Pub. 7 2023 Issue 2

Recommending Medical Cannabis in Utah By Sarah Dash, Medical Cannabis Outreach Specialist, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medical Cannabis Introduction As the number of Utah medical cannabis patients has grown to over 72,000, medical providers are getting more questions about medical cannabis. More patients are learning about cannabis, thinking about using it as a treatment and keeping an eye on the possibility of federal changes in cannabis regulation. Although medical cannabis treatment is not for everyone, it’s essential that medical providers are prepared to answer questions and become familiar with options for recommending medical cannabis to patients. The state of Utah provides two options for medical providers to recommend medical cannabis: the qualified medical provider (QMP) program or the limited medical provider (LMP) program. Participating in the Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) Program Medical providers who are Utah-licensed MDs, DOs, APRNs, PAs or DPMs with controlled substance licenses may register with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as a QMP. To register, medical providers must complete the following three steps: 1. Complete four hours of DHHS-approved continuing education. 2. Apply online for a medical cannabis registration card and pay the application fee. 3. Receive your medical cannabis QMP registration card once DHHS has reviewed your application and made sure that all requirements are met. Once these steps are completed and the QMP has their QMP registration card, they can recommend medical cannabis to patients. Each QMP has a patient limit of 1.5% of the total number of registered medical cannabis patients. If a medical provider receives payment from a patient’s insurance plan for their services, then the patient whose insurance plan was billed does not count toward the provider’s patient limit. As of Oct. 1, 2023, the patient limit is 1,092 patients. This limit is updated quarterly by DHHS. To provide a patient with a medical cannabis recommendation, the QMP must complete the following three steps: 1. Attend an in-person appointment with the patient to discuss their medical condition and treatments they have already tried. 2. Log into the medical cannabis Electronic Verification System (EVS) and complete the online medical cannabis recommendation form. The recommendation form will include the patient’s personal information, their qualifying condition and the length of time that the recommendation is valid. The QMP also has the option to provide dosing guidelines in the recommendation or to defer dosing guidelines to the medical cannabis pharmacist. 3. Save and submit the recommendation. Once the recommendation is submitted, the patient can pay the DHHS-required fees, receive their medical cannabis card via email and purchase medical cannabis. Additionally, QMPs can see patients who do not have a qualifying condition for medical cannabis use or who are younger than 21 years old. In these cases, they must submit a petition and the patient’s medical records to the Compassionate Use Board (CUB). If the CUB approves the petition, the patient can be issued a medical cannabis card and purchase medical cannabis. The CUB is comprised of seven qualified medical providers appointed by the DHHS Executive Director and confirmed by the Utah State Senate. Participating in the Limited Medical Provider (LMP) Program LMPs are often thought of as primary care providers who can recommend medical cannabis for up to 15 of their long-term 31 |