5 Things All New Medical Cannabis Patients Should Know
By Debbie Churgai, Americans for Safe Access
Although there are medical cannabis programs of some kind in 47 states, DC, Guam and Puerto Rico, medical cannabis still remains a mystery to the vast majority of Americans today. Using medical cannabis is an approach that is supported by research and medical professionals, and has demonstrated positive public health outcomes.
While it may feel like an overwhelming experience for many new patients, it does not have to be. To help new patients feel comfortable entering the world of medical cannabis, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical cannabis patient advocacy group created Cannabis Care Certification, a medical cannabis education program for patients and caregivers. To help you start out this process, here is a list of top 5 things that all patients should know when considering medical cannabis as part of their health care regime.
Learn Your State Medical Cannabis Laws
Every state has different laws and regulations regarding medical cannabis. Before becoming a medical cannabis patient, you should become familiar with your state and local laws regarding possession limitations, eligible conditions, consumption restrictions, age limits and reciprocity. To find out what your state medical cannabis laws are, click here and fill out "Let's Get Started" for a FREE legal overview and a list of requirements for your state Medical Cannabis Program.
Educate Your Doctor
We usually turn to doctors as the experts. However, not all doctors are educated on medical cannabis and not all of them are for medical cannabis. Let your doctor know that this is an option you would like to explore and encourage them to do the same. Let them know that there IS medical professional education they can turn to in order to learn more about how cannabis works with the endocannabinoid system within our bodies. Medical professional education and CME credits can also be found out CannabisCareCertification.org.
Know Your Rights
As a legal medical cannabis patient or caregiver, you have rights, and you should know exactly what they are before you buy any product. It is important to understand, for example, if medical cannabis can be used in the workplace or in your home. It is also important to know how to handle any interaction with a law enforcement officer. As a legal medical cannabis patient, you do have rights, and you should not ever be afraid to use them.
Know Your Options
When most people think about cannabis, they think about smoking cannabis. However, there are many different preparations and forms of administration—oils, tinctures and capsules with varying concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)—that produce different effects. Learn about the different options and what might work best for you.
Learn How to Talk about Medical Cannabis with Others
Many people still associate a bad stigma with cannabis. It is important to have strategies to talk to people. Medical cannabis users should have a plan for talking to family, friends and employers about their cannabis use. It is important to help spread the knowledge that this is a real medicine that is helping you.
For more information about about medical cannabis or the Cannabis Care Certification patient education program, check out www.safeaccessnow.org and www.cannabiscarecertification.org. You can also attend the "How Medical Cannabis Can Help People with Disabilities" workshop at Abilities Expo Chicago.
For 50% off the Cannabis Care Certification Patient and Caregiver Education Program, use coupon code: CCC50 at check out!
About the Author:
Debbie is the Associate Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a medical cannabis patient advocacy non-profit, and works in all aspects of the organization including education, policy, research and consumer safety. She helps manage ASA's Cannabis Care Certification (CCC) patient education program and works closely with the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program, a training and certification program for the medical cannabis industry. She has served as a writer, editor and reviewer on many ASA publications including the Cannabis and Cannabis Resin Critical Review Document, the State of the States Report and the Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment report.
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