Realistic depiction of a male doctor and a middle-aged female patient subtly exchanging money under the table during a medical cannabis consultation, symbolizing unethical practices in the industry

5 Reasons Why Medical Marijuana Ethics Matter: The Case of Medwell and DocMJ

In the medical marijuana industry, until the field of medical practice is formally established and practiced over time, ethics play a crucial role. These ethics cover the responsibility of providers to maintain the highest standards of care, transparency, and respect for patient rights. Ethical considerations shape the practices and policies that guide how patients are treated and how treatment plans are made. As such, medical marijuana ethics influence both the trust patients place in their providers and the overall integrity and acceptance of cannabis as a therapeutic option.

The importance of ethical practices and the value of quality patient care cannot be overstated. I believe the entire trajectory of the future of medical cannabis, as a specialty, is at play. It can be done well, and so will encourage progress and improvements, or it can be done really wrong. Organizations like Canna Care Docs, Medwell, Veriheal, EZMedCard, and DocMJ, have displayed a troubling trend of prioritizing profits at the expense of patient-centered care. This approach not only tarnishes the reputations of such companies but also casts a shadow over the legitimacy of the medical cannabis industry as a whole.

The recent settlement involving Physician Compassionate Care, operating as DocMJ, (MedWell was recently acquired by DocMJ) where they agreed to pay over $736,000 to resolve allegations of sending spam text messages to consumers, is a case in point. This incident under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) reflects broader ethical concerns. It illustrates a model of operation where the focus is on maximizing client intake through aggressive marketing tactics rather than providing genuine medical advice and follow-up care.

This case is particularly significant because it not only reflects non-compliance with federal regulations but also indicates a disregard for the personal and sensitive nature of patient communications in healthcare. Effective and ethical medical marijuana care should involve personalized consultations, tailored treatment plans, and privacy-respecting communication—qualities that are evidently lacking in these high-volume, low-engagement business models.

Moreover, treating medical marijuana recommendations as quick transactions undermines the critical role of comprehensive patient evaluations. Such evaluations are essential to ensure that cannabis treatment is appropriate, safe, and beneficial in the context of a patient’s overall health status and other treatments. This conveyor-belt approach to medical recommendations can lead to inadequate patient education on the use of cannabis, potential drug interactions, and management of side effects, which are crucial components of safe cannabis therapy.

The impact of these practices extends beyond individual patient experiences. They erode trust in the medical marijuana industry, which is still fighting stigmas and striving for acceptance within broader medical and patient communities. As more states legalize medical cannabis and more patients seek cannabis-based treatments, it is imperative that the industry is seen as credible and trustworthy.

For the medical marijuana sector to maintain its integrity and continue to grow in a positive direction, it is vital for all involved to adhere to high standards of medical care and ethical business practices. Patients should be treated with respect and care, receiving not just a prescription but a thorough understanding of their treatment. This ensures not only compliance with legal standards but also fosters a positive perception of cannabis as a legitimate medical option.

As the industry evolves, it becomes increasingly important to spotlight and challenge the practices of companies that diminish its credibility. By demanding higher standards and choosing providers wisely, patients and advocates can help shape an industry that truly prioritizes health and care over profit.

Quality of Care at Stake 

At CED Clinic, we regularly care for new patients who have previously engaged with services like those offered by Medwell and DocMJ. These patients frequently report a stark lack of follow-up or genuine care from these providers. Medwell, for instance, is known among some circles more for its rapid issuance of medical marijuana cards than for its patient care. This ‘card flipping’ approach neglects the essential standards of medical practice, including understanding a patient’s complete health profile and ensuring their treatment aligns with their specific medical needs.

The habit of bombarding potential patients with text messages really highlights how impersonal and transactional these businesses can be. It’s tough to picture a respected medical institution using such intrusive marketing strategies. How can you trust your health to a provider that reaches out like a pushy salesperson?


Will share an evidence-based expanded version of this post, next!



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