ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Although medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, many hospitals are still grappling with whether or not their physicians should certify patients for its use.
Some have an outright ban while others allow it with some patients.
People who use medical marijuana swear by its effects, and critics claim it has no medicinal benefits.
The two sides put hospitals in the middle.
Dr. Alexander Garza is the Chief Medical Officer for SSM Health. It allows certification for some patients.
“I think we landed in a real good spot with our policy,” Garza said. “They have to have a bonafide and genuine patient/physician relationship.”
Garza said patients would need to go to their doctor with a medical problem that meets certain criteria and show they’ve exhausted all other traditional means to take care of the problem to be prescribed medical marijuana.
While some patients may be certified, Mercy Hospital said, in part, it doesn't recommend medical marijuana because there is "insufficient medical and scientific research on the benefits and risks" of cannabis products.
BJC Healthcare in St. Louis said they are still crafting a policy.
An attorney for the Missouri Hospital Association said hospitals here are dealing with the same issues as those in other states where medical marijuana has been approved.
One primary concern from physicians is that there hasn't been enough study.
Jane drummond/missouri hospital association
“There really hasn't been any research and physicians are driven by data and science and clinic trials,” Jane Drummond, with Missouri Hospital Association, said. “And there's really no other substance that they are asked to recommend to patients that has this little solid scientific research behind it, so I think a lot of physicians are skeptical.”
Drummond said because it is illegal at the federal level, technically allowing hospital employees to recommend it to patients could run afoul of federal healthcare laws. That's why hospitals right now are skittish about the issue.