Receiving a medical marijuana recommendation from Dr. Frank Lucido is a far-flung departure from the more common and less costly recommendations acquired through coupons clipped off back pages of the local alternative weekly. Lucido, a general practitioner since 1979, has recommended medical marijuana in Berkeley, California since the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996. While other medical marijuana recommendations can be acquired via Skype video conference or seedy strip-mall office visits, Lucido requires relevant medical records and includes a physical examination in each evaluation.
A medical marijuana patient checks in at Dr. Lucido’s office. The family practice was a former dentist’s office in the 1940s and has not been remodeled since that time.
Receptionist Suzann Kowalski works in the office reception area to intake patients. She says the office sees about 10 patients per day with 75 percent of patients for medical cannabis evaluations and 25 percent for primary care. Patients often bring their family and friends with them to the evaluation. “You even get the elderly bringing their kids,” she says.
Medical assistant Matthew Partori checks a patient’s blood pressure during an intake evaluation at Dr. Lucido’s practice. Instead of working with health insurance companies the office charges patients on a pricing scale.
A patient readies to fill out the paperwork required for a visit to Dr. Lucido’s practice. Unlike traditional medical questionnaires, these forms include questions about cannabis use such as the preferred method of intake, use patterns and how cannabis affects the symptoms of the medical condition for which the patient is seeking a recommendation.
Dr. Lucido looks over a patient’s medical records in preparation for an exam. While most California physicians aren’t open about issuing recommendations for medical marijuana Lucido says, “I’m sure a lot of doctors are doing it for a few of their patients.”
The shelves in Dr. Lucido’s office display cannabis ephemera alongside more traditional medical textbooks.
Dr. Lucido works in his Berkeley office. “My goal is also to continue the work we have begun towards normalizing medical cannabis practice,” he states on his website. “I would like to see more primary care physicians (and treating specialists) give safe and appropriate recommendations for medical cannabis, since they know the patient best, and have the best documentation of the serious illness for which they have been following the patient. But until medical cannabis and its safety become more widely known to the primary care and specialist community, there will be a need for medical cannabis consulting physicians as a specialty, to fill the compassionate need of many sick patients.”
One of the examination rooms at Dr. Lucido’s medical practice. Lucido also works with nurse practitioner Maria Mangini PhD, FNP. Mangini completed her doctorate in Community Health Nursing at the University of California San Francisco, where her research centered on drug use and drug policy.
Dr. Lucido performs an evaluation on a medical marijuana patient. Lucido said he ensures that his patients continue to see a doctor for the condition they are looking to treat with medical marijuana. This stands as corroborating evidence of their need for medical cannabis in a court of law.
Informational pamphlets at Dr. Lucido’s office provide information on the medical benefits of CBD. Lucido often provides his patients with dosing information for THC and CBD in regards to their body weight.
Dr. Lucido’s practice is located in an office within this 1940s building located on Durant Avenue in Berkeley, California.