what the extent of harms are. That's probably due to the fact that it's a schedule IV drug and apparently the feds claim it has no medicinal benefits, even though last I counted, 15 states and DC had medical programs. It's funny how federalism works.

The issue, imo, is that there is little or no science behind these medicinal programs. These doctors are just as bad as the quacks selling 80 proof cough syrup back in the day. Yeah, the drug has benefits, but until you can give me some quantification, some of that good ol' evidence based medicine, these docs are just tarnishing the profession with anti-science and snake oil. These are licensed professionals who have the audacity to recommend a drug whose harms and benefits are not well researched. Yes people die due to marijuana. Not from ODs but definitely from driving. And I bet there are adverse effects associated with changes in BP and HR, let alone the small effects on short term memory, increased anxiety, and effects from the route of administration (what other mainstream pharmaceuticals do most people ingest via smoking?).

Should it be legal? I believe so. Not from a public health viewpoint, but from a liberty viewpoint. But should some authority figure with little to no scientific basis for his claims be able to recommend an understudied drug with both real harms and benefits? I don't think so. As physicians we should be held to a higher standard (EBM) than that guy at the concert who said marijuana cured his brosef of butt cancer.
 

JaggerPlate

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Uh JP, there is solid statistical evidence out there showing it has medical uses for pain and as an anti-emetic. Just saying.
I know ... and I don't dispute that it has potential. My issue was twofold (with regard to that) 1. I have a problem with the way the clinics in CA are run (they seriously are shady) and 2. I have a problem with the people who quote inane, anecdotal, theoretical stories like 'No one has ever OD'ed on weed,' or 'it's less dangerous than alcohol,' as evidence in just about every discussion pertaining too weed AND, I've had multiple people tell me the scientific evidence is out there, but I've really only seen one quote from a psychiatrist (who said himself it was lacking) and something from wikipedia. If it was any other drug on the planet, this wouldn't be acceptable. Granted, the burden is probably on me to go find this, but then again, I know it's probably out there and that MJ has applications; my issue was simply with the two points I brought up above.
 
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I think you guys are arguing different things. On the one hand, marijuana has potential benefits. Heck, documented benefits. On the other hand, like any drug, it has side effects and there isn't exactly a randomized phase IV clinical trial going on that quantifies what the extent of benefits are, and what the extent of harms are. That's probably due to the fact that it's a schedule IV drug and apparently the feds claim it has no medicinal benefits, even though last I counted, 15 states and DC had medical programs. It's funny how federalism works.

The issue, imo, is that there is little or no science behind these medicinal programs. These doctors are just as bad as the quacks selling 80 proof cough syrup back in the day. Yeah, the drug has benefits, but until you can give me some quantification, some of that good ol' evidence based medicine, these docs are just tarnishing the profession with anti-science and snake oil. These are licensed professionals who have the audacity to recommend a drug whose harms and benefits are not well researched. Yes people die due to marijuana. Not from ODs but definitely from driving. And I bet there are adverse effects associated with changes in BP and HR, let alone the small effects on short term memory, increased anxiety, and effects from the route of administration (what other mainstream pharmaceuticals do most people ingest via smoking?).

Should it be legal? I believe so. Not from a public health viewpoint, but from a liberty viewpoint. But should some authority figure with little to no scientific basis for his claims be able to recommend an understudied drug with both real harms and benefits? I don't think so. As physicians we should be held to a higher standard (EBM) than that guy at the concert who said marijuana cured his brosef of butt cancer.
great post, besides the bolded. People die driving doing lots of things, from being sleepy, to talking on/texting on a cellphone, to not wearing a seatbelt. Smoking weed and driving is more of an indcitment of personal irresponsibility, rather than a statement of the negative effects of weed on health.
 

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Weed should be legal. There is no reason the government should regulate what you consume as an adult. And I think weed is disgusting and would never do it myself because most of the potheads I know will end up being nothings their whole lives. But it should be legal. That's all.

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patel2

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Please, elaborate on what stories I alluded to with my post. Also because it is inane, anecdotal, and theoretical could you provide stories of where people have OD'd on weed and that it is more dangerous than alochol? I feel that you rejecting that statement is based on "inane, anecdotal, theoretical stories", that is unless of course you can prove it? Please enlighten us Jagger....
I feel that jagger believes these things, but he has friends who smoke weed and repeat those comments alot apparently, and that dilutes the message to him that weed is one of the least harmful drugs out there. Therefore he associates weed with a bunch of stoners who just watch MTV and listen to music all day, spouting a bunch of science like they know what they are talking about. Regardless of his experience, though, the message is true that weed is substantially less harmful than other drugs, and at least from a health perspective, the odds of anyone prescribed medical marijuana from these providers aren't really at any risks for anything but minor side effects.

That said, again, Dr. 420 and others are clearly juts taking of advantage of a legal loophole and making bank...I agree that they aren't advancing the research of marijuana nor do they truly care about alleviating suffering of really sick patients, since they give it out like candy.
 

JaggerPlate

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Actually, Patel is pretty dead on ... but I want to clear a few things up:

1. I do not think weed makes you a stoner, loser who eats doritos and watches Jersey Shore on their parents couch all day. Altogether, it's not a very addictive substance, and I have many friends who smoke socially and lead completely productive lives

2. My point (which Patel alluded to) is that I really hate 'that guy' who you run into at every party or is somehow peripherally related to your group of friends who DEFINES his existence by weed. Everything he does (dress, conversation, friends, etc) relates to weed and for some reason, these guys think that google internet research and talking about weed with other stoners makes them some sort of expert on the biochemical aspects of THC.

These are the type of people who continually propagate the same, anecdotal stories like 'no one has ever OD'd on weed' or 'it's so much better for you than alcohol.' These people have absolutely nothing to back any of these claims, have no idea why you can't/can OD, how alcohol affects you differently etc, but because they define their life by weed, they LOVE making these statements and I find them annoying. The fact that someone unknowingly used the same two arguments I mocked in this very discussion thread kinda proves how tired, repetitive, and common these points really are. Additionally, in 99% of discussions, they aren't even related to the topic. For example:

-Weed clinics in CA are shady

-OH YEAH, well no one has ever OD'd on weed.

Errr, okay?? I think my points are being take a bit out of context here and I probably look like the annoying pre-med who's never cracked a beer and loves passing judgment. This really isn't the case. My point is, and always has been, 1. the weed clinics in CA are shady and I wouldn't associate my license/profession with these people 2. I don't care about people using weed whatsoever, I have no moral issues with it, and there are probably a lot of useful applicants, BUT anyone who pretends these clinics are doing anything more than handing out passes for people to buy/use good weed guilt free is kidding themselves.
 

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Dr. 420 also sells fragrances and skin products, as well as modelling (as noted above, she's a fox :love: ) and renting out her mansion (complete with an indoor pool) and fancy office for photo shoots.

http://www.sonapatelmd.com

She's making bank for sure.
 
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Dr. 420 also sells fragrances and skin products, as well as modelling (as noted above, she's a fox :love: ) and renting out her mansion (complete with an indoor pool) and fancy office for photo shoots.

http://www.sonapatelmd.com

She's making bank for sure.
Her bio is fairly hilarious. I skimmed through and found this gem.

I'll never forget when I drove down Sunset Blvd and crowds of homeless people would wave to me with love in their eye...even though I was driving in my cherry red convertible mercedes.
She was also top of her class, Ross 2002.

 
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patel2

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Her bio is fairly hilarious. I skimmed through and found this gem.
lmao the best part is when you put the cursor over the mercedes there is a picture of her car.