How Do You Bring up Medical Marijuana to Your Doctor?

Posted January 27, 2023 by in Health + Fitness

Medical marijuana is, at present, a relatively new subject for medical researchers, largely because its legal status for both medical and recreational use varies widely between different jurisdictions. Criminalization in certain parts of the world can significantly impede medical cannabis research and prescription. Long-standing myths and social stigmas around marijuana may also make it difficult even for patients interested in using cannabis therapeutically to broach the subject with their doctors.

If you’re interested in possibly using marijuana for medical purposes but hesitate to bring it up with your doctor, you’re not alone. Many medical marijuana patients still experience some fear of being labeled “stoners,” despite mounting acceptance of medical cannabis in recent years. Because medical cannabis research is also still in its infancy, most practicing doctors may not be familiar with it or how to integrate it into a patient’s treatment program. 

While it may be difficult or uncomfortable at first to talk about medical cannabis with your doctor, it’s a necessary conversation to have if you think that using the herb might help improve your overall well-being. And you’ll definitely want some professional advice backing you up before you schedule your first weed delivery. Here are a few helpful tips for talking to your doctor productively about medical marijuana:

Be Upfront

Many patients worry that they’re doing something wrong or even illegal by talking to their doctors about marijuana, but this is not the case. For one thing, communication between patients and healthcare providers is strictly confidential. This means that you can and should feel comfortable telling your doctor if you’ve used cannabis before, are currently using it, or are interested in using it for medical purposes. In the United States, the Supreme Court has also ruled that doctors can’t be punished for discussing medical marijuana with patients or even recommending it to those who might need it. 

In general, practicing physicians should be used to patients bringing them ideas and suggestions about possible treatment options. In that respect, medical marijuana should be no different from any other drug, medical procedure, or therapeutic intervention you might want to try to improve your health. And if your doctor doesn’t know much about medical cannabis initially, your interest in it may also motivate them to do their own research about it and educate themselves further. This could, in turn, lead your doctor to explore more treatment options not just for you but for future patients as well. 

Do Your Research

As mentioned above, the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis have yet to be covered in official curricula at medical schools. Most doctors may only have superficial knowledge about medical cannabis and the new studies that demonstrate its effectivity. As such, you may have to do your own research about how the drug can benefit your specific condition

It’s best to prepare for your consultation with your doctor by reading up on marijuana’s therapeutic applications, the science of the human body’s endocannabinoid system, and successful use cases for medical marijuana. Your doctor may also be unfamiliar with local laws surrounding cannabis possession and use, so you can also consider looking up your state’s guidelines and requirements. Provide your doctor with a copy of these along with any relevant forms needed to issue a written recommendation for medical cannabis. 

Give your doctor a comprehensive view of your medical issues, including the symptoms you want to treat with medical marijuana. Be prepared to talk about your experience of the condition and why you want to explore cannabis as a treatment option. Of course, if you have medical records documenting the conditions or symptoms in question, you’ll also want to have them on hand for your doctor to verify. 

Find a Different Doctor If Necessary

Your doctor may have numerous personal and professional reasons for resisting medical cannabis as a treatment option, even after you’ve done your research and had a comprehensive conversation with them about it. While you should respect their final decision on the matter, there’s no reason for you to stop looking into medical marijuana if you’re convinced it may be beneficial to you. Seek an alternative professional opinion and look around for doctors who are more experienced with the drug, or at least more open to making it part of your overall treatment plan.

You can find medical cannabis specialists by asking friends or relatives being treated with medical marijuana to refer you to their doctors. If you don’t know anyone who can give you a personal referral, searching online can direct you to a number of medical websites and organizations that list such specialists in their directories. Once you find a doctor you’d like to see, make sure to gather all the necessary paperwork on your official diagnoses, referrals, and medical history before scheduling your first appointment.

In the end, though, medical marijuana can be a challenging subject to discuss with doctors, it’s up to you to advocate for yourself and your health. Remember that you have the right to work with healthcare professionals who will willingly listen to your ideas for treatment and explore options that stand to improve your well-being.