Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Medical Cannabis - For Healthcare Practitioners

The following information is designed and organized for physicians (MD/DO), Physician Assistants (PAs), Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs), Podiatrists, Pharmacists, and Pharmacy Technicians.

Medical Cannabis CMEs for Healthcare Practitioners

The Continuing Medical Education (CME) opportunities listed below are designed to educate Iowa's certifying healthcare practitioners (MD/DO, PA, ARNP, DPM) on considerations when certifying a patient for use medical cannabis products for the treatment of the their qualifying debiliating medical condition.  These courses introduce healthcare practitioners to the endocannabinoid system and its interaction with the components of the cannabis plant, therapeutic use, drug metabolism, physiologic and cognitive effects, potential risks, and drug interactions. Legal and medical considerations associated with the certifying a patient for the use of medical cannabis products are discussed as well.

  • The Answer Page - The Iowa 4-hr Medical Cannabis Course
    • Content provides Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), American Psychological Association (APA) credits, and American General Dentistry (AGD) PACE credits.
  • The Medical Cannabis Institute - Iowa Provider Education: Medical Use of Cannabis v1.0
    • The state-specific portion of this course has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the New Mexico Medical Society (NMMS) through the joint providership of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS) and TMCIGlobal. RMCHCS is accredited by NMMS to provide continuing medical education for physician and non-physician healthcare providers. RMCHCS designates this activity for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Each physician or non-physician should claim only the credit commensurate with the time required to complete the online course.

Healthcare Practitioner Roles and Responsibilities

* There is no specific certification or CME required for healthcare practitioners to certify a patient for the use of Medical Cannabis*

Prior to a patient’s submission of an application for a medical cannabis registration card pursuant to this rule, a healthcare practitioner shall do all of the following:

  1. Determine, in the healthcare practitioner’s medical judgment, whether the patient whom the healthcare practitioner has examined and treated suffers from a debilitating medical condition that qualifies for the use of medical cannabis as defined by this chapter, and if so determined, provide the patient with a written certification of that diagnosis by completing the healthcare practitioner section of the application form provided for this purpose on the department’s website.
  2. Provide explanatory information to the patient as provided on the department’s website about the therapeutic use of medical cannabis and the possible risks, benefits, and side effects of the proposed treatment. This information is found in Patient Information Sheet
  3. Subsequently, the health care practitioner shall do the following: 
    1. Determine, on an annual basis, if the patient continues to suffer from a debilitating medical condition and, if so, issue the patient a new certification of that diagnosis.
    2. Otherwise comply with all requirements in this chapter and requests from the department for more information. A health care practitioner may provide, but has no duty to provide, a written certification pursuant to this rule.

Affirmative Defenses for Healthcare Practitioners

Iowa Code chapter 124E.12 (1) - A health care practitioner, including any authorized agent or employee thereof, shall not be subject to prosecution for the unlawful certification, possession, or administration of marijuana under the laws of this state for activities arising directly out of or directly related to the certification or use of medical cannabis in the treatment of a patient diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition as authorized by this chapter.

Iowa Code chapter 124E.12 (6) - Any health care practitioner, including any authorized agent or employee thereof, are not subject to any civil or disciplinary penalties by the board of medicine or any business, occupational, or professional licensing board or entity, solely for activities conducted relating to a patient’s possession or use of medical cannabis as authorized under this chapter. Nothing in this section affects a professional licensing board from taking action in response to violations of any other section of law.

The short presentation below includes slides prepared by the AAG appointed to The Office of Cannabis Regulation. It includes information for Healthcare Practitioners on legal considerations for medical cannabis products:

Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form

This form is required to be included with all patient or caregiver applications. Please complete all sections during the patient’s visit, and be sure to sign and date the document. The form can be found below.

'4.5g THC per 90-days' Waiver Form

There are two exceptions to the '4.5g per 90-day purchase limit, below:

  • For any patient certified for a terminal illness (a healthcare practitioner may indicate more THC per 90-days at the time of certification)
  • If the patient's healthcare practitioner certifies them for additional THC, after the patient has participated in the program. 

This form below is to be utilized by healthcare practitioners to increase a patient's 'THC per 90-day' purchase limit after participation in the program. The specific allotment of THC per 90-days must be indicated by the healthcare practitioner:

Patient Information Sheet for Health Care Practitioners

The Following document is an information sheet that physicians are required to discuss with patients. It provides explanatory information about the possible risks, benefits and side effects of medical cannabis.

Healthcare Practitioner FAQ Document

The following document is a list of commonly asked questions by Iowa physicians, with responses from the Department.

Educational Reference Documents for Healthcare Practitioners

Guidance on Suggested Use Documents for Healthcare Practitioners

The information provided in the following documents is intended to help patients in Iowa and Iowa healthcare practitioners to make well-informed decisions to improve the quality of health care outcomes in patients using medical cannabis through the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program. The use of medical cannabis and cannabinoids is at one’s own risk and the use of medical cannabis is not considered a first-line therapy for most medical conditions.  The Iowa Department of Health and the Office of Cannabis Regulation highly advise that patients consult with their healthcare practitioners on using medical cannabis as a medical treatment.  Documents provided on this website discuss warnings and risks related to the use of cannabis and as such, patrons using these documents are advised to use documents listed here as informational and educational only. We advise that patrons who are minors using medical cannabis also understand and refer to official policy statements and positions posted by the American Academy of Pediatrics  (2004 Policy and an updated 2015 Policy).