In a previous article, we explained why you benefit from having a medical marijuana doctor. We used the example of a cancer patient on chemotherapy using multiple pharmaceutical drugs who experienced negative drug interactions using marijuana.
In states where a medical marijuana doctor recommendation is required for you to benefit from legalization, the need for a doctor is obvious, especially if state law allows qualified patients to grow their own cannabis.
But in most situations, even if you are merely a “recreational” marijuana user, you could get good info and advice from a medically-trained, science-based cannabis expert.
Problem is, most physicians who advertise themselves as medical marijuana doctors are just regular generalist doctors with no special knowledge about cannabis who decide to get into the medical marijuana industry to make a lot of money fast and easy.
I know this from personal experience and from journalistic research. I’ve contacted nearly 30 so-called medical marijuana doctors, and when I lived in a state that required me to spend several hundred dollars a year on a doctor’s marijuana recommendation, I visited several doctors.
What I discovered was that none of them specialized in cannabis medicine. They knew less about cannabis than I knew.
The typical appointment with these folks was me filling out a form, the doctor talking to me for a couple of minutes, and then being handed the official documents necessary for a medical cannabis card. There was no exam. No questions about my health.
When I queried these docs about the latest cannabis research, they didn’t know of any.
Their ideas about “safe cannabis use,” the differences between Sativa and Indica, marijuana’s medical benefits, and how to use cannabis in a healthy, active lifestyle were full of laughable inaccuracies.
And the sad fact is also that many doctors, not just medical marijuana doctors, are uncaring, unprofessional individuals who don’t really care about you—they’re merely profiteers.
The least-expensive medical cannabis doctor appointment I ever had cost $135, and in some places where there were few doctors or a doctor monopoly, it cost $200 or more, especially for the first appointment.
I was particularly indignant when medical marijuana doctors covertly affiliated with corporate marijuana dispensaries or product brands hyped specific dispensaries and products during a medical appointment. One doctor offered me a discount coupon for 15% off dab products at a specific local dispensary.
That’s why I’m giving you these methods of finding out if a doctor is worth going to. Before you book an appointment, do the following:
- Read everything on the doctor’s website, especially the doctor’s qualifications, credentials, testimonials and all information about cannabis.
- Look at online reviews of the doctor and his office.
- Check out the state’s medical licensing database to see if the doctor’s license is current, valid, and if any complaints or disciplinary actions have been filed against him.
- Contact the doctor’s office and ask the following questions:
- What does the doctor know about the endocannabinoid system and how cannabis affects it?
- What special training (if any) has the doctor had about cannabis?
- Is the doctor affiliated with specific cannabis dispensaries; does the doctor get financial benefit by recommending specific dispensaries or cannabis products?
- What does the doctor know about the effects and differences between different strains and categories of cannabis?
- What does the doctor know about the names, differences, and effects of individual cannabinoids and terpenoids?
- What does the doctor know about the different types of medical marijuana products (whole flowers, dabs, tinctures, dry sift, etc.)?
- What does the doctor know about using cannabis as medicine to help with specific condition(s) you suffer from?
- Is the doctor a member of any professional cannabis associations, seminar groups, or other organizations, and if so, which ones?
- What does the doctor know about cannabis dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal?
- Are the doctor’s services covered by health insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare? If not, why not, and how much out of pocket will you have to pay?
- Is the physician willing to become part of a multi-physician treatment team?
Yes, this is a long list of questions and you’ll discover many doctors and their staffs don’t want to provide enough information. Their lack of eagerness to provide comprehensive info is a sign you don’t want to give them your money or trust them with your health.
As I said earlier, in my experience and based on reports I’ve heard from many other cannabis consumers, most medical marijuana doctors lack sufficient knowledge and are mainly interested in money.
But don’t be disheartened—there is an organization dedicated to improving the knowledge base and quality of care of medical marijuana doctors. It’s called the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, and you can learn more about them here and ask them to help you find a skilled marijuana doctor near you.
Especially if you experience negative effects from cannabis, such as respiratory harms, dizziness, paranoia, depression, tolerance, dependence, or withdrawal, and/or if you already have serious health problems and are taking drugs other than cannabis, you certainly benefit from the care of a medical marijuana doctor.
In the case of cancer patient Terry, who we talked about in the previous article, his medical marijuana doctor worked with his cancer and pain management doctors to decrease the negative interactions between cannabis and his other drugs, and to get Terry into non-combustion cannabis use so he wasn’t harming his lungs.
He also certified Terry for a medical marijuana card, giving him access to cannabis dispensary products not usually available in the marijuana black market.
Now you know how to find the few doctors who actually care about patients, and who are trained in cannabis so they can give you good medical advice.