Medical Marijuana - Healthcare Practitioner Information

Healthcare Practitioner Information

Before an allowed healthcare practitioner may authorize the use of cannabis to a qualifying patient, a patient-practitioner relationship must be established. Requirements and restrictions established in RCW 69.51A.030 must be met and practice standards must be followed as with any type of treatment. Healthcare practitioners that want to authorize their patient to use cannabis for medical purposes must complete and sign the Washington State Medical Cannabis Authorization and print on tamper-resistant paper.

NOTICE: All authorizations issued on or after July 1, 2018 are required to be printed on authorization tamper-resistant paper containing the RCW 69.51A.030 logo. Visit the Medical Cannabis Authorization Form website for detailed instructions.

Authorization practice guidelines

The department doesn't promote or discourage the use of medical cannabis authorizations. To ensure that all healthcare practitioners are familiar with the law, we developed the authorization practice guidelines for recommending medical cannabis. In addition, we have created a Medical Cannabis Authorization Form Guidelines (PDF) handout for healthcare practitioners to print out and share with their patients.

Cannabis health and beauty aids

According to RCW 69.50.575, items containing 0.3% THC or less are considered a cannabis health and beauty aid (CHABA). These products are legal for all practitioners to use in their practice. It's not within the scope of practice for practitioners in Washington State to use any products, including topical lotions and oils that contain more than 0.3% THC on their clients – regardless of being medical or recreational and regardless of whether the client provides the product. In applying cannabis oils or lotions as part of therapy, the practitioner would be illegally administering a Schedule I drug.

Database access

The Medical Cannabis Authorization Database laws and rules allow authorizing practitioners and those who prescribe or dispense controlled substances to access patient information in the database.

Non-authorizing healthcare practitioners who are allowed to prescribe controlled substances may access healthcare information on their patients for the purpose of providing medical care for their patients (chapter 69.51A230(b) RCW). In addition, pharmacists may access the database for pharmaceutical care. Controlled substance prescribers must have a valid DOH license and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number and pharmacists must have only a valid DOH license for this access.

What healthcare practitioners can do in system

Authorizing healthcare practitioners who access the database will see the list of patients they have authorized and the patient's designated provider, if applicable. The authorizing healthcare practitioner may revoke any authorization and its corresponding card, if necessary. Note: Because the database is voluntary, not all your patients may be in the system.

Non-authorizing practitioners who are allowed to prescribe or dispense controlled substances will have the option to search the database by the patient's name and date of birth to review the patient's healthcare information.

Learn more