Talking To Your Doctor About Cannabis: A Guide

Talking To Your Doctor About Cannabis: A Guide

What To Expect And How To Best Navigate Your Experience


Often a trip to the doctor brings its own set of anxiety inducing feelings. If you use cannabis, this feeling can be heightened due to fears over the reaction of your healthcare provider, and “what if they find out”. With a few simple tips, talking to your healthcare provider about cannabis use can be an easier conversation than initially anticipated.

Doctor Patient Confidentiality Takes The Front Seat

First and foremost, doctor patient confidentiality is taken seriously by healthcare providers. Therefore, if you are concerned about other entities being alerted to your cannabis use due to your disclosure with your doctor, rest assured, barring a court order from a judge, you are legally protected. This protection encompasses anyone within the medical community with whom you disclose the information.

Pregnancy And Medical Cannabis Use

Doctors also cannot report cannabis positive blood and urine samples. Furthermore, in Arizona, the state Supreme Court ruled cannabis use during pregnancy with a medical marijuana card and under the care of a doctor does not constitute as neglect. The Court likened it to using any other prescribed medication.

What To Expect From Your Healthcare Provider

Each healthcare provider is likely to have varying reactions to their patient’s using cannabis, whether that use be medicinally or recreationally. As a result, it is best to prepare for the array of responses you may receive. On occasion, they will surprise you and be fully supportive of medicinal cannabis.

Starting the conversation with your doctor is always easier if you come in with a list of reasons you use cannabis, and how it has helped you navigate your daily health needs. Often times, it is easy to forget key points, coming in with a well thought list out lessens the load of having to recall any relevant details.

Medical marijuana is beginning to get the backing of documented research within the healthcare community. Having some of that research can help articulate your points with your healthcare provider. The medical field is a practice, and as a result is always learning, so sharing findings from other doctors should serve as an excellent point of reference for all parties involved.

Pain Management And Cannabis Use In Arizona

In Arizona, if you are in pain management and use cannabis, they will stop administering your pain medications. They will also administer routine urine tests to check for other drugs which are not being prescribed by pain management doctors. Unfortunately, this is non-negotiable in Arizona. Please note, this refers specifically to those who are prescribed pain medications through a pain management doctor. You are still able to receive pain medications for major surgeries or other short term ailments. Your doctors will however caution against cannabis use while using pain medications. Yet, research at the National Library of Medicine showed promise using cannabis to “promote opioid misuse”. The conclusion of the study urged the medical community to further explore their findings.

Transparency is generally the best practice when it comes to your relationship with your healthcare provider. For instance, some medications may have interactions with cannabis; for that reason, your doctor should know about your cannabis use. They will ask about any vitamins you are taking for the same reason.


Network With Your Community To Help Find Answers

As awareness about the medicinal benefits of cannabis spreads, the more doctors will accept their patient’s use of this alternative medicine. Healthcare providers are employed by you, the patient. This structure benefits the patient, allowing them to seek medical care from a provider who acknowledges the benefits of cannabis if their current provider is averse to medicinal cannabis use.

The benefit of living in a state with an established medical program results in more doctors being accepting of cannabis use for medical ailments. This has naturally established a community for patients to network with one another; empowering those seeking natural alternatives to align with healthcare providers with whom they can have an open and honest relationship.

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