Even though more and more doctors are coming around to the idea of medical marijuana, not every doctor believes in the idea of cannabis as medicine. Some may be sceptical but in need of a greater abundance of evidence, or believe that cannabis could be more useful for some conditions than others. However, some doctors may come from an era where cannabis was considered “bad”, and won’t budge from this position. Here’s a few things you can do should this be the case with your own doctor or family physician.
1. Ask them what they think and know about medical cannabis
Assuming you haven’t already asked your doctor about medical cannabis, the best way to gauge how they feel about medical cannabis is to see how interested they are in this area. Those who think negatively or are indifferent about the idea of medical cannabis may try to warn you away from it, may be overly critical or just not know much about the subject matter at all. Just because they’re doctors, it doesn’t mean they don’t have some irrational ideas or blindspots when it comes to medical marijuana.
On the other hand, if your doctor looks positively at medical marijuana, they may be open to talking about its uses for your medical condition. They may even try to educate you about the endocannabinoid system (ECS) if they’ve been reading beyond the textbooks at medical school. This is a good sign!
2. Tell your doctor if your current medication is having no, or detrimental, effect
Are you using prescription opioids? What about sedatives? Maybe a very strong anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. flurbiprofen), or high doses of ibuprofen or steroids? Are any of these medications having little or no effect, or even making your symptoms worse? If so, then tell your doctor, and they may be more accepting of medical marijuana in such instances. Cannabis is, after all, far safer and less addictive than opioids and sedatives.
3. Some doctors are just plain sceptical of medical marijuana – Time to find a new one?
Until they see an abundance of gold-standard clinical trials, many physicians won’t necessarily believe that cannabis can be medicine. Yes, this is changing, and there is more and more evidence for cannabis’ medical applications (especially chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and epilepsy), there is still a paucity of high-level evidence when it comes to the use of medical cannabis for many other conditions.
If your primary care physician remains deeply sceptical and doesn’t appear willing to reconsider, it may be worth seeking alternative medical advice to open up access to medical treatments which you are interested in exploring. Remember, your physician is not the only one available to you.
4. Know the federal law on medical marijuana
Some doctors are afraid of recommending medical marijuana as it’s a federally illegal drug that could see them lose their licenses and even be arrested if they put a foot wrong.
This is understandable but we encourage you to research your state laws too. Many states now have fully functioning medical marijuana programs where physicians are able to recommend cannabis for a range of (usually) listed qualifying conditions. If your state permits individuals suffering from your condition to seek medical marijuana treatment, tell your physician this and provide them with the evidence which back up your position.
5. They are strictly a family doctor – find an alternative
In order to keep their standing in the community, some physicians may avoid anything to do with medical marijuana, even if they believe in its therapeutic potential, as it may potentially cost them other patients.
If you’re having trouble finding a medical marijuana doctor, Leafwell can help you out. You don’t need to make an appointment, and you can speak to a doctor right away – all you need is a computer, tablet or smartphone with internet access, and you’re good to go! You can get certified for medical cannabis online in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.