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Talking to Your Doctor About Medical Cannabis
Be forthright. There is nothing wrong or illegal about discussing medical cannabis with your doctor. Federal courts have ruled that the First Amendment protects doctors in discussing medical cannabis and recommending it to their patients. Doctors are accustomed to patients bringing ideas to them about treatment options and preferences, and cannabis therapeutics should be no different.
Your doctor may be unfamiliar with medical cannabis and hesitant to recommend it, so bring documentation to explain the science and support your experience. ASA has created a series of educational booklets for this very reason. Our Condition-based Booklets and other research can be found in the publications section of the website. Your doctor may not have an understanding of the local laws either. You may also consider bringing them relevant forms and website links for your state. Look up your state and visit the Recommending Cannabis page.
A primary care physician with an understanding of your medical history is the best person to consult first about medical cannabis. However, we understand that not everyone has a regular doctor, and many physicians remain unfamiliar with the medical uses of cannabis or are afraid of getting in trouble. In addition, some patients are concerned with their current health insurance company finding out about their use of medical cannabis. For these and other reasons, many patients consult one of the many doctors with a specialty practice in medical cannabis. No matter what doctor you see, here are some pointers:
Understand your state requirements and ask for a written recommendation. Bring copies of required paperwork for your state. Look up your state and visit the Becoming a Patient and Recommending Cannabis page.
Be prepared to tell your doctor specifically what condition or symptoms you treat with cannabis therapeutics. If you have medical records related to the condition or symptoms, bring them. Honestly describe how long you've had the problem, when you began treating with cannabis, the amount of cannabis you use, how often, and by what delivery method.
If your regular doctor will not issue a recommendation, you may choose to visit a physician who is a medical cannabis specialist.
Finding a Doctor if You Don't Already Have One, or if Your Regular Doctor Will Not Issue a Recommendation
There are a number of specialty physicians and clinics available for consultations in states with medical cannabis laws. Before seeing a medical cannabis specialist, patients should already have medical records of diagnosis and treatment or a physician referral. Be aware that:
You should take your medical records with you to the appointment.
It generally costs $100 or more to see a medical cannabis specialist. (Paying for a consultation does not guarantee you a recommendation.)
Time with the doctor and quality of care can vary among medical cannabis specialists.
Letter to Your Doctor