Discussing medical cannabis with your doctor can be initially intimidating, but the stigma attached to the plant and its cannabinoids is on its way out. Talking with your physician about the possibility of incorporating cannabis into your treatment regimen is acceptable and legal. Honest conversations between you and your doctor are crucial for you to get the best medical treatment plan.
Here are some helpful hints to guide you as you discuss the possibility of medical cannabis treatments with your doctor:
Talk with Your Primary Care Physician First
Considering you likely have an established trustworthy relationship with your primary care physician, she or he is typically the best person to first consult about cannabinoids. Your doctor has the best understanding of your medical history and current health challenges. By sharing your interest in trying medical cannabis, you’ll ensure that you receive better overall health care and reduce the risk of drug interactions if you’re taking other medications.
If your primary physician is unwilling to issue a recommendation for medical cannabis, you can choose to visit a doctor who specializes in cannabinoid treatments. Ask your doctor if she or he could refer another physician they trust and is willing to recommend medical cannabis.
If you need help finding a cannabis-friendly medical professional, you can learn more about how to do so here.
Know Your State’s Cannabinoid Laws Ahead of Time
Cannabinoid laws vary significantly state-by-state. While a majority of US states now have comprehensive medical cannabis programs, the diseases, conditions and symptoms for which cannabinoids can be prescribed vary.
Before making an appointment with your doctor, look up the medical cannabis laws for your state. Check to see whether your state allows full-strength medical cannabis, if it’s adopted limited access cannabis product laws, or if all medical cannabis is illegal.
If you find your state hasn’t legalized medical cannabis, you may be able to still get access to CBD hemp oil, which is legal under federal law. While individual state laws are dynamic and individual states may govern hemp-derived CBD, in most cases CBD hemp oil is legally available.
Your doctor may not be familiar with your state’s medical cannabis laws, so it’s a good idea to bring relevant forms or website links that explain your state’s program to your appointment.
Be Prepared with Medical Records and Cannabis Research
If you’re visiting a cannabis-friendly physician for the first time, be sure to be prepared by bringing your medical records of diagnosis and treatment from your primary physician. Be ready to tell the doctor specifically what condition, symptoms or disease you want to have treated with medicinal cannabis. Before your appointment, make note of how long you’ve had the health problem and information on any other treatment methods you’ve tried. Have a response ready for why you think cannabinoids could be a beneficial solution for you. If you’ve already tried cannabis and were happy with the results, be honest and share your experience.
While more and more doctors have a greater understanding of cannabis’ therapeutic properties and are willing to recommend cannabis to their patients, there’s a chance your doctor may be unfamiliar or up-to-date with the latest research. Have you discovered research studies to support your request for trying cannabinoids? Bring documentation supporting cannabinoids’ benefits for your particular condition or symptom to help your physician feel comfortable that she or he is making evidence-based decisions. You can learn more about what research has so far discovered about the healing properties of cannabinoids here.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
An honest conversation with your physician about the benefits and risks of medical cannabis can make both of you more comfortable with making the decision to try cannabis. Many patients are hesitant to ask their doctor questions, fearing that doing so is disrespectful. You both want to make informed decisions, so don’t be afraid to ask straightforward and candid questions.
Here are some suggested questions to help get the conversation with your doctor started:
- What do you know about cannabis’ effects on my particular ailment? Does cannabis seem like a beneficial option for my condition?
- Do you recommend a particular cannabis consumption method?
- What are the potential side effects of cannabinoids? How do I stay safe?
- Will medical cannabis interact with the other medications I am taking?