Despite marijuana’s legalization, cannabis continues to remain illegal on a federal level in most states. However, the United States’ federal law has lifted the ban on the usage of medical cannabis, which has encouraged certain states to permit the consumption of medical marijuana.
It isn’t hard to understand why one would want to use medical marijuana as a means of treatment; medical cannabis has plenty of benefits that include the prevention and treatment of glaucoma, controlling epileptic seizures, decreasing anxiety, and inducing appetite.
But before you can go to the dispensary or enlist medical marijuana delivery services, you must see a doctor in order to obtain a medical marijuana card or a valid written verification. If you are interested in using marijuana for medical purposes, here are some things you need to know before consulting a doctor:
When to see a doctor
It’s important to consider the qualifying medical conditions that make you eligible for treatment specific to the state you live in. Every state has specific medical conditions and symptoms that must be confirmed by a doctor before you can be deemed a medical marijuana patient.The first step is to research your state’s list of approved illnesses and injuries that allow you to receive treatment. If you have any of the ailments listed or think you are showing symptoms of them, it’s a good time to consult a medical professional.
Finding a doctor
Firstly, asking your doctor about the health benefits of medical marijuana is completely legal. The 2002 case, Conant v. Walters ruled in favor of protecting the rights of patients and physicians to discuss medicinal cannabis for the purpose of therapy. Depending on where you live, most healthcare providers are eligible to write you a prescription, including, in some cases, your primary physician. Research which types of medical professionals in your state are qualified to prescribe medical marijuana.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean all doctors are willing to give you a prescription. You can opt to visit a medical marijuana clinic or a doctor that has the specific role of working with patients looking to receive treatment with cannabis.
What to expect at the doctor’s office
Be prepared so that your physician can make a proper assessment and diagnosis. Anticipate the doctor to ask you about your medical history, your current condition, and any current and previous medication. Remember to clearly identify your symptoms.
If you have already been diagnosed, let the doctor know if previous pharmaceutical treatment hasn’t helped. You may also wish to bring studies (scholarly journals or academic studies are the most useful) of cases in which medical marijuana has proved effective in treating your condition.
Questions to ask your physician
Being fully aware of your health gives you more confidence in your treatment and recovery. It’s therefore critical to raise any questions or hesitations you might have. Some common, but nonetheless important inquiries are:
- What are the health risks and side effects of medical marijuana?
- Will medical marijuana interfere with my current medication?
- What is the recommended dosage?
- Which method of consumption is the best for me?
- What activities should I avoid?
- I have children and/or pets. Is second hand smoke harmful?
- Should I seek treatment if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Finally, remember to work with—not against—your doctor so you can achieve the best solution possible. Your physician is there to help and a neutral, medical opinion on your ailment is important to get the therapy you most need.