Every month our resident CBD and cannabis expert Ruby Deevoy answers your questions in her agony aunt column Ask Ruby. If you have a burning question about CBD or cannabis get in touch: email@example.com
I want to try medical cannabis, but my GP isn’t supportive. What should I do?
One day, we’ll live in a world where our doctors are educated in cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. But, right now, they’re not. As a result, there are still many doctors in the U.K who are entrenched in the stigma surrounding cannabis use and are wildly misinformed. This isn’t the case for all doctors, of course. Thankfully, there does appear to be growing interest in using and prescribing cannabis as a medicine among the medical community, with organisations like the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS) even offering support and training. However, experiences like yours are sadly not uncommon.
Fortunately, although distressing for a patient to feel unsupported by their GP, their opinion of cannabis doesn’t really matter. As NHS GPs are not currently able to prescribe cannabis medications, it’s entirely your call if you feel a private medical cannabis prescription would suit your needs.
You have every right to request access to your own medical records and receive a copy. Once you have them, you can make an appointment with your preferred cannabis clinic and provide them with this medical information yourself. They don’t have to request access from your GP at all.
Once you’ve had your appointment and received a cannabis prescription, the specialists at the clinic will contact your GP, but only to tell them about your new treatment plan – not to ask permission. From there on, you can continue to see your GP for other medical concerns, but anything related to your cannabis treatment will be handled by the private clinic and the consultants who have prescribed your cannabis medication.
As a bonus silver lining for taking your health into your own hands, I was recently told by Sapphire Medical Clinics that they have noticed an interesting (and promising) pattern: as the number of patients requesting a private medical cannabis prescription increases, so too do their GP referrals for other patients. It would appear that simply by showing your GP real life results from your own medical cannabis use, you might help in changing their position.
If you want to go one step further in educating your doctor, you could print out key cannabinoid studies for them (perhaps ones specifically researching cannabis use for your condition) and/or refer them to the MCCS so they might educate themselves.
I appreciate that having to go the private route to access your choice of medication is far from ideal, as is having to go against the advice of your GP. But until cannabis legislation and education progresses in the U.K, this is the reality we’re faced with. Hopefully the future will look very different, but for now try to take comfort and power from the fact that by standing strong against misinformation you are a vital player in ending the war on cannabis and changing everything for the better.