Do I Have to Keep the Same Marijuana Doctor, or Can I Switch?
Posted by Glenn Beierle on 03/06/2018 in Medical Marijuana
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
When medical marijuana became legal in your state, you probably jumped at the ability to purchase an all-natural medicine that would treat the symptoms of your chronic illness. Unfortunately, that may mean you chose a doctor quickly without doing your research or getting to know them first.
Because of the close relationship patients must share with their marijuana doctors, it is entirely understandable to want to find a different physician to manage your medical cannabis treatment plan — but are you allowed to? The simple answer is yes, but there are a few factors you should consider before making the switch.
Can I Change Marijuana Doctors?
Just like any other medical professional, you should see a marijuana doctor you trust and feel comfortable with. And since insurance companies do not cover cannabis medicine, you can choose whichever practice you like best, whether it’s due to location, cost or the atmosphere.
Of course, there is a significant stipulation. Some states require medical cannabis patients to have a “bona fide” relationship with the doctor who is recommending they use marijuana to treat their symptoms. While the definition of this varies by state, patients typically must see a doctor for at least a few weeks before they can have their recommendation renewed by that physician.
The best way to get around this is to start seeing a different marijuana physician while you still have a valid recommendation from your other doctor. Even though you won’t be getting any physical medicine from your new doctor on these visits, you’ll be establishing that relationship. So, when it’s time to renew your recommendation, your new cannabis doctor can do it for you. Be sure to have both your family doctor and your old marijuana doctor send all your medical records to your new cannabis physician.
When to Change Marijuana Doctors
Establishing a relationship with your new cannabis doctor may seem like a lot of work, but it’s not worth seeing a physician you don’t agree or get along with. At what point should you make a move to find a different marijuana doctor? Look out for these signs:
- Your Doctor Isn’t Listening to You: Marijuana medicine is an incredibly new endeavor in the medical world. That means your physician might not know precisely how every patient will react to the medicine — and that’s OK, as long as they listen to your concerns. If you’re experiencing adverse side effects from cannabis that your doctor doesn’t seem to be addressing, it could be time to find a new physician.
- You Dread Going to See Your Doctor: Whether it’s due to the long drive, the pricey co-pay or just the uncomfortable feeling you get when you visit your doctor, you shouldn’t dread going to an appointment. Ask yourself why you hate going to see your marijuana doctor, then find a new one based on your answer.
- You’re Seeing Minimal Results: While medical marijuana doesn’t work for everyone, simply seeing a different doctor could make all the difference in the world if your medicine isn’t helping your symptoms. Even if you love your physician, getting a second opinion and a fresh perspective on your treatment plan could drastically improve your experience with medical cannabis.
Changing Marijuana Doctors vs. Staying With the Same One
While patients can go to any marijuana doctor at any time, it may not always be the best move. Some pros to staying with your current physician include:
- Less Work: Since you must establish a working relationship with your cannabis doctor, you may have to attend extra appointments before making the switch, which can be time-consuming.
- Consistent Care: By using the same physician, you ensure the most consistent care — keep in mind that “consistent” does not translate to “best.”
- Familiarity: You’re already familiar with the location, cost and staff at your current practice. By switching, you’d have to re-accustom yourself to an entirely new place.
Meanwhile, patients who change marijuana doctors can benefit from:
- A Fresh Perspective: Seeing a new doctor puts a new perspective on your treatment. A new physician could think of options your old one never knew about, such as switching to a different strain or ingestion method to combat some of your individual side effects to the medicine.
- Improved Experience: Whether it’s the cost, location, attitude or environment of your current marijuana doctor’s office that’s making you uncomfortable, choosing a new practice based on those deterrents will improve your overall experience.
How to Change Marijuana Doctors
Once you’ve decided it’s time to give it a go with a different cannabis physician, the first move is to start your search. You’ll want to look for a practice that is nearby, budget-friendly and effective. Look at reviews from current patients to decide whether a particular physician is right for you — but remember, a negative review from one patient could translate into a positive one for you.
For example, one patient may not like that a doctor asks a lot of questions about your condition or reactions to your treatment, while another patient will appreciate it. It’s smart to write down a list of things you are looking for in a doctor before starting your search so you can focus on finding out about those things. You may want to see a physician who has worked with patients who have epilepsy, for example.
If a practice seems perfect for you but doesn’t have many reviews, don’t hesitate to call the office and ask any questions you have. The right one will be willing to work with you and understand you’re doing all this research because you care about your health. They may even have additional marketing materials they can provide you with for more information.
Find a New Doctor at MarijuanaDoctors.com
Ready to start your search for a reliable, friendly cannabis doctor near you? At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we have compiled a database of marijuana doctors and dispensaries in every state for patients to browse. All our listings have been thoroughly vetted to ensure they are legitimate, comfortable practices and dispensaries that follow the laws in their state.
Don’t keep seeing a marijuana doctor you can’t get along with. Use our resources to find a new cannabis-friendly physician today.