At around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I went to a website called CannabisMD on my phone, filled out my street address into a form and snapped a photo of my California state driver’s license.
About 5 to 10 minutes later, I got a text saying that a doctor was on their way. I hopped on my bike and headed southwest on Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, and found Dr. Daniel Price on my doorstep.
Normally, Price is an emergency room doctor at Alameda County’s biggest public hospital, Highland General. But he also has been doing patient evaluations for medical marijuana for the last several months. After suffering some chronic pain from a former life as a gymnast, he sought out training at Oakland’s cannabis-centric educational center, Oaksterdam University.
That’s how he got paired with David Hua, who founded a Y Combinator-backed Uber-for-medical-marijuana-delivery startup called Meadow. They’ve formed a new program called CannabisMD, that will deploy a doctor straight to your door for medical marijuana prescriptions. It’s branded and run separately from Meadow partially because you can’t recommend certain dispensaries over other under current law.
CannabisMD costs about $100 per visit or $50 for renewals. Right now, it’s scheduled. But Y Combinator-backed Meadow aims to do on-demand visits not long from now.
Hua says that one bottleneck in the medicinal marijuana business is whether patients are legally able to buy the plant. Last year, the medical marijuana industry pulled in $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion the previous year. Y Combinator and other investors like Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund are dumping venture money into marijuana startups as state laws across the United States ease. Hua hasn’t raised money from anyone else other than being accepted into the standard Y Combinator program.
“We want to make sure that the doctors we on-board are really well-versed in cannabis,” Hua said. “One person might want to use it for stress while another is experiencing depression, anxiety or even nerve pain. That would require different dosages, edibles or tinctures.”
The process is pretty quick. Price, or “Dr. Dan” ran through a number of questions around use cases I might have. He said that patients in San Francisco often request medicinal marijuana to treat chronic pain, anxiety, stress or sleep disorders. He walked through a number of varietals that might be best for each situation.
He said that varieties that are rich in Cannabidiol, or CBD, have a wider range of medical applications and mitigate some of the fogginess or paranoia that can be associated with other strains of marijuana that are heavier in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the cannabinoid that produces the feeling of being “high.”
He also did a basic non-invasive physical that involved an eye exam and a pulse check, and asked about conditions that I might have that could make marijuana use riskier like PTSD or Alzheimer’s. Then he took my picture and now I’ll get back a digital recommendation letter.
Because doctors have done house calls for decades, there is a basis for these on-demand home visits. In fact, San Francisco-based Doctor on Demand closed a more than $20 million Series A round last fall, so there are companies that are validating the market from a legal and consumer perspective. Doctor on Demand, however, is generalist and isn’t focused on the medical marijuana market.
But CannabisMD will do it. So yes, the modern mobile Internet will deploy a doctor straight to your door to do medical marijuana evaluations on demand.
These things are now possible.