Cannabis is still a touchy subject for medical professionals. As a result, it can be intimidating for patients to ask for information.
Despite the growing popularity of cannabis for both medical and recreational use among the general population, it is still a touchy subject for medical professionals.
If patients are asking questions about medical cannabis and its benefits, here are some tips to help physicians navigate the questions and get patients the answers that they need.
1. Can I Get a Prescription for Medical Cannabis?
Patients are used to heading to the doctor to obtain a prescription for the medications they need. Medical cannabis is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government, making it illegal to prescribe. What doctors can do legally is recommend medical cannabis if it will be beneficial for the patient.
Physicians must inform patients that the only way to get a medical cannabis recommendation-not a prescription-is through a licensed medical professional.
2. Do I Have to Smoke Medical Cannabis?
For patients who are concerned about smoking cannabis-either because of respiratory problems or because of the stigma surrounding it- there are other consumption options available, such as edibles or vaporizers. Keeping a cannabis recipe book in the office is one way to help patients look into other options.
3. What If My Employer Requests a Drug Test?
Physicians should educate themselves on their state laws, so they can address this question with their patients. Physicians that are still hesitant should consider talking to a lawyer who specializes in cannabis-related cases. They can answer those questions more accurately and ensure physicians have the knowledge to inform their patients.
4. Are There Any Drug Interactions I Need to Worry About?
Medication interactions can be a major concern for patients when introducing a new drug to their daily regimens-and cannabis is no exception.
Cannabis can interact with some medications, so physicians should seek out educational resources that can be shared with patients about potential drug interactions.
5. Are There Any Scams I Need to Know About?
There are sites that try to scam patients by offering them the promise of cannabis prescriptions.
Not only are these prescriptions illegal, but they can cost patients hundreds of dollars. If a scam is prevalent in the patient’s area, it’s important for physicians to provide this information to patients before they get caught in one.
6. How Can I Stay Safe While Using Medical Cannabis?
Some specific strains may impair reaction times or cause drowsiness, similar to prescription medications. Physicians may recommend that patients stay home and refrain from driving or operating machinery until they know how the medication will affect them during their daily life.
7. What Happens If I Get Pulled Over While Using Medical Cannabis?
In nearly all states, driving while using cannabis is considered a DUI and can result in a hefty fine, jail time, or even the suspension of a patient's driver’s license.
The best advice with this question is for physicians to learn the specific laws in their state and surrounding states so that they can advise their patients correctly.
8. Can You Refer Me to a Doctor Who Will Recommend Medical Cannabis?
Physicians who choose not to recommend cannabis to their patients can refer them to a licensed marijuana doctor in their state who can recommend the drug for them. There are a large number of providers who don't choose to recommend medical cannabis, even in states where it's legal.
9. Is Medical Cannabis a Treatment Option for Me?
One thing that varies greatly from state to state is the conditions that can be treated with medical cannabis. In some states, it can only be used for terminal conditions like cancer. In other states, it can be used for nearly any condition at the doctor's discretion.