Physician: You'll likely need a second doctor for medical marijuana recommendations

    Medical Marijuana Legal in Ohio but not everyone can recommend it (WKRC)

    WEST CHESTER, Ohio (WKRC)- Physicians must stay on top of new rules and regulations almost every month, in addition to learning about the latest treatment options and recommendations for diseases.

    "New rules in December. New rules this month. We have new rules that are going to be implemented in March and this is where I think it's becoming increasingly challenging for physicians," Humam Akbik, M.D., a pain management specialist said.

    That is why more than a dozen doctors, nurses and other health care workers are at a conference presented by PracticShields. to get a course on those changes and how to protect their practices.

    "The problem is we don't have a test, we don't have a device, we don't have a, things we can do on a physical exam that says, 'This is how much pain I'm in.' I don't have a 'pain-o-meter' that I can apply to you and say, 'Yes, indeed you're right. You are having 9/10 pain," Mickey Denen, M.D., an internal medicine specialist said.

    Dr. Denen is there to learn how to spot “red flag warnings” from patients looking for opioid pain meds, but not necessarily needing them.

    Medical marijuana is now an option for pain management but not everyone can recommend it. It's regulated as tightly as opioid pain medicine.

    Physicians I talked with say they don't think most family doctors will get certified to recommend it.

    "It's already very time-consuming to see patients every three months if they're already on pain medications. So, to add an additional responsibility to see patients who are on medical marijuana every three months and all the requirements that go through with that in terms of documentation and looking into things, it's just too much of a burden," Denen said. "Their practice is going to revolve around patients that need medical marijuana and that's what they'll do," Denen said.

    At last check, there are only five places to go in southwest Ohio to get a medical marijuana recommendation and there's nowhere nearby to purchase the medicine.

    Plus, there's still a lot to learn about the long-term effects of medical marijuana.

    "We'll learn more about what's the best disease... for marijuana. [How] patients react to it and what type of relief they get,” Akbik said.

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