Many people around the country live in a state where medical marijuana is now legal. But they may find themselves wondering how they should approach talking to a doctor about medical marijuana since it remains illegal at the federal level.
This can really become an issue for older patients who spent their bulk of their lives in a country where weed was not only illegal, but often demonized. That can make bringing it at a doctor’s visit hard to do.
But more seniors than ever are seizing the chance to find out what medical cannabis can do for them. For those who want to join them, the following tips for talking to a doctor about medical marijuana can set your feet on the right path.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
It’s easy to feel confused about the laws around use of marijuana. It remains a hot political issue in some places. And it’s still a Schedule I illegal drug at the federal level. But almost every state allows use of medical marijuana for certain conditions, and more than 30 have medical marijuana laws that greatly expand its use. There’s no harm at all in asking your doctor about how you might use weed to treat your condition.
Know the Facts About Medical Marijuana
At one time, people had to learn about the possibilities of medical marijuana through anecdotes from others. Now, they can access plenty of information from studies around the world. While cannabis has potential use for everything from cancer to anxiety, most seniors choose to try it to help them better manage chronic pain.
Check State and Local Laws
Until the U.S. Congress decides to legalize marijuana, lawmakers in each individual state must act on their own. That results in laws that can differ widely on what medical marijuana is allowed to treat. Some of the most common conditions you can use cannabis to treat include:
- ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
- Parkinson’s Disease
However, some states allow its use for treatment of chronic pain and other issues. They may also give doctors more latitude in what they can prescribe. Also, some states may have a list of doctors you must choose from to discuss the use of cannabis.
Factors to Consider in Talking to Your Doctor
A doctor typically will assess your situation by finding out what other treatments you have tried for your health condition. They also will likely talk to you about how weed might interact with your current medications. If you are working, find out if your workplace allows the use of marijuana. In some industries, such as trucking or law enforcement, you might lose your job if you test positive for marijuana.
Questions For Your Doctor
If you are in a situation where medical marijuana is an option, prepare to ask doctors questions that can give you more information. Some of the most common questions from patients include the following, according to doctors.
- Will cannabis help my medical condition?
- What kind of cannabis is best for my condition?
- How should I consume cannabis?
- What amount should I use?
- What are the potential side effects?
- What do I need to buy from a dispensary?
- How do I tell family, friends and employers about using medical marijuana?
This is one of those situations where there are no wrong questions. Get all the information you need so you can have an informed opinion. That starts with talking to a doctor about medical marijuana. In today’s world, it’s likely your doctor will be more surprised if you don’t talk to her about it.