For decades, doctors have touted the medical benefit of cannabis — how its ability to alleviate nausea and stimulate appetite can be lifesaving, and how its ability to alleviate pain can improve patients’ quality of life dramatically. Today, more than half the country has access to medical marijuana programs within their state, and many of the most vulnerable patients rely heavily on cannabis for health and wellbeing.
If you are a caregiver to a loved one, you might eventually encounter the need to administer cannabis-based treatment. Here’s what that responsibility entails, so you can keep your loved one comfortable and happy amidst serious disease.
Talk to Your Loved One
Plenty of people refuse certain medical treatments, even though they might be effective, because those treatments go against the patients’ beliefs or otherwise cause them fear. Cannabis is a contentious medical treatment; because it was vilified for so long, and because misinformation about its effects continues to circulate, many people believe that cannabis consumption is dangerous and immoral.
It is critical that patients know, understand and accept the treatments administered to them. You should talk to your loved one about the potential of using cannabis in a medical capacity to help manage their health condition. If they are hostile toward the idea of using cannabis, you shouldn’t try to force them into cannabis treatment. However, if they have a history of using weed or are open to alternative medicines, you might have a chance to convince them to use medical marijuana.
Talk to Your Loved One’s Healthcare Provider
Even if your loved one is suffering from a condition well-known to be treated by cannabis — like cancer, epilepsy or chronic pain — you shouldn’t take it upon yourself to medicate them using recreational cannabis products. Though negative effects from cannabis are rare, and drug interactions relatively mild, you need to be certain that cannabis won’t exacerbate symptoms or make other treatments less effective.
You can make an appointment with your loved one’s healthcare provider to discuss the possibility of adding cannabis therapy to their treatment regimen. You should work with your loved one and their provider to consider all possible effects, positive and negative. You might also ask about recommended cannabis products and dosage, though the provider might not have as much knowledge in this area as those with more cannabis consumption experience.
Talk to Your Local Medical Marijuana Dispensary Staff
Once you have the go-ahead from your loved one’s doctor, you will need to help your loved one apply to your state’s medical marijuana program. In the meantime, you can get a better sense of treatment options available to your loved one by visiting a dispensary in your area. In places like Phoenix, dispensaries tend to cater to both recreational users and medical patients. Thus, you can venture inside without a valid medical marijuana card and talk to budtenders about your loved one’s needs.
You might take the time to ask about medical strains that could benefit your loved one specifically. For example, if your loved one is undergoing cancer treatment, you might look for a strain that alleviates pain and stimulates appetite. If you aren’t familiar with cannabis consumption, you should ask about easy methods of use and appropriate dosage considering your loved one’s size, age and tolerance.
Qualify as a Caregiver With Your Local MMP
Most medical marijuana patients can apply for their own cards and administer treatment themselves, but some require help. If you are assisting your loved one in daily tasks and the administration of other medications, you might want to help them with their application and apply to function as your loved one’s caregiver.
As a caregiver, you would have the ability to order cannabis products from medical dispensaries and help your loved one use them. You don’t need intensive medical training to serve in this role, but you do need to submit information verifying your identity. Most importantly, you need to respect that your loved one’s medical marijuana is not available for your personal consumption.
Your loved one could benefit greatly from the addition of medical cannabis in their treatment strategy. By doing your homework and respecting their wishes, you can ensure they have the right cannabis products to help make their health easier to manage.