How to Talk to Your Doctor About Getting Medical Marijuana

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Getting Medical Marijuana

How to Get Prescribed Medical Marijuana

We’re here to help. If you’re feeling hesitant about speaking with your doctor about getting medical marijuana, you’re not alone. Many Utahns are wondering about getting medical marijuana but are unsure how to find medical cannabis doctors or don’t understand how to get prescribed medical marijuana. Many Utah patients who could find relief from the natural plant won’t bring it up for fear of the possible reactions of family, friends, or church elders to getting prescribed medical marijuana. But one person you should never have to fear talking to about getting medical marijuana is your own doctor. Unfortunately, many people have trouble speaking to their doctor about the simplest of things, let alone a drug that’s been strictly forbidden for use in any form all of their lives.

It’s ok. And it’s natural to be hesitant about taking any form of drug. But take a moment to think about it. Every day, you’re likely to see and hear any number of pharmaceutical ads for all sorts of prescription medications. They all end with the same sequence of words: ask your doctor if <insert any drug name here> is right for you. So why is it so hard to have a conversation with your doctor about getting medical marijuana? It doesn’t have to be. With some preparation and a little knowledge of what marijuana is prescribed for, talking to a medical cannabis doctor about getting medical marijuana becomes a lot less intimidating and far more empowering than you might think.

What is Marijuana Prescribed For?

Qualifying conditions under the Utah Medical Cannabis Act are listed below:

  • HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • cancer
  • cachexia
  • persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to:
    • pregnancy
    • cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome
    • cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • epilepsy or debilitating seizures
  • multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is being treated and monitored by a licensed health therapist (defined here), and that:
    • has been diagnosed by a healthcare provider by the Veterans Administration and documented in the patient’s record; or
    • has been diagnosed or confirmed by evaluation from a psychiatrist, doctorate psychologist, a doctorate licensed clinical social worker, or a psychiatric APRN
  • autism
  • a terminal illness when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months
  • a condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care
  • a rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., as defined in federal law, and that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts using conventional medications (other than opioids or opiates) or physical interventions
  • pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed, in the qualified medical provider’s opinion, despite treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions

Talking to Your Doctor About Getting Medical Marijuana 

Be honest. Ask questions. And don’t fear judgment or prejudice for seeking out a medical cannabis doctor or even talking to your own healthcare provider. And remember, Church leaders addressed the medical marijuana issue, and a new section specifically about medical marijuana use was added to the Latter Day Saints’ handbook in July of 2020 and updated in December to clarify the stance on vaping medical marijuana, along with other topics. So go ahead, be your own advocate, and ask your provider about getting prescribed medical marijuana. And don’t be afraid to walk away and find another doctor if you find yours is fully against any form of marijuana use. Most doctors aren’t taught much about the body’s endocannabinoid system in medical school, and they may not be familiar with the numerous research studies supporting the medical benefits of the cannabis plant when prescribed for different serious health conditions.

Interested in getting medical marijuana? If your doctor is not a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP), don’t worry. You can find a list of medical cannabis doctors in Utah counties by clicking here. One note: many Utah QMP’s do not want their names posted publicly, so if you’re not sure if your doctor is a QMP, ask them. Have more questions? Visit the Utah Medical Cannabis Program website.

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