With medical marijuana legislation on the books in states throughout the U.S., the need for services that connect patients with doctors and cannabis products has become apparent. Web services like Nugg and Presto Doctor assist prospective patients obtain their medical marijuana card via online video consultations with local doctors. Others, like the San Francisco startup Eaze, go a step further by also providing home delivery services and an extensive cannabis marketplace. The market isn’t too saturated, though – at least not yet.

The newest shake-up in the online medical marijuana community comes from HelloMD, one of the nation's largest virtual community of medical cannabis patients, doctors, as well as brands. Like Eaze, HelloMD offers doctor consultations and a cannabis marketplace that allows users to sort through various cannabis products available at local dispensaries. What sets HelloMD apart from the competition, and what they hope can bring a large chunk of industry market share, is a social aspect that they’ve made a focal point of their platform.

The company’s newfound identity includes a wide range of community-based features and informative content. HelloMD’s website is chock-full of in-depth articles and educational videos, and even a Q&A section where medical professionals answer a variety of user-submitted questions. When it launched two years ago, the online platform was incredibly similar to Presto Doctor and Nugg, but with competition comes innovation, and HelloMD now sees value in creating a community around their medical cannabis service.

Currently, HelloMD has over 130,000 members with an additional 9,000 patients and doctors joining up every month. Although the company is based in California, they see serious market potential in smaller states with medical marijuana legislation, where difficulty finding an appropriate doctor makes life unnecessarily hard for MMJ patients.

Outside of providing their community with content and valuable information, the platform is also taking on Eaze with their own medical cannabis marketplace. Aside from an extensive list of products, HelloMD also showcases local deals and a directory of cannabis companies sorted by location.    

Still, Eaze has HelloMD beat on a couple of fronts, with medical marijuana cards for $29 instead of $49, and one of the nation’s best home delivery services for patients. But if things go according to plan, HelloMD could soon overtake a larger portion of the market. The company started a crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest and in one week HelloMD has already raised over $75,000 of their $1.5 million goal.

HelloMD clearly sees an opportunity in combining medical services with a close-knit online community and informative content, and while the website eventually intends to capitalize on recreational marijuana, the company is banking on the medical marijuana industry to propel them forward.