New Jersey approves telehealth cannabis recommendations

Published Aug 28, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
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New Jersey is the latest state to step up to the plate and provide cannabis to patients through video chats. The pandemic has, for the medical cannabis patient, brought forward a safer way of obtaining the necessary medicine. Telemedicine is at the forefront of the conversation when speaking about the availability of cannabis for medicinal purposes, especially during these stressful times of a pandemic. For patients requiring cannabis, telehealth is a bonus. It is safer, cheaper, less stressful, and it provides an opening for obtaining advice from a cannabis practitioner.

Requirements

The state law dictates that a physician must discuss the risks of opiates and other alternative medicines during the video chat meetings. At this time, the necessary information about cannabis must be supplied to the patient. Checking in with a Prescription Monitoring Program as to what they have prescribed is essential. There is a maximum supply of 5 days meds when the diagnosis is for acute pain, and video and audio chats must be enabled from all parties involved in the process.

Telehealth and telemedicine remain an option as the person to person services start to open up. The Attorney General Gurbir Grewal believes that patients must have an alternative and feel comfortable using the telehealth system for any reason, including to avoid being exposed to COVID-19.

Waivers

The new ruling is mandated to follow the DEA’s standards. Due to the pandemic, the temporary waiver was put into place by the DEA, and it will allow the medical health practitioners to be able to supply medical cannabis through video online. Doctors will need to take extra care to ensure that the condition they are treating fits into the state’s current medical cannabis program.

Visions

There is hope that implementing this type of telehealth will facilitate the need for patients who need to visit the doctor's office. Virtual visits will be more beneficial for the patient who lives a distance from the office. Telemedicine, when relating it to cannabis, will become a convenient method of serving the cannabis community. COVID-19 has perhaps initiated what was inevitable as we move forward in the healthcare field.

Cannabis, although not legal on a federal level, will be available in more states in the future. Although perhaps the best practice for keeping patients and the frontline workers safe during the pandemic, this type of medical practice will hopefully remain a positive method of health access availability into the future. This will be not only for the medicinal cannabis user but also a tool for all medical needs that patients present with.

Last words

The new legislation for the state of New Jersey will require private insurance companies to pay for telehealth services. The proposed rates will be similar to in-person medical care rates that are currently being used. This is excellent news for anyone in New Jersey who is looking to expand the telemedicine space. For cannabis to be included in this way of obtaining consultations and medicine, it can only be seen as a positive step down the green road of health. Welcome, New Jersey.

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