I have a rare disease.
In all the years trying to find that out, I saw a LOT of doctors.
My oldest daughter has a form of Muscular Dystrophy and was the National Goodwill Ambassador for MDA, so I had the opportunity to meet all of her specialists and the many of the world-renowned medical research doctors and medical professionals working on muscular dystrophy research.
I also worked in social service for most of my adult life and coordinated complicated care for individuals with disabilities.
For good or bad, I've met my share of doctors and I do think that they all have our best interest at heart.
I also believe they are only able to work with what they know.
So, when it comes to Medical Marijuana as a wellness option, it's just not on their radar.
I'll share a little bit about how to talk to your doctor about cannabis and when. But first my doctor story.
I'm in the hospital; I'm on the cancer floor, but I do not have cancer.
Oncology/Hematology specialists treat my rare disorder (Porphyria), so that's the floor where I ended up spending a week.
One of the other patients on the floor told me about Marinol. He explained that this was the synthetic form of THC.
This young man suggested skipping my dinner and the nurses would offer it to get me to eat.
I did, they did, the prescription left the hospital with me a week later.
This legal portable version of my favorite medication came in handy for my nausea and pain control when I traveled and was legal to take with me when I went out of the country.
I will say it was not as effective as the plant form of cannabis and had some unwanted side effects. But it came in handy.
When cannabis became legal in my home state, I figured it was obvious I was a perfect candidate.
I had a prescription for synthetic marijuana for years.
I wandered in and mentioned this to my doc of many years.
He said 'Oh nooo, I couldn't do that.'
So it's not a big deal for me to take the synthetic pharmaceutical form but the natural plant isn't okay?
He explained he wasn't willing to risk his medical license on an unproven plant.
Part of me understood, but mostly it was just frustrating.
He even supported my use of the natural plant over the synthetic re-creation, but he couldn't and wouldn't do so on the record.
What do you do then?
Should you even tell your doctor about your desire to add cannabis to your wellness regime?
I have a few general recommendations, but this is a topic you'll need to spend some time thinking over for your personal situation.
Most likely your personal physician will not be the one to sign your application for a medical card, so you have to decide whether even to talk to him or her about it.
If you take numerous medications and you have concerns about adding anything to that mix, of course, you'll want to discuss it.
I had always been using cannabis as part of my daily routine, so if a medication was added, I was already using marijuana so any reaction would be evident. I never did have one.
Personally, the biggest concern for medication interactions is lowering of blood pressure.
As a person who has very low blood pressure, I am aware of when my cannabis use reduces it further.
If you're taking a prescription medication to lower your blood pressure you may find you need less and less of it.
Those types of issues will have to be discussed with your prescribing physician.
If you choose not to discuss with your doctor, be sure to do your research.
As for finding the right doctor for a medical marijuana card keep in mind, they will not be treating you.
In our state, we have plenty of options for docs to approve you for your medical marijuana card.
New clinics seem to pop up all the time.
I always recommend that you do a drive by the clinic you may be interested in before you make an appointment.
See if looks clean and organized and you would be comfortable walking in.
If the law has just recently passed legalizing in your state, the clinics may not look like they've been around very long.
But whenever possible the bare minimum is a clean, safe facility.
What to expect at your doctor appointment?
Most of the process is verbal.
If possible bring a medical record of your condition, or issue, from your primary care doctor, or specialist, that you have seen for this condition, in the past twelve months.
The laws in your state may vary so be sure to read up on these or reach out to us, and we can help research it with you.
Your medical records provide verification of your condition and proof that a medical professional is treating you, hence relieving them of liability for your care.
It is the certification doctors job to verify your records, some take blood pressure or basic vital signs like listening to heart rate and breathing, for their records, and discuss your condition with you.
Many will ask you some questions.
Many have no experience with cannabis so will not offer to advise or give you cannabis directions.
That's why we're here!
To help you with all the other stuff that goes along with getting your medical marijuana card.
Like what to do next!
Usually, there is a website in your state outlining the laws, and within that there are rules for doctors.
You can look there for an explanation on how to obtain your card in your area.
Keep in mind my guidelines are based on what I've experienced, and that might be different for you.
We can help. Just ask.
I'm a cannabis consultant who helps people that want information about cannabis as a wellness option but don't know where to go for expert answers. I offer those answers and confidential support tailored to their personal needs.