As of now, there is a lot of confusion in regards to the exact laws and the process for obtaining a medical marijuana card. While marijuana has come a long way since the paranoia of Reefer Madness, cannabis is still considered illegal on a Federal Level. Its position as a Schedule 1 drug means that state’s pot programs and research clash against federal law.
The unclarity of the situation has also led the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card to be a long and tedious one. A process that is full of Bureaucratic BS and constant obstacles that often leaves you hanging or forces you to simply give up.
In most states individual patients are not allowed to apply to the state for a medical card on their own behalf. Either it needs to be done through your doctor.
Doesn’t sound to complicated, right? Wrong!
In an ideal world, you would go to your primary doctor with a qualifying condition, and he/she would submit everything for you. Unfortunately, in most cases, due to politics and tons of bureaucracy, many primary care physicians refuse to take part even if their patients clearly qualify for medical marijuana.
In some states, it’s understandable as the laws require physicians to receive specific licenses from the state’s Board of Health to give medical marijuana recommendations. In other states, where the law is more lenient, doctors simply don’t want all the hassle and would rather prescribe pharmaceutical medicine – drugs that they are familiar with.
In most cases, the process comes to a HALT with your doctor.
Overcome that barrier, and you’ve accomplished half of what it takes to getting a medical marijuana card.
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The Bonafide Doctor-Patient Relationship
We are sure you’ve heard of this before, but there is much more to it than the simple textbook definition. According to the state of Michigan a Bona fide physician-patient relationship means a treatment or counseling relationship between a physician and patient in which all of the following are present:
(1) The physician has reviewed the patient’s relevant medical records and completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a relevant, in-person, medical evaluation of the patient.
(2) The physician has created and maintained records of the patient’s condition in accord with medically accepted standards.
(3) The physician has a reasonable expectation that he or she will provide follow-up care to the patient to monitor the efficacy of the use of medical marihuana as a treatment of the patient’s debilitating medical condition.
(4) If the patient has given permission, the physician has notified the patient’s primary care physician of the patient’s debilitating medical condition and certification for the use of medical marihuana to treat that condition.
But wait, it means much more than that…
The textbook definition is “nice to have”, for the protocol, but what’s more important is having your doctor on your side.
Doctors who believe that Cannabis play a role in our modern healthcare system will put in that extra effort to help you get the treatment you really need. And that is the mistake that most people make. They simply don’t invest enough time and effort in their Doctor-Patient Relationship.
How to Improve Your Doctor-Patient Relationship
A good relationship with your doctor can lead to better medical care. A good doctor-patient relationship will include mutual trust, respect, and good communication.
If you and your doctor don’t communicate well then forget about his/her recommendation. Good communication means “listening” to your doctor. Even if you don’t agree, sometimes it’s best to swallow your tongue and nod your head on particular topics. Next time he/she will be more willing to go in your direction simply because you’ve agreed with him/her in the past.
2) Respect your Doctor
Make sure he/she feels your respect. Most doctors are certain that they’ve earned the right to their patient’s respect because they’ve received higher education in the field of medicine (They are specialists, whereas you are not). They want your respect, so simply give it to them. Trust us; it will help you in the long run.
3) Be Honest
Don’t beat around the bush. Explain to your doctor why you want medical cannabis. Doctors are cognitive thinkers, and therefore if you take the logical approach, your doctor might willingly agree
4) Make the Process Seem Beneath Them
No one wants to enter a long, tedious process that will take a lot of energy. Remember that your doctor is a busy person. When approaching your doctor in regards to medical cannabis, make sure that the process is clear and straightforward. Do your research and explain to your doctor the steps. In most states, the process is pretty straightforward, once you understand it. It requires your doctor to fill out one form and attach his/her recommendation. The problem is that most doctors think it’s a never-ending story.
5) Speak in an Even Tone
Try not to get overly emotional. As we mentioned above doctors, work according to logic, and they find it extremely hard to communicate with patients who are too emotional. Try to stay on track, keep things simple and organized. If you are melodramatic or demanding, it can turn your doctor off.
If you do your homework and learn about the benefits of medical cannabis, apart from coming out with the common; “I heard it can help the pain,” then your doctor might listen. Explain to him the benefits of CBD and THC. If you can use the correct terms, you might be able to convince him
6) Change Doctors
If you and your doctor don’t speak the same language, then you might not have any other choice than to switch doctors. In specific states, your best bet is to find a medical marijuana doctor who believes in cannabis.