How to talk to your doctor about using medical marijuana?

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Cannabis is now widely recognised as a highly medicinal herb and there should be no shame associated with its use. But many people may find it intimidating to discuss cannabis with medical professionals.

So if you are interested in using marijuana as medicine and believe it can improve your health, or assist you with a medical condition that you are experiencing, how should you go about discussing it with your doctor?

With prohibition of the herb becoming a thing of the past, medical cannabis is slowly but surely becoming the norm. Although some regions are still waiting to catch up, the politics cannot change the scientific evidence that displays the healing power of cannabis.

Those living in legal areas may be lucky enough to have a doctor that prescribes them legal medical cannabis. For those who aren’t as fortunate, the thought of discussing medical cannabis use with a health professional might seem both risky and intimidating.

BE AS HONEST AND OPEN AS POSSIBLE

Even if cannabis is illegal where you live, telling a doctor about your current or plans for future consumption of the herb isn’t as risky as it may seem. Doctors have a duty to keep information about patients strictly confidential. This means there is little risk of criminal punishment or damage to a career or reputation.

For those who don’t like the idea of being direct and telling their doctor all about their relationship to cannabis or their curiosity about the herb, there are other ways to test the waters. You could simply start by asking questions. What does your doctor know about medical cannabis? Is there any way cannabis could help your current medical conditions or quality of life?

The legal status of cannabis where you live, along with the personality or knowledge of your doctor, will heavily dictate the response you get at this point. Doctors in certain countries will openly discuss the benefits and can even prescribe patients with some weed.

In other areas, doctors might still be under the impression that cannabis is a dangerous and illicit drug. In the latter scenario, you are more than likely to be denied any answers at all.

Even if you are living in a place that still experiences prohibition, it is worth inquiring about cannabis as part of your health strategy, especially if you are in a bad situation and truly believe it could help. There is a chance that your doctor is clued up on the subject and will offer some subtle tips or advice.

ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS AS POSSIBLE

If your doctor is aware of the health benefits of cannabis and is willing to discuss your use of the herb it’s a great opportunity to ask as many questions as possible to identify how to go about using it effectively. Ask your doctor what the health risks are when it comes to using cannabis and how might the herb interact with certain medications that you might be taking.

You could also ask your doctor what the best way might be for you to take cannabis, and what type and strain might be best when it comes to your health situation. If you have started taking cannabis for a certain condition you could also describe to your doctor what you are experiencing and how it is affecting your symptoms.

If it turns out that your personal doctor doesn’t know too much about cannabis himself, he might know a physician that does, and might be able to refer you.

REFER TO THE EXISTING SCIENCE

It is worth becoming acquainted with the scientific studies surrounding the medicinal effects of cannabis. For one, it will give you a better understanding of what is known about what marijuana can do for certain conditions. It will also give you a firm foundation of knowledge when it comes to talking about cannabis with your doctor.

If your doctor questions your use of cannabis or even states that there is no benefit, you can then refer to the neutral source of scientific fact.

WHEN IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON

It’s important to note that many doctors aren’t educated about the use of cannabis or how it works within the body to combat disease, because this certainly isn’t being taught in medical schools.

Although the scientific literature around the herb is growing, larger scale human trials are lacking. Many people have taken it upon themselves to become experts in cannabis and most of the powerful anecdotal accounts of healing seem to involve people taking their health and education into their own hands.

There are doctors out there who tolerate cannabis, or at least have an objective interest in the plant, and realise the true medicinal effects it has to offer. If cannabis is really helping you and you are met with scepticism and denial, there are probably other doctors out there who will be happy to work with you and help you.

Remember, your health is what matters most.

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