How to Talk to Your Doctor About Medical Marijuana

As the benefits of medical marijuana continue to grow, more and more patients are beginning to inquire about how to present this topic to their doctors. Many patients fret that asking your physician about this topic is illegal. However, this is not the case. In the 2002 case Conant v. Walters, the North Court Circuit of Appeals ruled in favor of the patient, further protecting their rights to receive and share medical information.  Even with the favorable ruling, asking your primary care physician about the benefits of medical marijuana can be difficult and embarrassing for many.

Those who are interested in the potential use of medical marijuana need to start by asking their physicians about the symptoms and conditions it can treat. The answer to this question is going to depend on the state in which you live. For example, a patient with chronic pain living in the state of Maryland would qualify for the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana. This is a great first step in “breaking the ice” with your physician. This will also help establish a rapport and diminish the fear that goes into talking about this topic.

After establishing the whether or not your condition qualifies for the medicinal use of marijuana, it is important to ask your physician the right questions as it pertains to that condition. Those strongly considering medical marijuana need to be informed about their own health. Not only will this bring confidence when speaking about this topic, but also it will go a long way in managing the effectiveness and treatment of your health.

Some important questions to ask your physician are as follows:  Can you point me in the direction of evidence-based research that shows how marijuana can help improve my medical condition?  What are the side effects associated with my condition as a result of medical marijuana use? Do I need to avoid any specific activities while using medical marijuana? Can you point me in the right direction in finding more literature about medical marijuana?

These questions are thought-out and allow your physician to see how serious you are about this treatment option. Sometimes your physician may not have the exact answer you are looking for and will advise you to seek a specialist. This is a great follow-up step that allows someone who treats that specific condition to bring further insight in the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

There is no wrong way to bring up medical marijuana with your doctor. One should not feel embarrassed about looking in to this option because medical marijuana has proven to be extremely beneficial through a plethora of evidence-based studies. The more informed and honest you are about your own health with your physician, the better results you will experience from the given treatment plan. Overall, as the numbers of doctors prescribing medical marijuana increases, so is the overall health of our population.

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