Medical marijuana doctors, often called pot docs, are the physicians who evaluate and recommend cannabis for their patients with conditions like chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy or spasticity (tight or stiff muscles) related to MS. As marijuana legalization continues to spread and more doctors become familiar with the drug, many feel ill-equipped to counsel their patients about it.
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The problem is that unlike prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, which are backed by rigorous research showing safety and efficacy, marijuana has a much more sparse body of evidence to support it. As a result, it’s easy for doctors to make faulty assumptions about what the drug can and cannot do, according to a study published in Diagnostic Imaging.
New York, which legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes last year, is working to address this knowledge gap by providing training sessions to help doctors become more comfortable with the drug and better able to answer their patients’ questions. The state estimates that more than 600 doctors have taken the course so far.
Moreover, because federal law still considers marijuana an illegal drug, many physicians are uneasy about certifying patients to use the drug. A lawyer who works on healthcare issues with the SmithAmundsen firm says that because of these concerns, it’s important for physicians to take the time to thoroughly evaluate their patients before recommending marijuana as a treatment.
Fortunately, there are online medical marijuana evaluation services that can connect patients with experienced pot docs and help them get the care they deserve. One of the most popular and trusted is NuggMD, which offers an easy-to-use system that allows patients to connect with a doctor online from the comfort of home.