Speaking With Your Physician About Medical Cannabis
Talking with your doctor about how medical cannabis can be part of your overall treatment plan can seem intimidating. The best way to approach your physician is from a position of knowledge. Learn what protections physicians really have so you can inform them and help them understand its legal and ethical for them to recommend cannabis as a treatment option for their qualifying patients.
Physicians have countless hours of training in a wide variety of areas, but many are unfamiliar with current research that supports the recommendation of medical cannabis as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for many debilitating medical conditions and their treatments. We have provided you with this information so you can discuss cannabis with your doctor from an informed perspective.
C3® Patients Association can help. Our website provides or directs patients to volumes of information including relevant medical studies and a support network to help you through this process. For patients with chronic pain, it can sometimes seem like there is no possibility for relief, but there is hope and we are here to assist you.
Does it work?
Yes. “Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation;…” – Institute of Medicine, Marijuana, and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, 1999.
Medical Cannabis has demonstrated efficacy in treating the symptoms of a wide range of diseases including:
Cancer • AIDS/HIV • Alzheimer’s • Multiple Sclerosis • Chrohn’s Disease • Intractable Neuropathic and Chronic Pain
Medical cannabis’s synergistic effects with other drugs allow patients to use lower doses of opiate pain relievers.
Unlike the so-called marijuana pill, Marinol, the whole plant contains all 70 cannabinoids shown to have health benefits, not just one – THC. It is less expensive and dosages are easier to control.
Is it Safe?
Yes. There are numerous studies demonstrating medical cannabis’s safety and efficacy. There is no known lethal dose of cannabis or any documented case of anyone ever dying from marijuana overdose or allergic reaction. Even common aspirin causes over 1,000 American deaths annually.
The DEA’s own Chief Administrative judge, Francis Young, after an exhaustive hearing stretching over many months and hundreds of pages of testimony from patients, health care providers, addictions specialists and law enforcement officers concluded the following:
“The cannabis plant considered as a whole has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is no lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision…”
Is My Doctor Protected Under Federal Law?
Yes. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that doctors may discuss medical cannabis with their patients and may issue written recommendations for its use as part of a comprehensive treatment plan – Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (2002). When this ruling was appealed again, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, allowing the decision to stand. It is also the current policy of President Obama’s Administration not to prosecute medical marijuana cases where no state laws are being violated. Compassionate doctors in California need not fear to lose their federal license to dispense controlled substances.
- Discuss, fully and candidly, the risks and benefits of medical cannabis with patients.
- Recommend (or Approve, Endorse, Suggest, or Advise, etc.), in accordance with their medical judgment, cannabis for patient use.
- Record in their patients’ charts discussions about and recommendations of medical cannabis.
- Sign a government form or otherwise inform state or local officials that they have recommended medical cannabis for particular patients.
- Testify in court or through written declaration about recommending medical cannabis for a certain patient.
- Educate themselves about the medical benefits of cannabis, its various clinical applications, and different routes of ingestion.