From O’Shaughnessy’s Spring 2004

Drs. Jeff Hergenrather, Tod Mikuriya and Frank Lucido of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group have developed a questionnaire for patients that elicits extensive information about cannabis use. 

The three physicians have submitted an abstract to the International Cannabinoid Research Society and hope to make a presentation at the ICRS meeting to be held this summer in Naples, Italy. 

Here is the abstract, as drafted by Hergenrather. [“ICD” stands for “International Classification of Disease.”]

Pre-1937 citations in the medical literature for cannabis treated conditions include 28 codeable diagnoses among them chronic pain, neurodegenerative diseases, seizure disorders, mental disorders, drug and alcohol dependence, cerebral palsy, migraine, colitis, gastritis, premenstrual syndrome, arthritis, (rheumatoid, degenerative and post-traumatic), nausea, anorexia and insomnia.      Since 1996 these earlier cited conditions and more than 100 other ICD-9 codeable conditions have been encountered by California physicians in the evaluations of patients presenting for medicinal cannabis use. There are >30,000 patients followed by the physician members of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group, CCRMG.  It has been the resolve of this group to develop a comprehensive health history questionnaire and data entry program to build a research database, further knowledge of cannabis therapeutics, and identify a patient population for future approved cannabis research.

Health history forms were collected from physicians who are evaluating patients with serious medical conditions for cannabis use. Information from 10 physicians’ intake forms were collated and edited into the present document, The Health History Questionnaire (HHQ).

It was then circulated among the contributing physicians for further discussion. A few considered the form to be excessively long and more subject to inaccurate responses. For other physicians the form was fully adopted or used to modify their existing documents. Subsequently, a data entry program was designed to mirror the HHQ content and assign an identity to each question to facilitate future modifications in the questionnaire. The HHQ and data entry software are now available for those who wish to use them.

Because there is no requirement in California to report cannabis-approved patients, it is impossible to accurately determine the numbers of physicians and patients involved in this form of therapy.  At this time it has been estimated that 4,000 physicians have approved the use of cannabis to at least 60,000 patients in in the state. Fewer than 20 physicians, willing to be publicly identified as cannabis consultants, have approved about half of these patients.

Physician education remains the principle deficiency in fostering a more broad-based involvement in the medical community.  Use of the HHQ and data entry software and subsequent voluntary sharing of information will create a database that will help to educate physicians in cannabis therapeutics and advance cannabinoid research.