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Why You May Have to Look Beyond Your PCP for a Marijuana Recommendation

August 1, 2019 • Lakewood Medical • General

You might rely on your primary care provider for practically everything pertaining to your health, but they probably won’t be the person who gives you a medical marijuana recommendation. Here’s why. If you think medical marijuana could be part of an effective course of treatment for a condition or symptom you’re dealing with, your first step may naturally be to consult with your primary care provider. It makes sense that your PCP would be the first person you turn to when researching a relatively new alternative treatment, and indeed, it is important to talk to your primary care physician when it comes to incorporating medical marijuana into your treatment plan.  But most PCPs just aren’t certified to make a recommendation, even if they understand your reasons for wanting one. In fact, most people living in Ohio will have to seek out a clinic like Lakewood Medical Clinic in order to talk to a medical marijuana expert and actually get the physician’s recommendation they need to start using the treatment. 

Why Doctors Rarely Give Out Marijuana Recommendations

Currently, just 375 Ohio doctors out of 46,000 in the state are certified, and fewer than half of those with certifications have written a recommendation. Thankfully for patients seeking relief, clinics are dedicated to evaluating patients for medical marijuana recommendations, as needed, and at this point provide the vast majority of recommendations. What’s behind this reluctance on the part of Ohio’s medical community to embrace medical cannabis? There are probably several different factors at work. It could be because doctors are unsure about the available research on medical marijuana, and feel that the treatment lies outside their expertise. Because the drug was illegal in most states until recently and remains illegal at the federal level, funding for studies on its medical efficacy has been hard to come by. In the near future, there will hopefully be far more available studies on medical cannabis that doctors will be able to review.  Some medical practitioners might worry about the stigma marijuana continues to carry with some people and unfortunately feel that giving recommendations would sully their reputation in their community. As thousands of Ohio patients begin to find relief with medical cannabis, this minority of the population may change their attitude. The more likely situation is simply that doctors haven’t applied for certification because the law is very new, and many doctors are too busy with their current practices to think about expanding their services.  Many of these limiting factors will dissipate as medical cannabis becomes more widely accepted across the state and the country. But for the time being, if you’re seeking a recommendation to use medical marijuana in Ohio, your best bet to seek out a marijuana-specific clinic.

The Advantages of a Clinic

For patients who have already tried more traditional treatment options for their conditions with their primary care provider, the advantage of a marijuana-specific clinic isn’t merely that it can potentially offer you a recommendation. It’s that they have the expertise in a relatively new medical field needed to properly evaluate you as a recipient of marijuana-based treatment. A physician trained to evaluate patients for medical marijuana recommendations will have an understanding of your condition, and can discriminate between patients who would benefit from using the drug and those who wouldn’t. For example, a physician at such a clinic might be able to determine whether a given medication you’re already taking for a condition might interact with medical cannabis. These physicians can also offer you insight that doctors couldn’t, including potential side effects of medical marijuana and a realistic sense of the positive results you should expect.  Of course, depending on your situation, it’s a good idea to talk to your PCP before seeking counsel from a clinic. Marijuana-specific clinics can only provide recommendations to those who qualify, which typically means patients have first tried traditional methods through their PCP. 

Start with Lakewood Medical Clinic 

If you’ve worked with your primary doctor to treat your condition and exhausted all your options, visit Lakewood Medical Clinic for a recommendation today. Our trained clinicians can work with you and your primary care physician to determine if medical cannabis could represent a viable course of treatment for your condition.