For patients of various medical conditions, the legalization of medical marijuana in 33 U.S. states and multiple countries across the globe is a huge blessing. The discovery of the growing list of health benefits of cannabis, including CBD and other compounds derived from the plant, has made it one of the most prized items in the medical and business world today. Aside from the patients who seek relief to their conditions with this plant, many entrepreneurs and traders are also planning to cash in from investing in this plant.
At the back of the booming medical cannabis industry are qualified physicians with enough knowledge to prescribe different strains and products to their patients. One of the requirements in purchasing medicinal marijuana from dispensaries in your area is the prescription issued by a licensed doctor. Because of this, you can now encounter medical marijuana doctors near your place.
Medical cannabis doctors are physicians who are given all the rights and privileges to practice their profession using cannabis as primary medication or treatment option. They are pretty much like traditional doctors. Many of them, like Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, had been practicing physicians who were cautious of marijuana’s healing powers. But after reading volumes of medical literature on the potency of the plant in treating multiple ailments and encountering many patients who were helped by using cannabis products, they eventually became avid promoters of the plant.
On top of their credentials and license as full-fledged doctors, these physicians also received cannabis training from reputable institutions. They have gained education on the various cannabis strains as well as edibles, supplements, and other products infused with CBD, THC, or other cannabinoids.
But while consulting medical marijuana doctors can be a blessing for treating your condition, they can also put your health at risk. Their lack of experience and knowledge about cannabis can lead to reckless prescriptions that may aggravate your health condition. Remember, medical negligence and malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Even a small mistake in prescription may lead to more severe conditions and death.
Another issue is the legality of the medical marijuana prescribed by your doctor. Each state has its list of regulations on the which types of strains and cannabis products are legal in your state, as well as their uses and permissible amounts. Cannabis doctors should be aware of this list to avoid endangering their patients from getting arrested or facing penalties.
For your safety, you must find out whether the cannabis doctors in your area are qualified for their job. The Western Journal of Medicine published a list of qualifications:
- Comply with all state initiatives in tracking marijuana sources and patients using it for medical purposes
Each state has its measures to check the origins of marijuana as well as the patients using it as a medicine. Up to this day, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), meaning the plant is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government because of its potential for abuse. Each state, even where recreational marijuana is legal, has its unique set of initiatives to make sure that the use of the plant does not lead to substance abuse.
- Check the patient’s history of marijuana and other substance use, including addiction
People who have a history of abuse and dependence of a particular substance are more likely to become abusive or addicted to another. To avoid relapse or recurrence of abuse with marijuana, medical cannabis doctors should find out whether you and their other patients have suffered from substance abuse and addiction.
- Advise their patients on the risks of medical marijuana, both short-term and long-term
Every medicine, including marijuana, can harm your health is misused or abused. Competent doctors should warn their patients about the risks of cannabis to their patients. Aside from giving prescriptions, they should also educate their patients about the nature of the plant, especially on the potential harm it causes to their mental and physical health.
- Received training or certification in reputable institutions on addiction medicine
Addiction to prescription cannabis is highly possible. As such, doctors must have enough training and knowledge in treating addiction to this substance, including the proper procedure in rehabilitating patients, in case they become dependent on the substance.
- Reviews usage and dosing recommendations
Each strain or product has a unique effect on a patient. Licensed doctors must advise their patients about which strain or product to recommend to their patient. They must also be keen about the right dosage of the products. Even the types of cannabis products that are considered safe (like CBD oil) can lead to harm when taking more than the recommended dosage.
- Confirm that other treatment methods were tried and failed
Cannabis is only one of the various techniques a doctor may prescribe to its patients. It is your doctor’s decision to check whether marijuana is a viable alternative or supplement to an existing treatment you are receiving. He or she also must have adequate knowledge about the effects of cannabis with regards to your specific health condition.
- Examine the health of the lungs of their patients when prescribing marijuana as a treatment method
Many people prefer to take marijuana through smoking or vaping. While this method can be beneficial to some conditions, they can be highly dangerous to others. Your doctor must have a thorough knowledge of the impact of smoking and vaping cannabis on your particular medical condition.
- Ensure the marijuana has standard THC levels and contains no contaminants
THC is the substance in cannabis that can cause intoxication and changes in behavior and mood. Despite its risky nature, it is also a useful substance in treating certain conditions. Aside from THC, some cannabis brands have toxic contaminants.
Doctors should then know the standard and recommended a percentage of THC in any marijuana products to ensure their patients are safe from unexpected intoxication and other harmful side effects.
To get the most of cannabis, including CBD products, you need to consult and obtain prescription only from competent medical marijuana doctor. By scanning the qualifications above, you can be sure that your health is in good hands while taking this plant.