PA Docs can now get certified to recommend medical cannabis without having their name made public. Will this help end the stigma?
Posted By: Sven Hosford, Publisher, Dispense Magazine.
With medical cannabis now legal in Pennsylvania, the best advice for anyone who wants to help remove the stigma is to literally “Ask Your Doctor.” It is our mantra here at Dispense. It is the surest way to bring about societal change. One thing all doctors hate is not knowing the answer to a patient’s question. When enough patients ask about cannabis, self-respecting physicians generally set out to learn more. The other thing doctors hate is patients that know more then they do. Start using terms like “endocannabinoid system” with your doctor and watch what happens..
I recently had to get a pre-surgery checkup from my Primary Care Physician. I picked her because she was a) female and b) Indian, so I thought the odds were good she would be holistic minded. Turns out she is.
So when I finally popped the question, I was astonished by her reply.
“Will you be getting your certification to recommend cannabis?” I asked politely.
“No.’ Long awkward pause. “I suppose you would like to know why.” She is very direct.
“Yes, I supposed I would,” I said as politely as I could.
“Well my practice is bursting at the seems as it is. If I get certified, my name goes on a public list, and my clinic could be overwhelmed. And I don’t want to be one of those clinics.” She almost sneered “those” so I could guess she didn’t like cannabis.
“Besides, there is just not enough scientific evidence.” I let that go. I was still trying to absorb that a doctor did NOT want to get more patients. It left me speechless. I had no idea where to start unraveling that gordian knot of logic.
But she had a point I could not argue. Once you take the 4-hour course now being offered by a handful of educational firms, both online and in person, your name goes on a public list on the Department of Health website. For those forward thinking docs who are leading the charge, it is actually not enough advertising, and they are NOT allowed to advertise they recommend cannabis.
That all changed in mid-May, when the DoH adopted regulatory changes recommended by their Medical Advisory Board. One of the changes is that physicians can now opt OUT of that list. No one has to know you can recommend.
This could be a bell weather change. Once doctors know they won’t be “outed” as a cannabis doctor, more might actually get certified. In case they don’t want to be one of ‘those’ kinds of doctors.
So it truly is important for you to ask your doctor. The endocannabinoid system is not just a term your doctor should know, they should know what it does.