How to Talk to Your Doctor About Medical Cannabis


By Nicolas Gonzalez-Podesta, Contributor Jan. 12, 2018


Cannabis can ease a variety of ailments, and different strains do different things. The Associated Press

Medical cannabis is legal in 29 states (and recreational use is legal in eight), but thanks to longstanding myths, there’s still some stigma around talking about it with medical professionals. In fact, a recent survey of medical cannabis patients in California found an almost universal fear of being labeled a “stoner” – this despite a poll of doctors showing 76 percent favored the use of medical cannabis (even if they weren’t quite sure of the best ways to go about it).


So how can you bring it up with your doctor? Here are a few tips.


Do Your Homework

Cannabis can ease a variety of ailments, and different strains do different things. Unfortunately, most medical schools don’t educate doctors about the science of the endocannabinoid system, and instead teach that cannabis is a drug of abuse. That means many doctors don’t know the conditions that cannabis can help, nor the various ways it can be consumed – so you’ll need to have some of that basic knowledge yourself. (Want to really impress? Print a copy of Dr. Ethan Russo’s “Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System” and bring it along.)

Be Honest

Your communication with your doctor is confidential, so if you’re already consuming cannabis, you should feel comfortable saying so (and if your doctor’s worried they’ll get in trouble for talking about it with you, they’re legally protected, too – the Supreme Court says so).