Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if I qualify for medical cannabis?

The state has an informative website that lists the “serious medical conditions” for which medical cannabis in Pennsylvania is an approved treatment, as well as much other useful information. You should check out their website.

I see that you practice family medicine with Handelsman Family Practice. Can I see you for medical cannabis there?

PGHMMJ is unaffiliated with Handelsman Family Practice (HFP). I will continue to see primary care patients with HFP, where most insurances are accepted, but I will only be issuing medical cannabis certifications through PGHMMJ, where insurance is not accepted. While my partners and I at Handelsman Family Practice welcome new patients, becoming a primary care patient with HFP will not be a way to secure a medical cannabis certification that is covered by health insurance.

What medical documentation do I need to gather before my medical cannabis consultation?

We will need copies of official documentation from a physician who has been treating you for your qualifying “serious medical condition” under Pennsylvania law. While we do not need your entire medical record, we do need documentation that clearly states the diagnosis of your “serious medical condition”. If your “serious medical condition” is “severe chronic or intractable pain”, then it will be most helpful if your documentation also includes at least some of the conventional therapies that you have previously tried. Appropriate types of documentation include progress notes, consult notes, and letters from physicians on official letterhead. If you received your relevant medical care at a UPMC or Allegheny Health Network facility, we do have access to their electronic medical record systems.

You can fax your documentation to us at 412 345 3791 or mail it to us at the following address:

PGH MMJ 5877 Commerce St., #103 Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Why do you keep saying “cannabis” instead of “marijuana”?

The short answer is that “cannabis” is the more proper term despite the widespread use of the term “marijuana”. Do yourself a favor and read here to better understand the important cultural distinction.

Why should I choose PGHMMJ for my medical cannabis certification?

Let’s be honest: You can get a medical cannabis certification from any approved physician. Some may charge a little lower fees, others a little higher. My long-term patients from my family medicine practice would tell you that I’m straight-shooting and empathetic with a wicked sense of humor, and I’m genuinely interested in my patients’ lives and struggles. That’s my style. What I love the most about being a family physician is that I get to build meaningful long-term relationships with my patients, and I bring the same approach to my medical cannabis practice. Unlike many physicians who can certify you for medical cannabis, I have a deep appreciation for and understanding of cannabis and its therapeutic applications.