You’ve been certified as a medical cannabis patient by a registered specialist and now you’re ready to give your new treatment a try. From this point forward, your own physician may be your preferred go-to for other prescriptions and advice. But in a world still warming up to the medical benefits of cannabis, how do you approach this subject? What if your doctor is against medical cannabis? Will you need to find a new one? Should you ask your doctor, whom you may have visited for many years, to refer you to someone else?
Telling your physician about your alternative treatment can be intimidating. When the idea is met with opposition, it can be even worse. These are important questions to which you’ll need answers.
First, it’s important to understand why your doctor may be hesitant to prescribe cannabis. He or she may be concerned about the potential for cannabis dependence or misuse, uncertain about the law, or doubt whether you have a genuine need, for example. Of course, much of this concern is based on misconception, which brings us to our first tip.
While it’s fair to say physicians are now more open to cannabis than ever before, the majority still lack knowledge of cannabis’s medical value. The topic isn’t necessarily covered extensively in medical school, so your doctor may be one of many who has not yet educated themselves on its safety and efficacy. If so, they likely haven’t yet considered how cannabis could be specifically beneficial to you.
If you have your med card, you’ve probably done plenty of your own research or discussed how cannabis will treat your condition with a specialist. It may help to take an assertive approach and explain to your doctor how you think it will help.
2.) Know the Law
Medicinal cannabis has been legal in Massachusetts since 2012. Not only have many other patients benefited from the substance since then, but thousands of clinical studies have supported scientific evidence of its medical properties.
While your doctor may have reservations because of the illicit ways cannabis used to be obtained, the process – including quality control, safe cultivation, and patient education about dosira and side effects – is now regulated by the state.
3.) Be Detailed
The combined effects of cannabis and pharmaceutical drugs can be dangerous. At the very least, sharing as much as you can about your cannabis use can give your doctor peace of mind that your other treatments don’t conflict. They will need to know your consumption method(s), dosiras, progression of symptoms, and preferred strains (high-THC or high-CBD). If your cannabis products contain any additives, this will be pertinent, too.
4.) Know When to Go
After trying all the above, your doctor still might not be convinced. Worst-case scenario: if you cannot find common ground about your medical cannabis treatment, it may be time to move on to or get a second opinion from a doctor who is more experienced in this field.
Moving on or getting a second opinion may take a little more research on your part. Appointment rates vary, and some cannabis doctors offer free consultations while others don’t. Take a look at this list of registered healthcare providers in your area, do some digging on each clinic’s familiarity with cannabis treatment for your condition, and start a conversation with an experienced professional. By talking to someone more understanding of your situation, you’ll be better equipped to experience the positive effects of cannabis.