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For many people, men especially, visiting the doctors is a daunting prospect. Just making that phone call to book an appointment can really cause anxiety for many people across the globe.
So when someone with a debilitating condition finds out cannabis is almost a miracle cure for much of their symptoms you then go through those feelings of "do i want to break the law " in order for you to be able to help your condition?
Many people would find this situation a complete embarrassment aswell as it being something that feels very risky at worst.
While you can sit and go through the pros and cons it's really very easy to rationalize that revealing your use of Marijuana could result in you being labeled as a drug abuser and then getting a massive lecture about all the dangers of cannabis and how its alleged to be addictive aswell as being thrown out of your doctor surgery.
Although there is a huge temptation to stay closed off and keep your secret about your cannabis use there is a real strong case for sharing this with your GP.
The Key is Transparency
It's extremely important that you remain transparent about your lifestyle choices and habits, because in most cases it's highly important that you discuss your symptoms aswell as all over medical conditions you may have. The choices you make and the habits you have are what often play a major role in contributing to, exacerbating and maybe even reversing the disease. When you are confiding in your doctor about your use of cannabis, it is no different.
Your doctor may not agree but they should always have an awareness of the personal practices which impact your health or may interact with the therapies which they may provide to you.
If you choose not to disclose your cannabis use you then could inadvertently be placing yourself in a increased risk of misdiagnoses or medical errors.
In some instances the method of your marijuana use could be a cause for concern. ( i know, the blasphemy! but please, bare with us) You maybe surprised to learn that many patients don't even realize that their marijuana consumption is a part of their problem, such as if they are smoking joints this could be contributing to a chronic cough or using edible cannabis could be causing ongoing gut problems. In those cases, both of those have a simple connection made by the doc and there could be a simple adjustment of choosing a new medicating method and that could clear the problem all up!
It can be a very scary subject to broach but staying transparent about your cannabis use with any GP will put you in the best position to optimize all aspects of your care.
If the doc asks you if you use cannabis, tell him/her that you use "medical marijuana"
Its really very common for the Doctor to quickly and somewhat flippantly ask you if you've used marijuana before they move on to more history taking during a office visit. Just take this Chance to open the door to meaningful dialog and advocate on your own behalf and let them know that you are using "medical marijuana"
It can be very advantageous to use the scientific & medical lingo when you are talking about "medicating" with the GP. It also shows you doctor that you are both respectful aswell as savvy when it comes to your medication.
This may also allow the doctor to modify their own perspective on "marijuana" and see it as the scientifically acclaimed medication that it is.
Then begin by telling them what you use aswell as how you use it and in which ways that it benefits you (such as it could be relieving symptoms or medication side effects or it could be helping you to change from some real strong medication) this can then show the doctor that you are being proactive about your health and that you are using cannabis with intention and purpose. this will also open opportunity t prove that cannabis is making a measurable difference and improvement in the treatment and your overall health.
When re-appropriating the proper name and narrative there exists a opportunity for patient and providers, together to change that misconception that cannabis is a illicit and addictive drug, and instead promote it as a broadly appropriate, effective and reputable medicine.
You will probably never know where your doctor stands on the matter unless you're transparent and let them know here you stand.
When you've made the decision to come clean to your GP he will be one of the two things, either he will be cool with it or he won't. The positive outcome will most likely strengthen your patient - doctor relationship and your doctor will then appreciate your honesty and openness and reciprocate your trust. They can then ensure you that their ongoing treatment options for you will not negatively interact with your cannabis and vice versa.
In Some cases you might find that you know more than your doctor about medicating with cannabis, right now this is overwhelmingly the case. The in other cases you might find that your doctor knows far more about cannabis medicine than you do, and quite frankly that's what you should expect really given they are such learned people.
For some this knowledge can ignite a new found passion for all types of natural therapies and you may find that your doctor may become a wonderful resource for you via their ability to counsel you on dosing management, methods of use and other synergistic therapy.
Although some doctors are accepting of your cannabis usage you may find that some of them won't participate in writing any recommendations (in medical states) or be comfortable in directing your care in the use of marijuana. This is still a positive outcome though and many GP's will refer you to a cannabis specialist if they know of one.
If the Doctor is opposed to you using cannabis
Well this is one of the less favourable outcomes. The worst case scenario is that the doctor withdraw care and reject you from their practice altogether because of your cannabis use.
This is a massive concern for patients who have a condition which they are medicated with Opioid painkillers because of chronic pain. It isn't compassionate care and shouldn't be condoned because despite the overprescription of Opioids for pain relief if the patient's medication is just stopped it can end up in being life threateningly dangerous. Patients should be slowly weaned from those kinds of painkillers as to prevent the symptoms of withdrawal, however cannabis is a brilliant medicine in helping with this.
If you fear that you may end up being pushed out of your surgery, here is a few things you can do prior.
1. Find a cannabis specialist to oversee your care directly.
2. Ask a cannabis specialist to talk to your primary doctor on your behalf, even if that means finding someone else to take care of you ultimately.
3. In general, and where possible, see a doctor who meets YOUR standards and accepts you, your opinions, and your autonomy in making decisions for yourself.
Health Insurance & other legal considerations
Unfortunately health insurers dont cover drugs which are unapproved by the FDA and cannabis still remains a Schedule I drug according to The Controlled Substance Act and as such cannabis products, medical cannabis cards and doctor visit for the counsel on on medicating with cannabis won't be covered by your health insurance.
HIPAA guidelines don't expressly prohibit your health insurer or employer from reviewing your medical records but you can rest assured that a outside standard billing coding practices their perusal of your records isn't that typical. Also discrimination on the basis of cannabis use is also very unusual for a insurance company.
To summarize its highly recommended that you talk to your doctor about your cannabis use, if it's your GP or cannabis specialist, especially if you are aiming to treat a medical condition or just to replace your prescribed drugs
Make sure that you arm yourself up with plenty of knowledge about your cannabis regimen, your rights as a patient/cannabis user, and your employer's stance on cannabis, in order to not only optimize you marijuana routine but to protect yourself as a cannabis patient aswell.
Have you talked with your regular doctor about medicating with cannabis? How did it go? Any advice for fellow cannoisseurs? Please let us know