Useful information for physicians.

Medical marijuana is a viable, healthy alternative to many traditional pharmaceutical drugs, with fewer, if any, side effects. It is legal and easy for physicians to recommend medical marijuana for their patients. For your reference, the following questions and answers are provided per the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Guidance for Physicians Regarding the Medical Use of Marijuana. You can also access the complete document.

Who is eligible to become a certifying physician?

A certifying physician must be a Massachusetts-licensed physician (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy), who holds an active full license with no prescribing restrictions, a Massachusetts Controlled Substances Registration (MCSR), and has at least one established place of practice in Massachusetts. 

Are physicians required to take Continuing Medical Education before issuing written certifications for the medical use of marijuana?

Yes, physicians must have completed Continuing Medical Education (CME)  credits prior to issuing certifications for the medical use of marijuana. The continuing education program must explain the proper use of marijuana, including side effects, dosage, and contraindications, including with psychotropic drugs, as well as on substance abuse recognition, diagnosis, and treatment related to marijuana. DPH will conduct random audits for compliance. For more CME information go to:

How can I register as a certifying physician?

In order to issue a certification to a qualifying patient, a physician must register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program via the Medical Use of Marijuana Online System (“MMJ Online System”). To learn how to register, please read the document titled “Physician Step-by-Step Registration Information” located at the following link:

Who is eligible to become a qualifying patient?

Any patient whose physician believes they can be helped with medical marijuana.


What is a certification?

A certification is an electronic document completed and signed by the certifying physician in the MMJ Online System, which states that in the physician’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the patient. The certification must specify the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition and must indicate the time period for which the certification is valid (not less than 15 calendar days, and not longer than one year).

Can I certify anyone who walks into my office?

A physician must review the patient’s medical history, assess their current medical condition and conduct a physical exam as well as discuss the potential risks and benefits of medical marijuana use, and has a role in the patient’s ongoing care and treatment.