Medical Cannabidiol Information for Healthcare Practitioners 

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

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 Cannabidiol*

Prior to a patient’s submission of an application for a medical cannabidiol 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 cannabidiol 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 cannabidiol 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 cannabidiol 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 cannabidiol 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.

Health Care 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 cannabidiol.

Healthcare Practitioner FAQ Document

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

Educational Resources for Healthcare Practitioners

The following document was created by the Minnesota Department of Health. It is a summary of clinical trials and prospective observational studies in humans, published in peer-reviewed journals and focuses on medical cannabidiol formulations consistent with Iowa's medical cannabidiol program. Physicians looking for guidance on dose for a given qualifying condition may find it helpful.

The following document was created by Health Canada as an educational document for healthcare practitioners. It contains information on the endocannabinoid system, clinical pharmacology, dosing, potential therapeutic uses (by condition), precautions, warnings, adverse side effects and overdose/toxicity information.

The following document is a report of patient and physician experiences during the first year of Minnesota's medical cannabis program. It was done between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, with 1,660 enrolled patients and 577 physicians. While Iowa and Minnesota's programs are not identical, this survey and summary document may give patients and physicians an idea of what to expect.

Treatment for pain or untreatable pain is the the most certified condition for medical cannabidiol in Iowa. Minnesota has also done research and surveys with their patient population on this specific condition. For more information on patient outcomes and experiences with this condition, please see the following document:

Iowa Online Continuing Medical Education (CME) Opportunities

  • Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act Implementation - Owen Parker, MPH - Program Manager, Office of Medical Cannabidiol
    • The link above will take you to a webinar of a CME hosted by Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine on October 19, 2018. The cost for this online activity is $15 and is approximately 45 minutes. You must log-in or create an account before enrolling in this educational activity.
    • CME Objectives:
      • Review the medical cannabidiol law as it pertains to physicians, including: stakeholder definitions, roles, responsibilities and protections.
      • Identify the types of educational materials that the Department is providing to physicians about medical cannabidiol, including research and CME opportunities.
      • Review the compliance infrastructure of the medical cannabidiol program, as well as form and quantities of products allowed.

Additional Online CME Opportunities

  • The Medical Cannabis Institute
    • The Medical Cannabis Institute is the nation's leading online provider of ACCME and ANCC-certified medical education for the clinical application of medical cannabis. Our science-based courses help healthcare professionals deliver quality care and address patient questions. 
  • Cannabis Expertise
    • Cannabis Expertise offers live on-site medical cannabis programs and live webinar sessions - offering participants the opportunity to ask questions of the faculty.

Have a question? Contact us using this link, or call us at 515-725-2076