Area doctor has passion for medical marijuana

Updated 5 hours ago

If you ask Dr. John Metcalf a question about medical marijuana, buckle in—you’re in for a 100 mile-a-minute ride with dips and turns that might leave your head spinning.

But the 67-year-old, recently retired physician turned medical marijuana doctor doesn’t mean to confuse.

“I’m just passionate about this stuff,” he said recently in a dimly lit rented space in a Monroeville chiropractic office as he waited for his first of 10 patients of the day.

“When I first started certifying patients, I would give them a speech about it, and half way in, you could see their eyes sorta glaze over,” Metcalf said, laughing. “Now, I just try to go over the highlights and then allow them to ask questions.”

Metcalf, who retired in January 2017 after a nearly 30-year career in primary care, urgent care and occupational medicine, certifies patients as eligible for the purchase of medical marijuana. He personifies the eagerness of a nascent industry to expand.

According to the state Department of Health, 433 of the state’s 58,000 physicians as of March had undergone the required four-hour training to become medical marijuana doctors. Now, 716 physicians have done so. Certified doctors verify that patients meet the eligibility requirements to use medical marijuana, a step required by the state to get a medical marijuana card.

For Metcalf, the process involves verifying a patient’s identification by looking at a driver’s license or other form of government-issued ID. He reviews the patient’s medical history to verify the patient has one or more of the 21 qualifying medical conditions, which include Lou Gehrig’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, autism, cancer and PTSD.

He also reviews the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which reveals a patient’s prescription drug history.

“Then I let them ask questions and I give them

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