Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.
I’m a marijuana doctor. Patients come to me because they’re desperate for a solution to their problem. They’ve been resistant to conventional pharmaceuticals. They’ve undergone failed surgeries. Or, the pharmaceuticals have led to unwanted side effects. Many of them are concerned about becoming dependent on the pharmaceuticals. Or, the alternative options they’ve sought out haven’t worked as well as they had hoped. So they come to me often as a last resort because they’re at their wits ends.
The vast majority of patients that come to see me are those who struggle with chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Some conditions of chronic pain that I’ve treated successfully include, back pain, neuropathy, migraines, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. I treat both males and females, starting on average at 40 years old and going all the way up to 90 years.
These are patients that have generally not used marijuana beyond a handful of times back in high school or college. In fact, many of them make it very clear that they’re not looking to get high off of marijuana. It’s just for symptom relief. Simply put, I’m not dealing with a population of patients looking to be reckless with marijuana. They’re looking to use it responsibly, which is why they’ve come to me in the first place.
And, in fact, many of them have approached either their PCP or one of their specialists about using medical marijuana. But, they’ve hit roadblocks. Doctors have shut the conversation down completely by telling their patients never to mention the word marijuana in their presence again. Other doctors have taken a more neutral stance by saying that what the patient does on his or her own time is none of the doctor’s business. Then, patients have found doctors to be supportive of their decision to use medical marijuana, but though the doctors were unable to take any action while working for a health organization with policies in place against the its use.
For these reasons, more and more doctors have referred out to physicians like myself, specializing in the area of cannabinoid medicine. Of course, more often than not, patients take the reins into their own hands and seek out a consultation with a medical marijuana doctor of their own accord.