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How I Became a Cannabis Prescribing Physician

Presenter: Dr. Laurie Vollen

On March 19th, Dr. Vollen shared the story of how she became a Cannabis prescribing physician and why she is happy (and grateful) to be one. She also answered our many questions.

Dr. Laurie Vollen is a conventionally trained physician whose clinical practice is now exclusively devoted to medicinal Cannabis. When she began her career in medicine in the 1980s, she never imagined that she would become a Cannabis prescribing physician, much less devote half of her clinical career to helping patients harness the medicinal properties of Cannabis. But now she is sure glad she did. 


We strongly encourage you to watch Lola’s presentation on the ABCs of Medicinal Cannabis, which she gave to a community organization supporting healthy aging at home before or after hearing her story. 

Click here to view the recording of this Virtually Verdant presentation.

Biographical Sketch 

Laurie Vollen, MD, MPH, is a Board Certified, Berkeley, California-based, practicing physician specializing in Medicinal Cannabis. Since 2000, she has helped thousands of patients relieve a number of symptoms, including pain, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and cancer-related problems like nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, by harnessing the medicinal properties of Cannabis. 

She started her education at Wellesley, went on exchange to Wesleyan, and transferred to Princeton. (In hindsight, she wishes she had stayed at Wellesley. Once a ‘77, always a ‘77!) A graduate of Princeton University, she obtained her medical degree from the University of Illinois, completed her residency at Northwestern University and the University of California, San Diego, obtained a Master’s in Public Health at San Diego State University, and completed a fellowship in University Health Care at University of California, San Diego. She is a Board Certified specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health. 

After ten years in primary health care, culminating in the Directorship of Arizona State University’s Health Services, Dr. Vollen worked in the former Yugoslavia, developing the mass grave exhumation and identification program that continues to this day. She returned to the U.S. as a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley in 2000, started the Life After Exoneration Program to help the wrongfully convicted after they were exonerated, co-founded the Voice of Witness book series with Dave Eggers, and worked as a primary care physician. She is the founder of Naturally Healing MD ( where she assists patients in harnessing the medicinal properties of Cannabis through education, sound scientific advice, comprehensive treatment plans, and practical facilitation.