It’s been a year since the U.S. Department of Justice announced its intent to reschedule marijuana to Schedule II, which would end the longstanding federal prohibition on medical cannabis. Washington and Colorado have started recreational cannabis sales through the state-licensed system, but there is a lot of back-end work still to do in terms of research, education, and patient engagement.

As medical cannabis continues to become a mainstream industry, patients around the world are increasingly relying on telehealth systems to diagnose and treat their chronic conditions, like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. The PrestoDoctor telehealth system is a solution that fits into this paradigm, offering patients the opportunity to be monitored remotely and provided with the same quality of medicine as they would have obtained in their local physician’s office.

There are currently 2 major medical cannabis telehealth services in the market. The first, Cannavest, was launched back in 2016. They claim to be inexpensive, have an excellent customer retention rate, and have over 2,000 registered users. However, once you get past the telehealth part of their service, the rest is very basic. You can order only one product at a time with Cannavest, and you can only view and purchase from the Cannavest website.

Rob Tankson. Photo courtesy of PrestoDoctor.

Today, almost all meetings and discussions seem to take place virtually.

While the convenience of platforms like Zoom has changed everything from education to healthcare since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that this wasn’t always the case.

This is especially true for patients who use medicinal cannabis.

For Rob Tanson, a former Wall Street analyst who switched to the technology sector, secure access has always been a key issue.

In 2015, the serial entrepreneur and angel investor realized there was a real need for a reliable way for doctors to evaluate potential medical marijuana patients and approve state-issued program cards.

At the time, Tanson was living in San Francisco, California.

Medical cannabis has been legal in the state for nearly two decades, but the barriers to entry are enormous.

It can be challenging to find a qualified service provider willing to certify people, and for people with disabilities it can be even more difficult to get on an appointment.

Medical records have surfaced with recommendations that contain little or no information or patient education.

Tancon turned to his colleague Kyle Powers of the burgeoning technology company ClearSlide to talk about the need to address the problem in the burgeoning medical cannabis industry.

They decided to create a new company with the sole purpose of providing patients with the tools they need to begin their journey with herbs.

Thus was born PrestoDoctor, one of the first comprehensive telemedicine services for medical marijuana patients.

We came together to launch PrestoDoctor because we saw that the medical cannabis recommendation process was broken, Tankson told Cannabis & Tech Today.

These include a lack of price transparency, professionalism, and knowledge of cannabis in medical marijuana trials in the California market.

Compassion and trust above all

Since its inception, PrestoDoctor has connected more than 175,000 medical cannabis cardholders with compassionate, licensed physicians across the United States by offering quick and easy virtual private consultations.

The company currently operates in eight states and prides itself on putting the needs of patients first and ensuring that every medical professional it works with understands the unique needs of medical marijuana users.

The platform not only connects patients with friendly and experienced medical professionals in a simple and cost-effective way.

They also offer personalized product recommendations and dosage information, as well as exclusive offers for local pharmacies.

The aim of the company is to become a one-stop shop for those who need a reliable and trustworthy introduction to the market.

We are the only service that offers an individualized cannabis treatment plan with every appointment, says Tanson. We carefully select all of our doctors to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge of the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant and how it interacts with other medications.

The pandemic has led to the use of telemedicine

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated PrestoDoctor’s expansion plans as staying home has become the new normal.

For better or worse, many legal markets that used to require home visits have adapted their laws to the changing times.

Our plan has changed dramatically since the pandemic, says Tanson. Previously, we were able to work in fewer than 20 states because in most states, telemedicine laws required that the doctor-patient relationship be established in person. Many states have passed emergency legislation to update this position, so we can now extend it to almost 40 states. About 90% of cannabis card studies are non-invasive, so telemedicine is an excellent solution.

Tankon added that the opportunity for accelerated growth will help PrestoDoctor continue its mission and prepare for the future of the evolving alternative wellness space.

The company, owned by Cannabis Sativa Inc. (OTCQB: CBDS) in August 2017 at a valuation of $9 million and plans to enter four more markets this year alone.

We want to improve patient access to cannabis and knowledge about cannabis by becoming a household name across the country and eventually the world. For now, we are starting with a focus on telemedicine, but plan to expand and offer evaluations of other types of herbal medicine as soon as legislation allows.

Representation is everything.

Educating the public about the possibilities of cannabis is an important part of PrestoDoctor’s mission.

Tanson, who grew up as a person of color outside of Chicago when legalization was still a dream, understands how difficult it is to break through the fear and stigma surrounding medicinal cannabis, especially for minorities who have historically been the hardest hit by the so-called war on drugs.

He often recounts how a few years ago he was hesitant to tell his mother about his intention to use cannabis and was surprised by her reaction: She had already studied the medicinal properties of the plant and gladly supported her son’s new vocation.

This result, combined with the rave reviews from those in his community, encouraged Tanson to continue.

Representation is everything. When I first started in the industry, I didn’t like public speaking, but after I did it a few times, young black people and their peers came up to me with enthusiasm. They expressed their gratitude that someone like her was working in the industry, and it was inspiring.

I feel an added responsibility, which I do, to be a role model for other young entrepreneurs, he continued. I want them to see that there are PoCs out there who are starting and running successful cannabis businesses and inspiring others to start as well, prove themselves and share their knowledge.

Tancon added that while improving access is PrestoDoctor’s main mission, the company also aims to steer the proverbial ship towards legitimacy, inclusion and acceptance.

Our goal is to change the perception of cannabis and help end the negative stigma. The goal is to make cannabis the first option, not the last. This will come with education and rehabilitation. On a personal level, I strive to prove myself and help others who are facing the same challenges as I am. I am an angel investor in two minority-owned startups and plan to make more strategic investments in the future.A groundbreaking new telehealth service called PrestoDoctor, which is focused on cannabis patients, has just launched. PrestoDoctor is a telehealth service that provides a comprehensive medical cannabis evaluation, consultation, and treatment plans. Through this service, patients can access online, telephone, or in-person consultations for guidance on how to use cannabis safely and effectively.. Read more about presto health and let us know what you think.

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