Sona Patel (born June 10, 1976) is a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), also known as "DOC420." Patel has been a licensed and board-certified physician in California since 2004. In 2005, she started DOC420, a pioneering practice that recommends medical cannabis (or medical marijuana) as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. She is a licensed and board-certified physician in the state of California who recommends medical marijuana under California Proposition 215 (1996) (or the Compassionate Use Act).
Early life and education
Patel, an Indian American, was raised along with her younger sister, Mona Patel, in Paramount, California. Her parents, Chandulal K. Patel, a chemical engineer, and Shobhna C. Patel, a homemaker, strived to provide their children with education and strong core values. Patel's modest and financially trying upbringing became her inspiration to succeed.
Patel's passion for Indian classical dance and modelling set the stage for her to win more than 20 talent and dance competition awards. Her modelling career reached a climax in 1994, when she was awarded Model Search India's title of Super Model India, as well as Miss Photogenic. With her newfound Bollywood popularity, Patel became actively involved in the Indian community to raise awareness for charities, giving birth to her philanthropic side.
She graduated from Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills, California in 1994. In 1998, Patel earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from University of California, Irvine. She then entered medical school at Ross University School of Medicine in the island nation of Dominica, where she earned a medical doctorate (M.D.) degree in 2002.
Upon earning her M.D., Patel continued her education with post-doctoral training at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, a teaching hospital in Moreno Valley, California. During her residency, Patel also taught physician's-assistant courses as an adjunct faculty member at Riverside City College in Riverside, California.
In 2005, Patel was certified as a licensed family-practice physician by the Medical Board of California. She started a free clinic in Los Angeles, California in 2005, gaining funding by the United States Armed Forces and the government of California. Patel's free clinic offered physical examinations, vaccines, birth control, emergency contraception, STD tests, and health screenings regardless of age, income, race, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status or health insurance. Patel also provided meals every weekend to underserved communities.
Medical Marijuana Practice
Given the constant controversy around the subject of marijuana, Patel was hesitant to get involved in the medical marijuana revolution. Having witnessed a few of her family-practice patients' success with medical marijuana treatment, she began researching the different uses and benefits of marijuana. After finding that patients often got greater relief from marijuana than from prescription drugs, and reported no side effects, she incorporated medical marijuana into her practice in 2005.
She tells CNN, "I strictly follow all of the laws ..." She has also become known for aggressively defending her patients, often going to court to vindicate patients wrongly accused of crimes and serving as an expert witness. For additional assistance in legal matters, Patel consults with her sister, Mona Patel, an attorney known as "Lady Justice." Patel is currently opening new offices in California, with aspirations to operate nationwide. She urges for reform in states that do not offer medical marijuana as an alternative medicine option.
Along with her medical marijuana practice, Patel is active in real estate, start-up investments, and is currently producing a line of cosmetics and clothing derived from hemp. Patel is also author of A Comprehensive Guide to Medical Marijuana, a book that further outlines the history of medical marijuana as well as her turbulent entry and struggles within the industry.
Patel is married to Brett Talbot, a screen writer. They were married in 2014 in a Hindu wedding ceremony. They live in Los Angeles, California and have no children.