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Why Do I Need a Medical Marijuana Follow-Up?

medical cannabis follow up appointments

If you have just received your medical marijuana card for the first time, there are many things to learn about the legal requirements of being a registered patient. Qualifying for your medical card is the first step.

To remain on the patient registry, there are rules that must be followed. Patients need to be aware of the individual state laws that govern how much medical cannabis they can buy (and when). Where to consume medical cannabis legally, and requirements to maintain a valid medical card.

One of the most important things for medical marijuana patients is to ensure that they schedule the required follow-up appointments with their doctor. Learn more about the follow-up appointment and why it is important.

Why Do States Require a Follow-Up Appointment?

Health conditions and symptoms can change at any time. Even when you have been diagnosed with a condition for years, you may start to experience different symptoms related to your health problem.

The severity of your symptoms can also change. Or you may have been recently diagnosed with a new health condition. Since human health is always changing, it is important for patients to consult regularly with a physician who specializes in supervised medical marijuana treatment plans.

While this is an added expense for registered patients, it is an important step to help keep you safe. And to monitor your health conditions and make adjustments as required for better results. The follow-up appointments are required by state law in order to maintain the right to legally purchase, possess and use cannabis for medicinal purposes.

How Often Do Patients Schedule a Follow-Up Appointment?

Medical marijuana regulations vary by state. In some jurisdictions, patients are required to attend a follow-up appointment once per year before the expiration date of their medical card.

However, in some states, follow-up appointments are required at more regular intervals. That is to ensure that the patient is benefitting from medical cannabis and that it is helping with symptom management.

Where possible, patients can be scheduled with the DocMJ physician who provided their recommendation. That means consulting with a doctor you know who understands your wellness goals and symptoms.

medical marijuana follow up

What Happens During a Medical Marijuana Follow-Up?

Think about your follow-up appointments as a great opportunity to update your marijuana doctor about how you feel. Have your symptoms become more manageable? Has there been any change in the severity of physical or mental health conditions?

The medical marijuana follow-up appointment is simply a check-in. Whether you see the physician that initially recommended you or another DocMJ practitioner, you will be talking to someone who cares. And is committed to helping you reach your wellness goals.

There are four things that happen during your medical marijuana follow-up appointment:

1. Review of Patient Symptoms

How is medical cannabis working to help you manage your symptoms? That is the discussion your DocMJ physician will have, and it is an important one. It is an opportunity for you to discuss different routes and potencies and get advice to help you achieve better results.

Our physicians at DocMJ are experienced in alternative medicine, and they provide valuable guidance. You can review the types (routes) of medical cannabis you have been using. And ask about alternating between routes and specific strains that could work better for your wellness needs.

2. Prescription Medications and Supplement Check-Up

Cannabis generally presents few problems for patients who are taking prescription medications. However, there are some medications that are contraindicated with cannabis. And as a patient, you may not know this without consulting with your physician.

Some types of medications are contraindicated. That means cannabis could conflict with those medications. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use medical marijuana, however. If this happens, you can talk to your primary care provider about other prescriptions that may not conflict with your medical marijuana.

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3. Updating Your Medical Records

When you attend your follow-up appointments, not only will you be discussing your current symptoms and health conditions, but the doctor will be updating your medical records. This can be shared with your primary care provider if you choose, but it is not required.

By keeping your medical records updated, you are helping your DocMJ physician monitor changes in your symptoms and overall health. Remember, your medical records are confidential. And you can request a copy of your records from DocMJ at any time.

4. Adjustment to Recommendation (If Required)

In some cases, where the current medical cannabis recommendation is not sufficient for a patient’s needs, an increase may be possible. This is up to the discretion of the physician, however.

In some states that have a cap on maximum potencies of medical marijuana routes, it may be possible to ask for an exception. Patients who are experiencing severe debilitating pain or who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness (compassionate care) may qualify for an exception if a higher potency is needed. This is done through your medical marijuana doctor and is subject to review and approval by state regulators.

Your follow-up appointment is an opportunity to talk about how the management of your symptoms is going. The physician may also recommend other therapies such as hot or cold applications, exercise, cannabidiol (CBD), or other dietary supplements that may help.

why are medical marijuana follow up appointments required

What Happens if I Don’t Attend My Follow-Up Appointment?

If you decline to schedule a medical cannabis follow-up appointment, the physician cannot update your recommendation. And according to state laws, if you do not have your recommendation reviewed and updated annually, you will not be able to renew your card.

If your cannabis card expires, you will not be able to purchase medical marijuana from any dispensary or medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC). Also, if you live in a state where recreational cannabis (adult-use) is not legalized, you can face legal charges for possession and use of cannabis even if you purchased it before your card expired.

To remain in the patient registry, you must complete the required follow-up appointments. Otherwise, your MMJ card will expire, and you will be removed from the medical marijuana use registry in your state.

Should you change your mind and want to renew your card after expiration, you are required to apply again. That means a new medical cannabis health evaluation with a licensed physician and payment of the annual fee for the patient registry ID card.

How Will I Know When to Schedule a Follow-Up Appointment With DocMJ?

One of the services we provide our patients is reminders regarding their follow-up appointments and the expiration of their medical cannabis card. We know that life gets busy! You will receive emails from DocMJ reminding you that it is time to schedule your follow-up appointment.

In states where a telemedicine appointment is available for medical cannabis, the follow-up appointment could not be easier. You do not have to visit a doctor’s office to complete this step. However, in Florida (at the time of writing), a telemedicine appointment is not permitted. But DocMJ has thirty (30) convenient clinic locations available for patients.

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Can I Schedule My Follow-Up Appointment Early?

Whether your follow-up appointment is in three months, six months, or one year, you will be notified that it is time to schedule with DocMJ. If you are going to be away (or out of the country) and you want to schedule your follow-up appointment earlier, please contact our support team for assistance.

Missing your follow-up appointment for your medical marijuana card will make your card void. And you will not be permitted to remain on the patient registry or renew it. This not only applies to patients but also to registered caregivers or legal guardians for adults requiring assistance and minors.

What if I Miss My Follow-Up Appointment?

If you are unable to attend your appointment, please provide as much notice as possible. Our patient care team at DocMJ will help you reschedule your appointment to another date. However, without sufficient notice, patients may be charged a cancellation fee.

Our caring physicians are scheduled months in advance. We thank you for helping us serve our patients better by keeping your scheduled appointment or providing advanced notice if you wish to cancel or reschedule with us.


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