Some Oklahoma doctors won’t prescribe medical marijuana

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
09/13/2018 12:00 PM
TULSA (AP) – Oklahoma patients may have limited options for providers willing and able to sign medical marijuana recommendations due to major health care systems telling doctors not to discuss cannabis treatment.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority released a list last week of 38 physicians statewide who’ve registered as providers willing to recommend medical marijuana to patients. The authority released the list “as a courtesy” to potential applicants whose own physicians may be unwilling to sign a recommendation, the Tulsa World reported.

Oklahoma voters passed a ballot measure in June authorizing the use of medicinal cannabis in the state. The Oklahoma State Department of Health began awarding patient licenses late in August.

Tulsa residents seeking licenses have reported being turned away from their primary care providers within the Saint Francis and Oklahoma State University Medical Center health systems.

Both systems said that physicians and providers can’t recommend cannabis to patients because hospital rules require doctors to follow federal law, which still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has long categorized cannabis with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Only nine physicians in the Tulsa area have registered with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, one of them being Dr. Katrina Crader at the UKPsych clinic. She treats patients with anxiety and addictions, among others.

“I was seeing more and more that patients who tried medical marijuana were on less medication for their anxiety and were not getting addicted to opioids or benzos,” Crader said. “They found the medical marijuana by itself was more than enough to control both their addictions and their anxiety. So I thought, ‘This is something I need to do for my patients.’“

Many doctors and hospitals want to stay out of the medical marijuana business partly because of problems related to excessive THC intoxication, Crader said.

“There are few, if any, clinical trials comparing medical marijuana to known medical standard practices or evidence-based guidelines,” said a statement from Hillcrest Healthcare System, which allows only specific physicians to recommend medical marijuana. “Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, and as such, there have been federal repercussions (for) physicians, including suspension or revocation of their medical license.”

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