Cannabis & ENT: State certification—An expanding yet unregulated system

William L. Valentino, Brian J. McKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: 1) Ascertain the status of cannabis legalization by state, 2) Explore the process required to obtain cannabis credentials for both the patient and the physician, 3) Determine the level of interest of otolaryngologists in the medicinal cannabis, and 4) Explore possible research directions into efficacy and potential complications. Study design: Descriptive study. Methods: Internet searches were conducted to identify each state's Medical Cannabis Program website. The qualifying conditions, list of approved-practitioners, process required for both practitioners and patients for approval were noted. Lists of approved practitioners were analyzed to determine the prevalence of board-certified otolaryngologists. Results: Of the 33 states that authorize medicinal cannabis, eight provide lists of approved-practitioners, six of which provide specialty information. A total of 24 Otolaryngologists can be found of the 5944 physicians on these six lists. All otolaryngologists were located in highly-populated metropolitan areas with a mean number of 29.9 years in practice. Significant variations exist between each state including legal definitions and qualifying conditions. Conclusions: Lack of consistent regulation across the country drives uncertainty regarding the adoption of medicinal cannabis. Very few otolaryngologists in the country are registered to certify patients for medical cannabis. While the medicinal use of cannabis may currently have limited applications within otolaryngology, many areas that have yet to be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102459
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Approval process
  • Cannabis
  • Certification
  • Qualifying conditions
  • State laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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