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Choosing the Right Local Cannabis Medical Provider: A Comparative Guide

As medical cannabis gains wider acceptance and legal recognition across the United States, finding the right healthcare provider for your specific needs is becoming increasingly important. In this article, we will explore the significance of specialized training in anesthesiology and psychiatry when considering healthcare providers. We’ll also delve into the importance of vetting healthcare providers using Google ratings and Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation. It’s worth noting that when it comes to the complexities surrounding medical cannabis, selecting a local provider in your state is often the best choice. Last, we’ll explain what multi-state operators (MSOs) are and why you should avoid them.

The Relevance of Specialized Training in Cannabis Healthcare

Specialized training is crucial when choosing a healthcare provider for medical cannabis consultation and management. Different medical professionals can recommend and oversee medical cannabis treatments, but specialties like anesthesiology and psychiatry offer distinct advantages.

  1. Anesthesiologists: Experts in Pain and Anxiety Management

Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in pain management and administering anesthesia during medical procedures. Their extensive training equips them with a deep understanding of pain and its manifestations, making them well-suited to help patients manage chronic pain conditions with medical cannabis. They also routinely manage extreme stress and anxiety for patients undergoing surgery. This can worsen symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, and depression. So, they are well-versed in the management of these challenging situations and the pharmaceutical therapies used to help. They are uniquely qualified to assess the benefits and downsides of alternative therapies like medical marijuana,

Anesthesiologists can:

  • Accurately diagnose the source and nature of pain.
  • Accurately diagnose and manage mental health and mood issues such as anxiety and depression.
  • Develop personalized treatment plans tailored to the patient’s particular condition.
  • Monitor the patient’s response to medical cannabis and make necessary adjustments to the treatment.
  • Address concerns regarding potential side effects or interactions with other medications.
  • Ensure a safe and effective approach to pain management.
  1. Psychiatrists: Mental Health and Cannabis

Mental health conditions are often grounds for medical cannabis prescriptions. Psychiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, which frequently involve complex interactions between symptoms and medication use. They are also fully qualified medical providers who see mental health as one component of a whole patient. Pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and mood disorders often go hand-in-hand, one leading to the other in an intricate dance. They are particularly well-suited to assess the benefits of medical marijuana as they pertain to a wide array of conditions.

Psychiatrists can:

  • Accurately diagnose mental health conditions, ensuring that medical cannabis is suitable for the patient’s specific needs.
  • Monitor the patient’s mental and physical health progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.
  • Address concerns about potential side effects, especially those related to mental health.
  • Provide comprehensive mental health support in conjunction with medical cannabis treatment, if needed.
  • Minimize potential risks and complications associated with medical cannabis use in patients with mental health conditions.

Local vs. Out-of-State Providers

When seeking a medical cannabis provider, choosing a medical provider located in your state offers distinct advantages. Local providers have a deeper understanding of your state’s unique laws, regulations, and local practices, which can significantly impact your treatment plan and overall experience. They often will personally know your other healthcare providers, which helps make coordinating your care easier if needed.

Local providers can:

  • Provide insights into your state’s specific cannabis laws and regulations, ensuring your treatment complies with legal requirements.
  • Offer recommendations for local dispensaries, helping you access the most suitable products.
  • Tailor your treatment plan to local practices and preferences, optimizing your experience.
  • Understand your other healthcare resources better.

Comparing Qualifications: BBB Accreditation and Google Ratings

When evaluating healthcare providers, objectively comparing their qualifications, including BBB accreditation and Google ratings, is essential. These factors can provide valuable insights into their professionalism and reputation.

  1. BBB Accreditation

Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation is a hallmark of a healthcare provider’s commitment to ethical and professional standards. The BBB assesses and accredits businesses based on honesty, transparency, advertising truthfulness, and other standards for trustworthiness. Start by checking if a practitioner has earned BBB accreditation, signifying a commitment to ethical practices. Next, view their letter grade rating. A+ is best, while B or below indicates issues like unresolved consumer complaints. High grades reflect the proper addressing of concerns and the value of integrity. Also, consider any customer reviews on the BBB website mentioning reasonable costs, caring manner, and time spent explaining treatments. This further confirms quality care. When assessing a provider’s BBB accreditation:

  • Visit the official BBB website ( and search for the provider.
  • Check the provider’s BBB rating, typically graded on an A+ to F scale.
  • Review any customer complaints or reviews listed on the BBB website.

BBB accreditation ensures that a provider adheres to high ethical standards and is responsive to customer concerns. This can be particularly valuable when choosing a local medical cannabis provider.

  1. Google Ratings

Google ratings offer a valid, objective snapshot of a provider’s reputation. Google independently verifies these reviews and they cannot be modified, edited, or deleted by businesses. Positive reviews can highlight a provider’s expertise, compassion, and professionalism, while negative reviews may indicate issues with communication, scheduling, or the quality of care. While a single negative review may not necessarily be cause for concern, patterns of concern should be taken seriously. assess a provider’s reputation using Google ratings:

  • Search for the provider’s name on Google.
  • Review the overall rating, usually displayed as a star rating out of 5.
  • Read patient reviews to gather insights into their experiences with the provider.

Since businesses cannot alter them, Google ratings offer transparent insight into real patient experiences. Take note of:

  • Their overall rating is out of 5 stars – concerning if lower than four stars.
  • Written reviews describing interactions – should highlight attentive listening and caring manner.
  • Tone and trends of reviews overall – most should convey positive experiences.
  • Any mentioned cannabis-specific training or credentials – look for investment in continuing education.

For cannabis practitioners specifically, Google reviews can reveal responsiveness to patient needs, openness to questions, and skill in discussing benefits and risks. Select a practitioner whose patients rate them highly and enthusiastically recommend them.

Multi-State Operators

Some certification websites don’t advertise their providers specifically. Why? In the rapidly evolving cannabis industry, multi-state operators (MSOs) have become prominent players. These are cannabis companies that operate in multiple different states. They are easily recognized because they show up first in online searches thanks to their multi-million dollar advertising budgets.

Despite their enticing websites, they are not actually medical practices. Instead, they are clearing houses connecting patients to various medical providers nationwide. These companies, driven by profit, charge high fees to connect you to medical providers of unknown quality. There is no way to verify who the providers are, let alone their credentials or ratings. Their providers are of variable quality and credentials. Worse, they are incentivized to offer little advice and no follow-up, often boasting 5-minute interview increments. Stay clear of these services if you value your money and expect quality care.


Selecting the perfect cannabis medical provider is crucial for optimal health and well-being. Specialized training in anesthesiology and psychiatry can significantly enhance your experience with medical cannabis. When evaluating potential providers, BBB accreditation and Google ratings are valuable tools to help you make an informed choice.

Local providers, with their in-depth knowledge of your state’s laws, regulations, and local cannabis practices, offer a level of expertise that is tailored to your unique needs. They can provide insights into local dispensaries and state-specific cannabis laws. This will ensure your treatment aligns with local practices and regulations.

While multi-state operators (MSOs) may have a presence in the cannabis industry, local providers offer a level of understanding and expertise that is often unmatched. By selecting a reputable local provider, you can receive personalized, comprehensive care that prioritizes your well-being above all else.

Ultimately, making an informed decision about your cannabis medical provider is essential for receiving the highest level of care and achieving the best possible outcomes in your medical cannabis treatment. Whether you are managing chronic pain or addressing mental health concerns, a specialized healthcare provider with local expertise can make a significant difference in your journey toward improved health and a better quality of life.