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Working with Your MMJ Doctor

Working with Your MMJ Doctor

Whether you've just received a diagnosis of a chronic condition, or have been using conventional treatments for your cancer, depression, or other serious medical condition for a long time, choosing to use medical marijuana is a valid option in about a quarter of the United States. What do you do, though, if your primary physician isn't comfortable recommending you for your state's medical marijuana program? What should you look for in a medical marijuana doctor?

First, make sure you familiarize yourself with the laws for medical marijuana (MMJ) use in your state. While the doctor you select should be knowledgeable about the different requirements and statutes, it's important that you have this information as well. There are many resources for this, ranging from the legal guidelines here at CannabisSearch.com to activist organizations like NORML.org, which pushes for legalization not just for medical marijuana, but all marijuana, nationwide.

Once you're familiar with local MMJ law, you should understand the responsibilities as a patient, and the physician's obligations as well. When picking a doctor, you'll want to make sure they agree with these responsibilities.

As a patient, you need to find a doctor who is:

  • …licensed as a medical professional in your state, county, and city, as necessary according to the law. In some places, not all doctors can discuss or prescribe medical marijuana, so make sure they are legally authorized to do so.
  • …well educated, and certified if required, about the prescription and use of medical marijuana. They should be able to explain how and where to obtain it, and how it's best administered, as well.
  • …honest with you, not just about any forms or requirements, but also about any conflicts of interest he or she might have about the recommendations given, or the prescriptions provided. In some states, physicians are allowed to sell medical marijuana, and that could be considered a conflict of interest.

It's important to remember, that you, as a patient, have a responsibility, as well. You have to follow all the instructions your doctor provides, and maintain the prescribed dosages, and keep all of your follow-up appointments. Also, be aware that it's rare for medical cannabis to be the only treatment you'll need. It's usually prescribed in addition to more conventional drugs, not in place of them.

Finally, make sure that when you speak with your doctor about using medical marijuana, you're completely candid. Whether you remain under the care of your existing physician, or switching to one more receptive to your needs, be prepared to explain why you believe cannabis is the right choice for you, and back that up with your own research. Medical marijuana patients must be active participants in their medical care.

Comments
 
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Guest | Apr 6, 2012
 
Looks like know one wants to give me any help here? Figures! When it rains it pours.
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Guest | Apr 1, 2012
 
I have been asking all my doctors about MMJ and they all back away from it. I have MS, MCS, Diabetes and a Bad back and wasted stomach and colon and etc. I wake to pain every day from head to toe. I have since the early 1990's and more so after a reaction to synthetic medication in August 1995 that sent me to the ER. Before it was pain sporadically but ever since those medication (Pain Killers and Ambien)I have had pain every day since. All synthetic medications wipe out sooner or later health wise because of the MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) and MS (Multiple Sclerosis). My diseases where caused by environmental causes. I worked with many different kinds of chemicals and my employer did nothing to let me know they where dangerous and train me in proper safety so for years of inhaling those chemicals I developed autoimmune diseases. Synthetic Medications are chemicals to my body also and I can not handle them. My employers lawyers and my own lawyers and the insurance company hid the main medical reports from me for years where a doctor was questioning my work environment and wanted the MSDS on them. I never knew what a MSDS was until much later after I was out of work from my disabilities. I sued and never even got my day in court so to speak with a jury of my peers. Since my health is the result of my work environment doctors do not even want to speak up or check into it for fear I will use what they find in any legal cases even though I lost already. So they have basically been ignoring the MS and etc except the diabetes. So I have pain every day and they do nothing about it except try to force synthetic drugs down my throat which makes me worse, not better. So I live in the SF East Bay Area in Antioch CA. and where in the blazes do you find a doctor who will let you get MMJ for pain relief and for all my other health issues? I do not care if he just takes my $100 and gives me the card. I just want pain relief since I can not take synthetic medications. I am open to a doctor being suggested. Email is joehawkins57 at yahoo dot com. I tried alcohol even and it tears my guts up. So MMJ is my last resort for pain relief. I hate falling to sleep and the munchies so I want to be able to stay awake and be able to think but don't mind having a euphoric type feeling so what is the strongest and best way to self medicate without getting wiped out? Which plant is the best low light with high yield for indoor growing? I am old (54) now and have not touched this stuff since I was a teenager so I have been out of the loop and I do not want to break any laws here now so I need to know how to get a doctor to OK me getting pain relief this way? Envirohawk
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chronic sufferer | Jun 10, 2011
 
