How to Discuss Cannabis and CBD with Your Doctor
by Rebecca Abraham
Dec 03, 2020
CBD is everywhere and extremely popular. Doctors don’t prescribe this substance, so why does it matter if they know it or not?
You should be discussing any cannabis use, even CBD, with your doctor.
For some patients, it may be very uncomfortable to share this information with their physician; however, it is an essential conversation to approach. CBD can interact with numerous medications e.g. CBD may affect the metabolism of the drug, thereby altering the level of drug available in the bloodstream, or more simply the effect of certain medications will be increased and others decreased. This is especially critical in cases of specific cardiac and seizure disorders and a patient will need their doctor to look for any potential interactions. Furthermore, a doctor may also need to review blood tests to monitor liver enzymes. Many people with this type of medical history who take these types of drugs can and do take CBD safely with benefits — with guidance and monitoring.
This is why it is important to consult a cannabis nurse if you take medications AND to discuss with your doctor. A skilled cannabis nurse helps navigate the process between doctor and patient.
Easy. Take a deep breath and just do it! Realize that the healthiest patient-provider relationship is an honest one. To complete the needed diagnostic tests and provide the right medications your provider requires a full and honest history. Doctors are humans and in large went into the medical field to help people. Most are non-judgmental regarding supplement use including complementary or alternative medicine. This goes for nurses as well! In the hospital and in my career as a cannabis nurse, patients disclose a lot to me. It is my ethical duty to listen and not judge patients.
After you tell your doctor about your CBD use, explain why you are taking it — for pain, sleep, anxiety, etc. — and let them know if it has benefited you. Doctors love data, so the more information you can give them about when you started, how you take it, and the effects the better. This is also a great conversation to segue into your overall wellness goals and how you can best achieve them.
If your doctor and their team are not supportive of CBD or cannabis use — whether due to bias or lack of familiarity and are unwilling to learn — then it is important to begin searching for a cannabis-friendly physician with a cannabis-friendly staff. They are out there, even in states that lack legalization at this time.
A cannabis-friendly provider is not necessarily one that will certify a medical card or even be completely up to date regarding cannabis usage. However, they will be somebody willing to learn and listen in a supportive, non-judgmental way.
About Rebecca Abraham:
Educating ourselves about CBD and the products we put in our bodies can feel overwhelming at times. That’s why Acute on Chronic and Equilibria are working hard to keep it simple and straightforward.
Acute on Chronic founder and President, Rebecca Abraham BSN, RN, is a certified cannabis nurse. From a single assessment to ongoing support, Acute on Chronic provides support for all your cannabis questions as you investigate and become comfortable with it as alternative care. Follow Rebecca on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and reach out for an initial consultation.