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Medical Cannabis:   A Realized Treatment Option

As a patient how do you start the conversation and have a positive outcome? Just start!

With medical cannabis literature emerging in media daily, it is apparent that more and more patients are seeking medical cannabis as a part of their medical management.  However, approaching your physician to make a recommendation for medical cannabis as a treatment option, for many, may still be quite uncomfortable and a difficult conversation to start.  A lot of factors and considerations are involved in making a decision to request a physician to make the recommendation.  Medical cannabis in some areas, may not be widely accepted.

While your physician is your partner in care, as a patient, how do you start a conversation that you perceive as being uncomfortable, difficult, embarrassing awkward or may have a stigma attached? Don’t let fear be a deterrent.   Be deliberate in your actions.  Have an action plan that yields both a positive outcome and a successful request for a recommendation for medical cannabis use.  Plan, Plan, Plan.

  1. Plan Your Visit

When you schedule your appointment make sure the person that is scheduling your visits with your physician understands what is needed during this visit i.e. I need to get my blood drawn, I need my prescriptions reordered and I will need 15 minutes to discuss my treatment plan and treatment options.  This will provide the person who is scheduling your appointment enough information to ensure your physician is allocated enough time to discuss your request for medical cannabis as a recommended treatment option.

  1. Plan Your Execution

Prior to the day of your visit, take some time to gather your thoughts.  As a patient, you have many rights.  For example, you have the right to participate in your care planning and to discuss treatment options.  You also have a voice in your type of care.  Remember, It is shared decision making.  This shared decision model is highly accepted in the practice of medicine.

Take time to think about your request to use medical cannabis.  Here are a couple of questions to get you started.

  1. Is your current treatment working for the condition and or symptoms that you are experiencing?
  2. Do you need something additional?
  3. What adverse effects are you experiencing?
  4. Why are you considering medical cannabis as a treatment options?
  5. What benefits are you seeking to gain? Write down your responses.

Practice the conversation with a family member or friend. This is a confidence builder that will help you focus your conversation and anticipate questions from your physician.


  1. Plan the Introduction of Your Request

Every conversation starts with a sentence.  Will yours start with a declarative, imperative, interrogative or exclamatory sentence?  Depending your comfort level, your relationship with your physician, and even the temperament during the visit, can determine the type of sentence you choose to start.

  1. A declarative sentence simply makes a statement. Example: Dr. Austin, I would like to use medical cannabis for pain relief.
  2. An imperative sentence gives a command or makes a request. Example: Dr. Austin, please take me very serious, I want to use medical cannabis as a treatment option for my pain relief. I need you to make that recommendation so that the proper documents can be completed.
  3. If you choose to start by asking question use an interrogative sentence to begin your request, for example – Dr. Austin, what are your thoughts about medical cannabis as a treatment option for my unresolved pain?
  4. Often patients are emotional and may use an exclamatory sentence, expressing a great deal of emotions such as excitement, surprise, happiness, fear or anger. Example: the exclamatory request may start like this, Dr. Austin, none of the medication that you prescribed for pain is working.  I a need a recommendation for Medical Cannabis today!  I have to try something different for relief!

There are many ways to start a request.  The examples are only tools to get you started.

  1. Plan For A Positive Outcome for A Successful Request and Recommendation for Medical Cannabis From Your Physician.

Most people have a difficult time planning to succeed simply because they fail to plan.  They are often frozen by fear and the thought of failing becomes quite over whelming.  Change your mind set.  You are being an active participant in your care and treatment options.  Remember, as a patient you have that right “shared decision making”. Positive and successful outcomes start with the first step of the plan.  In this case, when planning the physician visit, go to the visit with the intention of getting what you want out of that visit — the recommendation to use medical Cannabis from your physician.

Now it is time to execute your plan.  Just Start!

What Ailments Qualify For Medical Cannabis in Pennsylvania

Patients in Pennsylvania diagnosed with one of the following severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions, are afforded legal protection under the Pennsylvania medical marijuana law, as per Senate Bill 3— “The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program”: Click the links below to learn more about the qualifying conditions and how medical cannabis from AGRiMED can help.