Even in 2021, medical marijuana is still considered an alternative or fringe medication. Yes, there are many doctors who see therapeutic value in medical marijuana, but many are equally sceptical. Yes, there is a considerable amount of evidence that cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) can be very useful for treating chronic pain, epilepsy and autoimmune disorders, but for some other conditions (e.g. Lou Gehrig’s disease, cystic fibrosis), more clinical trials are needed.
So, with this in mind, how do you bring up medical marijuana on your next doctor’s visit, and hopefully do so in a way where your physician will actually discuss your treatment options rather than just shut off right away.
1. What condition/s are you using medical marijuana for?
There is more evidence for the efficacy of cannabis for some conditions than for others. For those suffering from chronic pain or an autoimmune condition like Crohn’s disease, medical marijuana could prove very useful. For conditions like cancer, you really need to understand the type of cancer you’re suffering from, and then use medical marijuana accordingly. When it comes to conditions like bipolar disorder or other complex mental health problems, medical marijuana is not necessarily the first port of call.
Some people use medical marijuana to treat several health problems at once. For example, someone suffering from chronic pain may feel anxious all the time and be unable to sleep properly (insomnia). Medical marijuana can be very helpful in treating several conditions at once.
2. What other medications are you using?
If you are using prescription opioids or sedatives, both of which are addictive, then medical marijuana may be an excellent alternative. Many doctors know that such medications have many negative side-effects, and ought to be sympathetic to those who wish to stop using them if alternative medication, such as medical cannabis, is an option.
As quitting physically addictive medications can be dangerous, you will likely need a proper treatment plan to taper off the drugs properly. Medical marijuana can potentially help you do so when used appropriately, and many states have seen falls in opioid overdoses and the prescription of painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants after legalizing and setting up medical cannabis programs.
3. Bringing up CBD with your doctor
Hemp-derived CBD is legal in many states, and compared to medical marijuana may be an easier way to begin talking about medicinal cannabis as a whole. CBD also doesn’t have the psychoactive effects of THC and is widely available and federally legal.This means doctors are far more willing to discuss the ins and outs of how CBD may help.
4. Do your research
As the ECS isn’t currently taught in medical school, many doctors are behind the times when it comes to medical marijuana. In some instances, it is not unusual for the patients to be more up-to-speed than their doctors when it comes to cannabis science!
If you have already done the research into the use of cannabis for your condition, want to reduce your intake of other medications, and are looking to have an actual, serious discussion with your doctor, then they will likely take you more seriously. Here are some Leafwell articles we recommend you start with:
- What is the ECS?
- What is CBD?
- What is THC?
- Can I take Cannabis to Replace Other Medications?
- Dosing Cannabis/Medical Marijuana: 10 Things to Consider
5. Are you using medical cannabis already, even if you don’t have an MMJ recommendation?
Be honest with your doctor and tell them if you have been using medical cannabis already, and what effect it has on you. If you have been using it with some success, then tell your doctor and see if you can come up with a more refined treatment plan, taking into account dosage, preferred ingestion methods and other medications.
If you bring up medical marijuana to your doctor, and feel that they either don’t know enough about the subject to give you the specialist advice you need or they aren’t willing to recommend you medical marijuana, then speak to a doctor online with Leafwell about getting an MMJ certificate.