Cannabis has been used to treat pain and other common ailments throughout human history for thousands of years. Medical cannabis is legal in every state in Australia. Yet, it’s still surrounded by stigma and is a topic of debate in many countries. 

Many patients who want to try medicinal cannabis don’t feel confident opening a conversation about cannabis with their doctor. It can be a sensitive topic as not all healthcare professionals are open to discussing alternative treatments. It’s a conversation worth having if you believe that plant-based medicine could help improve your quality of life. Let’s explore ways patients can begin this discussion with a doctor. 

Understand that medicinal cannabis is legal 

One of the most common sources of frustration and fear among patients who want to try medical cannabis is the stereotype that cannabis is illegal. In Australia, medical cannabis is legal medicine, as long as it’s sourced from suitable suppliers and accessed with a proper prescription from a qualified medicinal cannabis doctor. 

Learn about the foundational concepts of medicinal cannabis 

If you want to ensure a productive discussion with your doctor, inform yourself about the basics of medical cannabis. Research how medical cannabis is made, the differences between CBD and THC, how the endocannabinoid system works, the cost and eligibility requirements. 

Prepare for the conversation 

Get ready for any questions your doctor may ask. In Australia, you must have a chronic medical condition and a history of failed conventional treatments, or concerns about side effects from conventional treatments, to be considered for medical cannabis. Collate your medical documents and jot down your experiences so you won’t forget any important details during your discussion. It could be useful to create a table that lists all the symptoms you’ve experienced and what treatments were used to combat them – if they did or didn’t work and any mental or physical side effects. 

List your expectations for the treatment 

Although there’s strong evidence to back the use of medical cannabis for certain conditions, there can be side effects for some patients. It’s useful to understand the benefits of medical cannabis, how it differs from your current medications and the potential side effects of using it as an alternative treatment option.   

Learn how to start the conversation 

The hardest part about talking to your doctor about medical cannabis is knowing how to start the conversation. Patients often begin by telling their doctor about an article they’ve read about medical cannabis. You could start the conversation with, “Yesterday, I came across an article about medical cannabis, and it got me interested. What do you think about this?” By opening the discussion this way, you can gauge your doctor’s reaction and feelings about the topic. 

Prepare yourself for rejection 

Because of the ongoing debate about cannabis as a medicinal treatment, some doctors may shut down the idea of exploring it. If your doctor’s first impression isn’t what you’d hoped, respectfully ask if you could continue the conversation. Listen to why your doctor may not recommend the use of medical cannabis and bring your research, medical history and experiences to the discussion. 

Either way, go into your appointment with confidence and an open mind. Hear your doctor out and be prepared with your own points too, so you can have an informed discussion to help you decide if medical cannabis is the right option for your condition.

A shame-free experience awaits. Get connected with a medical cannabis doctor at myeden.

This article is intended as general information and is not a substitute for medical advice from your treating doctor.  You must always speak with your doctor about the appropriate treatment for you based on your individual health circumstances.