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Talking to Your Doctor

What you need to know before talking to your provider.

When talking to your healthcare provider, consider the following points:

  • Bring any available medical records you may have
  • Explain what you hope to gain from the use of medical marijuana
    • For example, do you want to restore appetite? 
    • Are you seeking to relieve pain, nausea, vomiting
 or other symptoms caused by your medical condition or the medications used to treat your medical condition?

  • Let your doctor know that you are aware of some
 of the side effects that may occur, such as dry mouth, dry or red eyes, headache, dizziness, drowsiness or anxiety
  • Be prepared to discuss with your doctor the benefits of medical marijuana versus the risks
  • Use professional language, such as “medical marijuana or medical cannabis.” Refrain from 
using slang terms such as “pot” or “weed”

Remind your doctor that he/she is not writing
 a prescription, but instead giving a written certification 
    • This is a document dated and signed by a physician stating that there is a bona fide physician-patient relationship


What conditions qualify for medical marijuana use?

Qualifying conditions vary state by state. See what qualifies in Massachusetts.

Learn More

Ask your doctor if your use of the following medications should be adjusted with the use of medical marijuana:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiplatelets

  • Aspirin
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Dronabinol
  • Narcotics
  • Phenobarbital
  • Sedating anticholinergics

  • Sedative hypnotics
  • SSRI
  • TCA
  • Theophylline

Healthcare provider-patient relationship


This information is not a referral by a provider to a specific dispensary. This information is being provided by the dispensary for the education and support of the qualifying patient or designated caregiver. The choice of dispensary is the patient's alone. A dispensary may not accept referral of patients from a physician. Neither may a physician refer a qualifying patient to a dispensary.

The Act states that a health care provider and other health care professionals under the health care provider’s supervision shall not be penalized or prosecuted under Massachusetts law for advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of medical use of cannabis or by providing a qualifying patient with a certification based on a full assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical history and condition. 

Any decision as to whether to recommend or certify medical use of cannabis should be made in consultation with the healthcare provider’s own legal counsel and/or legal counsel for any health care facility with which the healthcare provider is affiliated.

Healthcare Providers are not “prescribing” medical marijuana. Instead, a healthcare provider is asked to certify that the patient has one of the debilitating medical conditions or symptoms of a qualifying condition and that a bonafide relationship has been established. 

Providers should have a “bona fide”provider-patient relationship with the qualifying patient.
A physician or nurse practitioner should be able to comfortably certify that the qualifying patient is under the physician’s care, either as the patient’s primary care physician or for his or her debilitating medical condition. 

Providers may accept payment from a qualifying patient for the fee associated with the examination required before recommending medical marijuana.
However, providers may not accept any remuneration for making a medical cannabis certification, nor can they accept any remuneration from any dispensary for such a recommendation

Unlike other pharmaceuticals, providers cannot “overprescribe” medical marijuana.
Providers are not required to regulate dosage, strain or administration of medical marijuana. Under the law, qualifying patients are unable to procure unlimited amounts of medical marijuana.


This website contains cannabis information and is restricted to individuals 21 years of age or older. Please confirm your age:

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