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.