It is really important to find a doctor of any kind who cares about your conditions and problems. But seeking out a qualified doctor to prescribe MMJ is a must. I want to know that he/she cares about me enough to truly recommend it. Not just a dude who says what you need, give me a 100 bucks and out the door you go.
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Herb Lady | Apr 26, 2011
 
I wonder if there is a clinic or sliding scale type of office you can visit to get a MMJ card for those who are uninsured. It seems there must be because otherwise it is quite unfair. With all the frivilous law suits it seems this would be an actual denial of one's rights.
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Guest | Apr 23, 2011
 
I understand that you have to have a good doctor that knows what they are talking about. I am in constant pain and I am always nausated but I refuse to try it because it is illegal but someone I know smokes it and she says she feels better and it helps hr to relax and I told her no thank you until the government recognizes that it really do help some people with their medical conditions.
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Guest | Apr 23, 2011
 
I understand where some people are coming from and it does help them, especially if they have cancer. I have not tried it but if it will help with my pains and keep me from being nauseated I guess I would try it but I will wait until the government will legalized it, otherwise I would have to leave that alone and I wish the government would legalize it for health reasons. I need it so bad for my pain and nausea and I found out I have white lesions on my brain. I have severe headaches everyday
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Kushie Q | Apr 23, 2011
 
When first moved to California the MMJ dr I dealt with was far more in tune with what I was needing medically, and seemed more concerned than the so called normal dr. I was thorough frustrated with the reg. dr and really love my MMJ dr. Both MD's but the medical marijuana man seems more worried about helping me get relief. Love those who believe.
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Guest | Apr 22, 2011
 
Their is almost no program for MMJ in the state of Alaska only a registry to get a card everything else ur on ur own. It's quite horrible especially since I suffer from stomach problems, severe headaches n I also have no meniscus in both my knees for the past 5 years so pretty much I'm in pain everyday but no doctor will even think of listenin to me about MMJ
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smokestack | Apr 7, 2011
 
I went to an MMJ doctor here in Michigan and she was super friendly and understanding. I am glad that these highly trained educated doctors can see the value in this medicine.
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Herb Lady | Apr 3, 2011
 
I've always done things unconventionally and do not have a regular doctor or insurance for that matter to get a recommendation. I think it's easier to just ask a friend where they got there's and then go to the same spot. As Chief said, not everyone can afford to go see a doctor. I only see holistic healers and chiropractic specialists and they are not considered medical doctors so I can't even get an evaluation from them.
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Guest | Mar 31, 2011
 
A doctor, at least in Montana, cannot prescribe MMJ to anyone. He can recommend it as a treatment, but since our Government is the most ignorant bunch of incompetent people we can seem to find to put into office, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug and cannot be prescribed. Also, your doctor should NOT recommend any place you should go to obtain MMJ, nor should they proceed to tell you how to use it or in what quantities. This is for their safety.
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lindzzz | Mar 31, 2011
 
Yes what I understood is that you a doctor can tell you where to go to find dispensaries or other patient services; usually they say go to the norml site. I agree that it is a conflict of interest for a doctor to recommend where to get your medicine. That would be just like a doctor telling you to only fill your asthma medication at CVS Pharmacy, and nowhere else. Doctors have a responsibility to be impartial, but the odd thing is that many doctors get paid and get free samples to advertise new drugs in their offices, with posters and brochures. Can you imagine if a doctor who recommended medical cannabis started giving a one-week sample pack? They would be arrested pretty quickly!
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Chief | Mar 31, 2011
 
I think there is a lot of miscommunication between the doctors that are not involved in prescribing MMJ and the ones that are. If only there was some way to make it so that the patients that do not have medical insurance can see a doctor and be evaluated without having to put more money in medical expenses. Not everyone can afford to have a doctor that they go to in order to be recommended altrenative treatment.