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Growing Acceptance of Medical and Recreational Use of Marijuana Presents Coverage Concerns for Ophthalmologists

California became the first state to allow marijuana use for medical reasons in 1996. Since then, nearly twenty other states and the District of Columbia have approved similar legislation and in 2012 two states, Washington and Colorado, approved recreational use of small quantities of the drug. Several interesting questions are raised as physicians, especially ophthalmologists, are confronted with patient’s requests for humanitarian treatments that include the recommendation for medical marijuana. Some important issues addressed in legislation include a robust and detailed definition of the “patient-physician relationship” and guidelines for the assessment and documentation of the patient’s history, medical and mental condition, including the responsibility for ongoing care and treatment. Perhaps, as more research is conducted, the use of marijuana will become a more accepted practice by the traditional medical community.

Related Links:

State Medical and Recreational Marijuana Use Laws 

Comparison of all state medical marijuana programs with contact information. Prepared by the Public Health Law Network as of May 2012.

“Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” Institute of Medicine, 1999.

Treatment Research Institute’s (TRI)policy position statement regarding medical marijuana.

ProCon.org’s resources on medical marijuana. Medical Marijuana ProCon.org presents laws, studies, statistics, surveys, government reports, and pro and con statements on questions related to marijuana as medicine. 

“Exposing the Myth of Smoked Medical Marijuana,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“State-by-State Medical Marijuana Laws: How to Remove the Threat of Arrest,” Marijuana Policy Project, 2011.

Statement by ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske regarding Federal guidelines for medical marijuana prosecution.

“How to Become a Legal Medical Marijuana Patient,” Americans for Safe Access.

“Marinol: The Legal Medical Use for the Marijuana Plant,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration 

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