Guide to Medical Marijuana – Chapter 7

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Medical Marijuana

The healthcare field as an industry has evolved a great deal over the last couple of decades. Gone are the days when doctors were the only voice you listened to, and patients had little choice in their treatment and care. As is often the case, you know your body better than anyone, and you know when something isn’t quite right.

This is why it is up to you to act as an advocate for your own health and quality of life. You need to conduct research about your condition and explore your treatment options. One option some people today remain reluctant to discuss with their doctors is the issue of medical marijuana. This chapter provides you with tools and information on how to talk to your physician about it.

Gather the Facts

Before you discuss medical marijuana with your doctor, you need to understand a variety of facts. You want to know more than the basic medical marijuana laws and regulations in your state and community — in some states, the laws vary from one city to the next. You also need to have the facts about the following:

  • Will medical marijuana affect your ability to do your job?
  • Can you be fired from your job for taking medical weed?
  • Do you risk losing security clearances necessary for your employment due to medical marijuana use?
  • What if you’re required to travel across state lines while using medical marijuana?
  • Can you buy medical marijuana in other states if you travel for business or recreation?

The answers vary from person to person, job to job and state to state. You will need to conduct this research according to laws in your specific state and the rules of the company you work for.

While many states do have laws in place protecting the use of various medical cannabis types, the federal government has not yet come around. You need to understand all potential sides of the issue, so you can go to your doctor armed with accurate information when you decide to have this important conversation.

Other things you need to know, beyond medical marijuana regulations in your state, involves the conditions medical cannabis is used to treat and how they relate to you and your ability to qualify for medical marijuana cards.

As we detailed in Chapter Five, some of the conditions commonly treated by medical weed, include:

medical marijuana to treat diabetes symptoms

There is also evidence to support medical marijuana can help with many of the symptoms of diabetes such as neuropathy and help to prevent incidents of diabetes-related blindness. And medical cannabis is used to treat severe nausea, which is a symptom or side effect of some conditions and treatments, respectively. In other words, medical marijuana isn’t only about treating the conditions themselves. Sometimes, it’s about treating the symptoms of conditions you may have.

So, before you talk to your doctor, conduct your own research and find out for yourself if medical marijuana is something you’re interested in taking and if your condition is qualified in your state for use.

Understand the Basics

Arm yourself with some basic information before beginning the cannabis conversation with your doctor. This includes:

  1. How Do You Ingest Medical Marijuana?

Several methods of ingesting medical marijuana are available for you to choose from, and each one offers its strengths and weaknesses. Options include:

The key is to find the method that’s not only the most palatable to you, but that will also provide the most direct benefits for your condition. You must also take other health considerations into account as well. An example is smoking marijuana, which might exacerbate asthma, allergies or respiratory conditions, and physicians don’t recommend this method for people with certain lung conditions.

side effects of smoking

  1. How Does Medical Marijuana Work?

If you have one of the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in your state, and your doctor is approved to write recommendations for medical cannabis, you’ll be issued a medical marijuana card. This card allows you to shop from state-licensed dispensaries for your medical marijuana prescription — among the types of medical marijuana available for purchase in your state and your condition.

  1. What Are Cannabinoids?

“Cannabinoids” is a term used to refer to various chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant. These compounds create medicinal responses when they interact with certain cells in your body. The two best known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Together they offer medicinal benefits for a huge list of conditions.

Beginning the Conversation With Your Doctor

While many medical professionals have come around to the idea of medical marijuana, there are still some who are hesitant to bring it up to patients. Some fear their patients will be reluctant to consider the benefits of medical cannabis, while others may have their own reservations.

This places the onus on you to get the conversation started, in many cases. The best place to begin is with your primary physician. They understand your condition best and know the pain you’re in, the quality of life issues you face and the treatments you’ve already tried with little, if any, success.

The best way to start the conversation is becoming knowledgeable about medical marijuana. Make sure you print off information from reputable sources online, like here at, about how medical cannabis is being used to treat your condition, success rates and quality of life improvements. You might even want to bring in information from studies conducted on medical weed to treat your condition. The more information you have from reputable sources, the more likely you are to know whether medical cannabis might be an option for you.

Be Honest

Sincerity is the best policy when starting this conversation with your doctor. If you come into the conversation armed with the facts, as you know them, and questions of your own, it lets your doctor know you’re taking the matter seriously and haven’t made your mind up one way or another.

Of course, it pays to come into the conversation with an open mind and listen to what your doctor has to say about medical cannabis and whether they believe it can help you with your condition.

Make Your Case

Chances are you’ve given this a lot of thought. Many of the patients who decide to try medical marijuana are living with constant pain and suffering from chronic conditions.

When you talk to your doctor, be sure to:

  • Talk about how your illness or the pain you’re experiencing interferes with your quality of life.
  • Discuss how it impairs your ability to complete menial tasks — much less continue to work — and how you are desperate for something to provide you with a break from the pain or symptoms.
  • Ask your doctor if they can offer any treatment that might deliver comparable results for the management of pain and other symptoms you’re experiencing.

Perhaps there are treatments your physician has not yet tried, believing you were coping well enough on your own. Sometimes, it is best to let your physician know the full extent of the pain you’re experiencing or the severity of your symptoms, so they can consider you for new treatment options.

Ask Pertinent Questions

bring up medical cannabis with your doctor

One of the most important things you can do when bringing up medical cannabis with your doctor is to come armed with studies, statistics and formulas as well as a list of questions of your own. Some of the questions you might want to consider addressing with your doctor when discussing medicinal weed, include the following:

  • Will medical marijuana interfere or interact with medications you’re currently taking?
  • How will medical cannabis affect your current treatment plan?
  • Does your doctor have recommendations about which types of medical marijuana will work best for your condition?
  • Are there potential side effects of medical cannabis you should be concerned about?

These questions bring your doctor into the decision-making process, but it also reminds them that ultimately decisions about your health are up to you.

Be Ready to Move On

If your personal physician is reluctant to consider the potential benefit medical marijuana has to offer you and your condition, you aren’t likely to change their mind by arguing the point. Accept your doctor’s opinion, and seek a second opinion from another doctor who is more open to the idea of medical marijuana as a treatment.

Through the web portal at, you can search for a doctor with a medical cannabis practice. Upon doing so, you can view the directory of doctors along with reviews, location information, hours of service and more.

Be prepared, however, that just because a doctor is willing to recommend medical marijuana doesn’t mean they will do so in your case. Most physicians consider medical cannabis on a case-by-case basis, and you’ll likely be required to demonstrate a genuine need for this treatment for a doctor to recommend it.