The first step most people take when they want to learn more about medical cannabis or they feel it’s the right choice for them is to talk to their family doctor or another medical practitioner.
Why Would a Doctor Not Approve You for Medical Marijuana?
Picture the scene; You turn up at your doctor’s office, hand over your consultation fee, and wait anxiously. But after your assessment, your hopes are left in ruins as your doctor denies your request. If you end up in this position, you might feel disappointed, frustrated, even angry. But all is not lost.
Getting an MMJ recommendation depends on having one of the ‘qualifying conditions‘ that are listed by your state’s program. The conditions that will get you approved for an MMJ card depend on where you live, but some of the most common include:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Cancer/cancer treatment
- Chronic pain
You Don’t Have a Bona Fide Relationship with Your Physician
Most states’ medical marijuana programs require you to have a ‘bona fide relationship’ with the physician who makes your recommendation. Precisely what this means is open to interpretation, though. According to the New Jersey Division of Medicinal Marijuana, for example, it could mean one of three things:
- You have been registered with your doctor for at least one year
- You have visited your doctor a minimum of four times
- Your doctor has carried out a detailed consultation including medical history, physical exam, and review of your complete medical records
Once again, the exact requirements will vary state by state. Essentially, your physician must be responsible for your ongoing care, not just approving you for medical weed.
You Just Want Recreational Weed
If you are trying to get cannabis for recreational use, an MMJ assessment is probably not the answer. If you go to your doctor hoping to convince them you need marijuana by inventing some condition or exaggerating symptoms, they will likely be able to tell. In this scenario, there is a very good chance that you will be turned down and end up wasting precious time and money.
Your Doctor is Too Old-Fashioned
We now live in an enlightened era where the medicinal value of cannabis is beginning to be recognized. Unfortunately, though, some physicians seem to be stuck in the past. While some doctors may straight-up disapprove of marijuana, others might just be uneducated.
If your doctor feels they do not know enough about cannabis and its uses, they may not approve you for that reason alone.
As much as medical marijuana is now becoming more accepted in the medical community, there are still many doctors who hesitate to authorize it for their patients. Some doctors believe cannabis isn’t legitimate medicine, no matter what the research says, and you’re unlikely to change their mind. What can you do if your doctor has said no?
Get a Referral
One thing you can do if your doctor says no to medical cannabis is to ask them for a referral. Your doctor may be willing to refer you to a medical cannabis clinic for further follow-up. This is likely if your doctor isn’t sure of the latest research or isn’t comfortable authorizing medical cannabis due to limited knowledge.
If your doctor is unconvinced medical marijuana can be a legitimate treatment for your condition, they may not wish to refer you to a clinic. Some clinics allow patient self-referral. You can schedule a medical cannabis consultation with the staff at the clinic for further follow-up. If nothing else, this can give you peace of mind.
Find a New Doctor
If your doctor fits into the old-fashioned/uneducated category, your best bet is to simply find a new one. There are plenty of physicians who specialize in medical marijuana, and finding one could be as easy as a Google search.
Just remember, you need to have a bona fide relationship with your doctor to be approved, so find out precisely what this means in your state.
Increase your chances of getting approved by finding a physician who specializes in medical marijuana, or at least knows something about its use. You can then get your medical records transferred and book in for your consultation.
What Happens at a Consultation?
During a medical cannabis consultation, the medical professionals at the clinic will discuss medical marijuana as an option for you. You can ask them questions, and they’ll likely ask you about your medical history and why you believe medical cannabis might be the right choice for you.
At the end of the consultation, the medical practitioner will likely give you their opinion. They may send you back to your doctor with a recommendation for cannabis. In some cases, they may issue the authorization themselves. In other cases, they may agree with your doctor that medical cannabis isn’t the right choice for you.
This is similar to seeking a second opinion. Your doctor is knowledgeable and you likely trust them to look after your health. They don’t know everything, however, so following up with an expert who deals with medical cannabis patients on a regular basis could give you more insight.
If you’re curious about medical cannabis but your doctor won’t authorize it for you, consider getting a second opinion from a medical cannabis clinic. At the very least, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve followed up.
Try Getting Approved Online
If you happen to live in California, New York, or Nevada, you could try getting approved for medical marijuana online. Companies like NuggMD offer fast and affordable online services to help you get an MMJ card.
Because these companies specialize in medical marijuana, they might offer you your best chance of getting a recommendation with the minimum amount of hassle.
At the end of the day, getting a medical marijuana recommendation isn’t just down to your doctor; it’s also down to you. So do your research, be prepared, and hopefully, you will be on your way to the dispensary in no time at all!