Despite the fact that medicinal cannabis is legal in Canada, it can be a bit unnerving to talk to a doctor about cannabis treatments. First of all, some people still associate smoking cannabis with a negative stereotype, fuelled by misinformation and flat-out lies. The truth is, cannabis is used as an effective treatment for a wide variety of ailments from chronic pain to PTSD, many times replacing pharmaceuticals. Increasingly, medical professionals are endorsing its use and even recommend it to their patients when other options don't work. If you're considering cannabis treatments for a medical condition and you're nervous about talking to your doctor, relax. Here are a few tips that will help you get the conversation started so you can get the medicine you need.

Do Your Research

First of all, if you're not in Canada you'll want to know whether you're a resident of a medical cannabis state, or if you're barking up the wrong tree. If you're in one of the legal states, you will need to know if your condition qualifies for the medical marijuana program. For most states and in Canada, it's possible to get a medical marijuana card for certain cancers, chronic pain, and increasingly for depression, PTSD and a variety of other conditions and ailments. Keep in mind that some states allow physicians to approve cannabis use for medical conditions that aren't listed, on a case-by-case basis, so even if yours isn't listed, don't be discouraged.

Be Completely Honest

When you speak to your doctor, everything that is said between you is confidential, so be honest about your interest in cannabis treatments. If you're already consuming cannabis to help you with an illness, pain, or other issues, say so. Explain why you believe that cannabis is a viable treatment option for you, based on your own experience and research. Print out studies, and other information that you believe supports your reasoning and take it to the appointment with you. Be ready to answer questions about the frequency of your consumption, how it helps your condition, and whether you've experienced any unwanted side-effects.

Ask Lots of Questions

There are no dumb questions, especially when it comes to your personal health and well-being. If you're new to cannabis use, you may not realize that there are potential side-effects that some people encounter, so ask your doctor. Make sure you understand exactly what the risks are for you, depending on your age, other medications you're taking and your overall health. It's also a good idea to discuss how you will be consuming your cannabis. Will you be smoking, vaping or eating it? What are the potential benefits of each type of consumption and what method does the doctor recommend? If you've experimented, you'll likely have a preference, but it's always good to get a second opinion.

Don't Try To Force It

The truth is, not all medical doctors support the use of cannabis as a treatment for any diseases or conditions. This may be because of their religious beliefs, political affiliations, or personal opinions. If you're noting resistance from your doctor with regards to medical cannabis, this can be the perfect opportunity to educate them about its benefits. That being said, it can be difficult to change someone's mind, especially when they have long-held beliefs about the dangers of cannabis. If you're in this situation, remember that you do have choices and if you're not getting the cooperation you desire, it may be time to find a new doctor that's more open to alternative options for health care.

The truth is, many doctors already know that the plant offers a great deal of promise for treating a wide variety of illnesses and medical conditions. For a lot of doctors, their reservations when it comes to prescribing medicinal cannabis stem not from a lack of belief in its effectiveness, but from the scarcity of in-depth research and long-term studies on the effects and as well as how to prescribe the proper dosage. If you're considering cannabis as a treatment option, take the time to do your research, so you're prepared to ask your doctor the questions that matter most to you. If your doctor isn't agreeable, don't think you don't have a choice, you can always change doctors. It is, after all, your health and you should absolutely be in control.

Planning to discuss cannabis with your doctor? Here are 3 questions to get the conversation started.

  • Is cannabis a viable treatment for my condition?
  • Would using cannabis affect any of my other medications?
  • Are there any potential side effects?

It is important to note, that the laws for purchase and consumption methods of cannabis, including CBD, vary per country and state/province. Always ensure you know and respect the law and others.

Remember to always consult your doctor before beginning any type of wellness treatment.

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