I suffered from migraines for 25 years. After years of seeing many doctors and trying various migraine medications, none of which seemed to work effectively, I settled on Vicodin for pain relief.
At the time, I knew this couldn’t be a long-term solution, but it was the only medication that allowed me to get through the day and function. Otherwise, I’d be in bed for days at a time.
Fortunately, when I had given up hope of ever finding a solution, a friend suggested I try cannabis. After starting a regime of cannabis products rich in cannabidiol (CBD), I was managing my pain effectively. Six months later, I was preventing my migraines altogether and was able to leave the Vicodin behind.
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That’s when I decided to start HelloMD—to connect people to high-quality medical professionals through online video consults. Cannabis had solved a health crisis in my life, yet I came to that conclusion not through my doctor, but through my own fumbling attempts to find a solution to an ongoing health issue.
At the time, I wished I had a doctor who could answer basic questions about cannabis. Yet the only person who seemed willing to help me was the friendly budtender at my local medical marijuana dispensary. Budtenders can be very helpful, but they’re not trained medical professionals.
Why Talking to a Doctor About Marijuana Isn’t Easy
As cannabis legalization sweeps the United States and anecdotes of its therapeutic potential continue to spread, you may be wondering if marijuana is right for you. What may seem like the obvious first step, talking to your family doctor, is often met with disappointment or disapproval. Whether it’s to do with migraines, insomnia, fibromyalgia, anxiety or a condition as serious as cancer or seizures, doctors on the whole are woefully ill equipped to discuss cannabis with their patients.
Armed with serious questions and in need of answers, people are more often than not met with a blank stare or sometimes outright disdain when they mention medicinal marijuana to their doctor. Ideally, it’s the doctor who provides cannabis education and support to those who are interested in the plant.
However, some are flipping the medical model on its head—by necessity—and are now educating their doctors about cannabis using studies and anecdotal evidence from family and friends.
Doctors who do become educated about cannabis often cite patients who brought the information to them, whether it was someone who radically improved their health by adding cannabis to their daily regimen or a patient who was able to stop taking opioids for pain relief because of marijuana.
There are specific reasons why many doctors hesitate to talk to their patients about cannabis. Many cite the lack of clinical cannabis studies conducted within the U.S. The counter argument to this point is that there’s an enormous amount of research and clinical studies conducted outside the U.S., in places like Canada and Israel.
Other medical professionals are uncomfortable discussing or recommending marijuana while it’s still listed as a Schedule 1 drug; meaning not only is it federally illegal, but also that it has been deemed by the government to have “no accepted medicinal use.”
Finally, doctors who are comfortable suggesting marijuana as a method of treatment often feel they don’t have the appropriate education or information to talk to their patients with confidence. Because most doctors are unwilling to speak to their patients about cannabis, people will often turn to the internet for their information, or ask the advice of a trusted friend or local budtender.
How HelloMD Can Help Connect You With a Doctor Who’s Knowledgeable About Cannabis
To meet the demand of individuals who are seeking information regarding cannabis, HelloMD has launched educational cannabis consultations; a service where people can learn about cannabis from doctors with in-depth knowledge and experience with the plant.
Guidance on cannabis and hemp CBD is currently available online in all 50 states over live video chat. These online consultations take place in the privacy of your own home or office. All you need is a video-enabled computer or smartphone. The entire process is completely online, costs $29 and takes less than 30 minutes.
HelloMD recognizes that while the medical establishment may not be willing to talk to patients about cannabis consumption, people want and need to talk to a doctor about cannabis, especially when it comes to their overall health and wellness.
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If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.