How to Ask Your Doctor if Medical Marijuana is Right for You

Mark Lally, Delaware's Medical Marijuana pioneer and CEO of First State Compassion.
Mark Lally, Delaware’s Medical Marijuana pioneer and CEO of First State Compassion.

You know the adage – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Your physician is there to help you live your best life. If you think medical marijuana will alleviate some of your symptoms – speak with your doctor. Ask questions.

There’s no need to feel uncomfortable. Although there is still some stigma around medical cannabis, there is nothing illegal or inappropriate about discussing it with your doctor (the First Amendment protects you both). Your current primary care physician is the best person to talk to first, but if you do feel uneasy, find a doctor with a medical cannabis specialty.

By law, First State Compassion (FSC) is not permitted to refer patients to physicians, and vice versa, but we can help you by providing these tips on having a meaningful, productive conversation with a physician:

  • Be Prepared: Your doctor might not be familiar with the medicinal properties of cannabis, so you should do some homework beforehand on how medical cannabis can help you manage your condition and its symptoms. Research which product or delivery method you prefer — smoking, topical, capsules, etc. You might be the patient who educates your doctor or changes their mind about medical cannabis.
  • Be Transparent: Your conversation is confidential. Let your doctor know what you want to use, why you want to use it and what you’d like the outcome to be. If you’ve already experimented with medical cannabis, let them know. Make it clear how you plan to use medical cannabis to manage your condition.
  • Be Inquisitive: Even if your doctor is well-versed in the medical benefits of marijuana, he or she shouldn’t be the only one talking. Ask questions: Will medical cannabis interact well with your other medications? Are there studies about cannabis treatment and your condition? What cannabis would be best for your condition? Your doctor should be able to add to your research. If you don’t get the information you’re looking for, find another medical professional and ask for their insight on whether cannabis might be right for you.
  • Be Ready to Walk Away: After all your research and candid conversations with your doctor, he or she may still feel apprehensive about recommending medical marijuana. Perhaps their practice does not allow them to certify cannabis treatment. Respect their decision but don’t stop pursuing a conversation – find another doctor who is willing to make medical cannabis part of your treatment.
FSC Patient Advisor Louise Lewis

We work hard to keep our patient’s trust, and love that our job is helping to relieve pain and making life a little easier. Our patient advisors at FSC are all trained to answer your questions.

Remember, doctors do not write prescriptions for medical marijuana; they provide certification that a patient has a qualifying condition.

Always remember to be your own advocate. Find a doctor who’ll collaborate with you on a treatment program. Remember, this is your health, your quality of life, your decision.

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