5 Steps to Become a Certified Medical Marijuana Provider in New York
As nurse practitioners (NPs), we always look for ways to care for our patients holistically. Why not add a certified medical marijuana provider to your resume?
As a certified medical marijuana provider, you are certifying patients for the medical use of marijuana. In New York, this permits patients to hold a medical marijuana card while you treat and monitor their use.
When traditional medication is unsuccessful, medical marijuana has been life changing, especially for specific groups of patients. Medical marijuana treatment may be helpful for patients experiencing:
- Chronic pain
- Opioid dependency
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Follow these five easy steps to become a certified medical marijuana provider in New York.
1. Make Sure You're Qualified
To become a certified medical marijuana provider in New York, you must be either a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Dentists, midwives, and podiatrists can also become medical marijuana providers.
Your license must be in good standing, and you must complete a course approved by your Commissioner or Department of Health (DOH). You can find these courses on New York state's DOH website.
Lastly, as a licensed New York provider, you must have a valid drug enforcement administration registration.
2. Google Your State Department
Have you ever searched for your state department online? It has a wealth of information. One way to find information on medical cannabis providers is through their website. The website will also include:
- A list of registered cannabis practitioners
- Dispensary locations
- How to become a certified medical marijuana provider
The website will also lead you to New York medical marijuana courses.
3. Review New York State's Course Guidelines
New York state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) approved six courses that prepare and certify NPs to certify patients for medical cannabis use. Here is a list of the courses and costs as provided on their site:
|Course Provider||Course Duration||Fulfills requirement for practitioners wishing to certify patients||Fulfills requirement for practitioners working in dispensing facilities||Cost||CME credits offered|
|The Answer Page - A Brand New Course||3 hours||Yes||No||$165||Yes – AMA, PRA Category 1 Credits™, ACPE, AANP, ANCC, APA, and AGD|
|The Answer Page - A Brand New Course||5 hours||Yes||Yes||$175||Yes – AMA, PRA Category 1 Credits™, ACPE, AANP, ANCC, APA, and AGD|
|The Medical Cannabis Institute Authored by the Society of Cannabis Clinicians||4 hours||Yes||Yes||$229||No|
|The Medical Cannabis Institute||4 hours||Yes||Yes||$179||Yes|
|Medical Marijuana 411||4 hours||Yes||Yes||$179||No|
|Medical Cannabis Mentor||4 hours||Yes||Yes||$150||No|
The courses should cover:
- The endocannabinoid system
- Cannabinoid medicine
- The pharmacology of cannabis
- Side effects, adverse reactions, and when not to use medical marijuana
- Overdose prevention
- Drug interactions
- Routes of administration
- Risks and benefits
- Warnings and precautions
- Abuse and dependence
Before registering, you can also review which conditions qualify for medical marijuana treatment.
The website offers guidance on:
- Treating post-traumatic stress syndrome
- Therapeutic use of medical marijuana for HIV/AIDS patients
- Opioid use disorders
NPs can issue certifications for these conditions. For a full list of the conditions that can be treated by medical cannabis, refer to the New York OCM website.
4. Register for the Course
You only need to register for one course. Once you're registered, they range from 2-4 hours. You have up to 12 months to access the course.
The course may be live or online. Course price depends on which state you will be certified in. The course prices in New York range from $150-$230. The price of the medical cannabis course also depends on if you want the course to provide continuing medical education credits.
5. You're Certified!
Once the course is complete, you will receive a certificate. New York state law requires NPs to register with the DOH to certify patients. They must log into the Health Commerce System (HCS) and follow the prompts.
NPs will have access to the Medical Marijuana Data Management System to issue certifications to patients with qualifying conditions. The system can be found within the HCS. This system was created to make it easier for providers to certify patients. Providers can also check a patient's controlled substance history.
Patients in New York must be registered by a certified cannabis provider to purchase, cultivate, or use medical marijuana products. Always look up the law before certifying a patient for medical marijuana.
Medical cannabis can be a treatment your patients have been searching for but don't know where to look. As a certified medical marijuana provider, you have the knowledge to support and empower your patients with information. You can also refer your patients to cannabis nurse educators to learn more about medical cannabis, its health benefits, and its proper use.
As a certified medical marijuana provider, you can suggest to your patient medical marijuana as an option to Western medicine. They may have already heard about it but feel hesitant to ask.
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