With the growing number of states in the U.S. legalizing marijuana for medical use, it is becoming more mainstream if not easier to obtain a prescription. However, as many if not most (particularly new) patients know, it is still a time-consuming, angst-ridden process. The big challenge: how to get your doctor to prescribe medical marijuana.
Managing your chronic condition is hard enough as it is. Finding a good doctor to work for and with you, however, particularly for the first time is one of the many challenges you face in being sick.
The good news, however, is that once you get a good relationship with both a doctor and a legal supplier, your condition, whatever it is, will be an infinitely more manageable plus, you can get your physician to prescribe medical marijuana for your ailment.
The “Easy” Way
If you live in a state where the actual drug is legal, the first thing to do is research and prepare yourself.
- Get your medical records together in a file.
- Do all the reading you can online about your condition, and then how and where marijuana might be able to help you.
- You can qualify in most states where medical legalization has occurred if you suffer from cancer, AIDS, chronic pain, any kind of movement disorder and PTSD. If you have another condition for which marijuana is also prescribed, read up on it, take notes, and prepare to make your case.
- Practice speaking to your doctor about WHY you think medical marijuana will help you. If you are already taking other medications, also do research (online is the easiest way) about why marijuana may help you lessen the number and amounts of OTHER medications you take. This is particularly easy if you suffer from chronic pain and are taking prescription opioid-based medication – but there is beginning to be research on a number of conditions including diabetes which is also compelling.
- Try to also use medical reports and sites rather than just opinion pieces found in mainstream news and blogs. Make your “business” and “medical” case to yourself (and if you have one – a close friend or significant other) BEFORE you go into a doctor’s office.
Finding a doctor who will prescribe medical marijuana for you is indeed a hard one to some.
The easiest way to do this is to use a “finder” service like Weedmaps or Leafly. In most states, you will also have to register as a medical patient first. Again, do your research. If you have options about medical providers, use them. You want a medical partner who understands why you use it – not someone who treats you with suspicion if not a drug addict.
What Strain and Brand?
Before you go to the doctor, particularly if you live in a weed-friendly state, also do your research about what kind of pot (Indica or Sativa) works for your condition. This is also a bit more challenging, but the more you are prepared to talk intelligently, the better outcome you will have.
Also, research WHERE you can find this kind of marijuana. Remember that the most important first distinction is between Indica and Sativa but that is just the first one. Much of what you can find in dispensaries is also often a hybrid mix.
Your first goal is symptom relief and learning to use the drug. The “brand names” out there are, for you at this point, a distraction. If you are able to find a doctor with a background and experience in prescribing, ask their advice and tell them about your symptoms honestly.
Reference your research. Be willing to experiment.
Vaping, Smoking, Edibles
There is still no conclusive evidence right now about the “healthiest” way to ingest the drug. Try different ways of using Cannabis, if you can.
Smoking currently is a common way to consume Cannabis but is probably not the best option for your health. You are burning the herbs at around 1000 degrees Celsius which also releases harmful carcinogens and tar.
Opting to Vape the herbs is a much cleaner option as you are releasing the active ingredients which aid your symptoms at a much lower heat and not producing harmful chemicals.
Also, try eating the drug (by either making your own cannabutter or steeping the drug in tea).
This is YOUR medicine. Find the way that works best for you. If you experiment with edibles, also understand that the effects are different and delayed. Be careful and go slow.
What to do if you live in a non-legal state
Dronabinol is currently available in every state, whether or not reform has happened locally. It is a form of synthetic THC that comes in a gel capsule. It works, even if not quite as well as the “real” thing – and be prepared for a “punch” as you get used to the drug.
Try to find a sympathetic doctor who will listen to your case (you still have to do the research) and who is open and willing to prescribe you with medical marijuana. Try neuropathic pain and progressive cancer doctors or those who treat chronic pain. The benefit here, particularly if you can’t get to or find anything else is that dronabinol is already a schedule III drug and some health insurance plans actually cover it.
The drawbacks apart from not being able to control your own dosage? You will also still test positive for THC metabolites (so you can lose your job if you have one). This is, chemically, the same thing as marijuana, even if it is synthetic. However, if it is all you can get, do what you need to do.