If there is any subject that can truly trigger some emotions in a doctor, it is definitely marijuana. They would ask the following questions;
- Is it safe?
- Should it be legalized?
- Has its effectiveness been proven?
- What conditions does it qualify for?
- Can my patients become addicted?
- Is it really a ‘wonder’ drug?
- Do we just want to legalize it so people can exploit it legally?
Marijuana currently enjoys the privilege of being legalized (at a doctor’s recommendation) in 33 states while it federally it is still illegal.
Most states require that medical marijuana users carry a Medical Marijuana Card so that they can differentiate between the medical users and the recreational users. Patients who use it for health reasons have ground rules that are less stringent than from the recreational users.
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Marijuana isn’t just about the High!
Marijuana has two important components; THC and CBD. Of the two mentioned, CBD is the least controversial as it has the least intoxicating properties. THC on the other hand is the culprit behind the high most people experience when consuming marijuana.
Marijuana has multiple strains – meaning that you can find the drug having each component in different ratios. Therefore, having a marijuana with high CBD and low THC is possible. Patients who have consumed CBD dominant marijuana report the following positive changes in their health:
- Insomnia was relieved,
- Relief from anxiety,
- Reduction in pain,
- Epilepsy from Davert-Syndrome reduced
Marijuana has Medical Benefits as Well!
In the United States, most physicians refer patient’s marijuana to get relief from pain. It has been especially effective for chronic pain which is common among the elderly.
Most doctor’s express their love for the drug as it can be substituted for opiates – the use of which often results in overdose and addiction. It is also a good substitute for medicines like Advil and NSAIDs as people with kidney issues or ulcers cannot have them.
Multiple sclerosis and nerve pains have been reduced in patients who chose go for medical marijuana treatment. This is a perfect substitute for Neurontin and Lyrica as these drugs are highly sedating. This helps patients resume daily activities without feeling too hazy or out of it.
Parkinson’s disease patients claim that marijuana is an amazing relaxant as it lessens the tremors from the condition. Furthermore, nausea and glaucoma can be treated in patients. AIDs and HIV result in Wasting Syndrome as well as pain. Both of these conditions can be controlled to make the whole journey less painful.
Most of the conditions mentioned above are also present in the qualifying conditions list. Patients who think they might have one or more of these conditions should apply for a medical marijuana card to legally purchase medical cannabis.
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Issues that Doctor’s Worry About
There a lot of instances when patients come forward to ask their doctor’s about possible solutions or ‘they heard someone suggesting medical marijuana’. But you as a doctor might not be very comfortable giving that option to your patient.
While it is a wise decision to not suggest your patients about a medicine that may not be available or tested in the market, but educating oneself about an already tested and legalized medicine is not an act of chivalry.
Doctors are scientists and should be eager to learn about the unconventional medicines that are hitting the market and do researches to be prepared to offer the best.
Here are the common problems that doctors have:
I feel comfortable prescribing pharmaceutical medicines – not medical marijuana.
You must understand that California alone has over 1000 medical marijuana patients. All of these patients have been recommended by a medical marijuana doctor. There have been zero cases of an MMJ doctor being sued for malpractice. Medical marijuana is not only safe for patients but also for 420 doctors.
I don’t think my patients will trust me if I recommend Medical Marijuana to them.
While some patients might show confusion over a doctor recommending marijuana, there are far more patients who would trust their doctor’s judgement over their own. Furthermore, the use of cannabis is becoming politically correct.
Marijuana hasn’t been approved by the FDA – I think it can be toxic to my patients.
While FDA might not be regulating or approving marijuana, there are medical cannabis groups who perform tests on marijuana based medicines. Dosing can be an issue as patients need to be aware about the amount that works for them. Lastly, patients are liable for their own safety.
Pharmaceutical Drugs bring more profit than marijuana
As doctors we should be considerate towards our patients and keep their best interests in mind.
I don’t have any formal education on Cannabinoid/Endocannabinoid science.
Doctors are trained prior to becoming licensed medical marijuana doctors so that they can learn and acquire such information via self-education.
Medical Marijuana dosage cannot be controlled with any certainty.
It’s the physician’s responsibility to encourage patients to meet up with medical marijuana providers who can provide certificate of analysis. Cannabis growers who are not authorized are not recommended as they do not lab test their marijuana.
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I don’t want my patients to think that my practice is shady.
MMJ doctors and clinics only ask for recommendation papers and this is to encourage legality. They are not involved in buying or selling of medical marijuana.
I would prefer to prescribe a medicine that I have education on.
While this concern makes sense, it is a poor excuse. If your state has legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, then it is your responsibility as a physician to do further research.
I do not know what are the side effects of medical marijuana.
Cannabis patients have to sign a waiver stating that they assume full responsibility of using marijuana. Any cannabis that has 20% or more THC, has side effects which include motor impairment, coordination issue and psychosis.
How do I deal with the liability issues?
This is a simple matter that can be covered by making the patients sign a waiver form.
What is Synthetic Marijuana?
Normally, orthodox marijuana has one single component – THC. Using a single component marijuana which is high in THC can lead to issues such as anxiety and psychosis. Therefore, it is better to have medical marijuana that has a combination of both THC and CBD, as they balance out each other.
How can we know the right dosage?
Getting the right dosage is not a simple matter of numbers but we need to consider gender, race, age and genetics. Every individual has tolerance level specific to their body’s need. In case of medical marijuana, it is recommended that patients find the effective dosage for themselves.
All doctors should note that, we at MMJ Doctor provide patients with:
- Online Medical Marijuana Evaluations,
- High-quality Medical Marijuana ID cards,
- Marijuana Consultations,
- 24/7 verification and more.
We are constantly looking for partners, including licensed physicians in all geographic areas – to help service our rapidly growing patient base.
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