Although medical cannabis legalization happened in Canada in 2001, a lack of quality research on the subject has made most medical professionals skeptical. While cannabis advocates claim medical marijuana can help manage many different health conditions, the scientific evidence has been sparse.
As more research is conducted, medical professionals are becoming both more aware and more accepting of the potential for cannabis-based treatments for some of their patients. Many are justifiably cautious with these treatments, preferring to use them only when all other options have been exhausted.
More patients, however, are beginning to advocate for themselves. If you believe you might benefit from medical marijuana, you should discuss it with your doctor. Follow these tips to ensure you have a productive, informative conversation.
Do Your Homework
Before you schedule your appointment, read up on the latest research studies on medical marijuana. You should look for studies dealing with your particular medical condition. Be sure to seek out high-quality evidence and reports, such as those found in scientific journals and from university networks.
You should educate yourself on as many of the research studies as possible, even if the outcomes of some are negative. Being able to discuss contradictions in the scientific literature and addressing concerns you or your doctor may have about medical cannabis is key.
Make the Appointment
Once you’re ready, schedule an appointment with your doctor. It’s better to schedule a separate appointment than to try and have the discussion as part of another visit. This is especially true if you suspect your doctor may be resistant to the idea of medical marijuana as a legitimate treatment for you.
If you’re asked the reason for the appointment, you can tell the office you wish to discuss treatment options for you. If you’ve been having trouble with your current treatments, be sure to mention them.
Present Your Case
When you meet with your doctor, tell them about any issues you’re having with your current treatment plan. If you have concerns about medications you’re using, be sure to mention them.
Even if you’re not having issues, you can ask your doctor about better management or more effective treatments. You can follow up by presenting some of the research you’ve done on medical cannabis.
Be sure to relate how and why you believe medical cannabis could be an option for you.
Have an Open Mind
It can be difficult to talk to medical professionals about medical marijuana, especially if they don’t support the idea themselves. Listen to your doctor’s concerns and arguments. In many cases, they may not have the most recent information. They may be concerned about your health.
Some medical practitioners feel very strongly there isn’t enough evidence to support using medical cannabis. Allow your doctor to present their case. Your research may help you address their concerns.
Remember to have an open mind. Your doctor may want you to try other treatment options, or they may want to wait for more evidence to accumulate. See if you can reach a compromise of some sort. After all, this is your health and your treatment.
Ask for a Referral
If your doctor is uncomfortable writing you an authorization or recommendation for medical cannabis, ask if they’ll consider referring you to a medical cannabis clinic for a consultation. Your doctor may be hesitating because they don’t have enough information or they don’t feel they know enough about this emerging treatment.
If your doctor refuses, you could consider self-referral to a cannabis clinic to gather more information. Again, seeing if you can reach a compromise with your doctor is likely to have better results for everyone.
Talking to your doctor about medical cannabis can be difficult. With these tips, you can have a more productive conversation and hopefully find a treatment plan that will help you advance your health.