Stigma and Barriers associated with discussing medicinal cannabis with your doctor
Looking to discuss medical cannabis with your doctor, but you’re afraid? A great deal of stigma exists concerning cannabis consumption. Research looked at the perceptions of cannabis as a stigmatized medicine. This qualitative study found individuals worry about being labeled a “pot-head” and also as a criminal. The legal status of cannabis may make consumers feel like criminals despite the growing number of benefits. Fortunately, the U.S. is making progress towards legalization. Unfortunately, the majority of states still criminalize marijuana. The federal government continues to classify cannabis along with harsh drugs. These facts make many of us scared of the labels, repercussions, and legalities.
Research in Canada looked at the barriers existing for those using cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Their research found a number of barriers exist in looking at accommodation, accessibility, availability, affordability, and acceptability. Luckily, Canada is ahead of the legalizing game. They realized the ineffectiveness of these obstacles and decided to make change happen. Further research shows doctors have hesitations with prescribing marijuana. Although this is the case, lawyers setting up shop in the states that legalized cannabis may help ease your doctor’s worries. All of these factors can make us nervous in approaching our docs about cannabis. With all this in mind, creating a plan when consulting your doctor can help you out in the long run.
A prescription may be an option depending on where you live
Lionel Marks de Chabris, MD created a handout on speaking to your doctor about medical cannabis. Lionel practices in Canada. He focuses his practice on pain management and addiction medicine. He reviews a step-by-step process in consulting your doctor. His six steps are sure to help you get the answer you want to hear.
Six steps in getting the “yes” for a cannabis prescription:
- Use Your Therapeutic Relationship
- Book the right kind of appointment
- Get on your doctor’s side
- Do some research
- Be helpful
- Make it easy for your doctor
What about the states where weed is illegal?
Opening up to your doctor about cannabis may feel scary. Especially when living in states where weed is illegal. With this in mind, you might consider simply asking your physician about their stance on medical cannabis. Furthermore, remember your doctor should keep everything you discuss confidentially. If you are worried about cannabis interacting with one of your medications, diagnoses, or general health just ask a medical professional. You can always do some of your own research as well!
If you are working with someone who holds a more dated stance on the matter, consider finding a new doctor. Physicians in these states may not endorse the use, but they may still give helpful tips. To your surprise, your doctor could be more open minded than you think. It is smart to be cautious because you do not want anything used against you. One day society will not hold so much stigma around cannabis. It is important to talk to your doctor but be sure to go about it the right away.