Doctor Talk: Six tips on how to make it easier to talk to your doctor about medical cannabis
Some cultural conventions run pretty deep. So even with the big societal shift in how we view cannabis as a medicine, there’s just no avoiding that some of us may feel apprehensive to speak to our doctor or health care professional about medical cannabis and its therapeutic potential for our medical needs. This shouldn’t be hard or uncomfortable. But sometimes it is. So here are some tips on how to begin this conversation with your health care practitioner.
- Begin by sharing your experience and reasons why you believe medical cannabis is worth exploring and why it should be considered as a viable option for your medical needs. You’ll need to do some homework for sure, and you’ll find many of the basics you’ll need to know on this website, but the effort will help convince your doctor of how seriously you are thinking about this course of action.
- Be open… discuss your personal experience with using cannabis (if you have any) and how you found it to be effective in treating your medical condition or alleviating your symptoms.
- Here is a list of medical conditions for which medical cannabis can be used as a therapeutic treatment option:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite stimulation (wasting syndrome, anorexia, AIDS, cancer)
- Pain and muscle spasm
- Neuropathic pain (multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury)
- Pain (acute pain, post-OP pain, chronic pain, experimentally induced pain, headaches)
- Cancer pain
- Palliative care
- Movement disorders (dystonia, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s)
- Psychiatric disorders (anxiety, sleep disorders, PTSD, alcohol/opioid withdrawal)
- Inflammation and inflammatory disorders
- Gastrointestinal system disorders (IBS, inflammatory bowel diseases, metabolic disorders)
- Anti-neoplastic properties
The list of potential therapeutic uses continues to grow.
Discuss why it is important for you to access safe and legal supply of medical cannabis, versus obtaining it illegally or from a source that is not regulated and tested for safety.
Once you have explained why you believe medical cannabis is right for you, ask your doctor if they are willing to complete and forward your medical documentation to a trusted Licensed Producer such as Northern Green Canada.
If you doctor or health care practitioner is not willing to complete the medical documentation to access medical cannabis, ask them why? And ask them if they are willing to complete a referral form for a doctor or health care practitioner who specializes in cannabinoid therapy. Often a doctor’s reluctance in completing the documentation is simply due to a lack of knowledge about medical cannabis on their part.
Written by: Dr. Hamed Hashemi, Medical Director, Northern Green Canada
Dr. Hamed Hashemi is the Medical Health Director for Northern Green Canada. Prior to joining Northern Green Canada, Hamed practiced as general practitioner and medical professor for two years in Atlanta, GA. He received his medical degree from AUIS School of Medicine and holds a B.Sc. in Nursing (with honours) from York University in Ontario.