For decades, marijuana usage has been a controversial topic, with restrictive legislation, back-and-forth media reports and moral vilification. Are you a vagabond or a hippie for wanting to better your health?

Now that cannabis has been legally approved in many states for medicinal usage, some people aren’t quite sure how to ask their doctor about getting a prescription. Older generations may feel particularly uncertain how to approach the topic. It’s not the same as scheduling an appointment and requesting a typical prescription for severe migraines.

It’s perfectly OK to feel hesitant or anxious about discussing medical marijuana with your doctor. Here’s what you need to know when you inquire about medicinal marijuana usage, dispelling common myths and building confidence for those inexperienced with cannabis:

You Won’t Get Arrested for Asking About Medicinal Marijuana

When you make your appointment to talk to your doctor, you’ll be asking about medical marijuana’s benefits to your heath, not making a drug deal. Your state has legally said you have the right to inquire about and obtain a medicinal marijuana prescription to help relieve painful symptoms. So no, you can’t be reported by your doctor, get arrested or be charged with breaking the law.

In 2002, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of physician and patient protection in the pursuit of medical knowledge about cannabis’s therapeutic potential in the case of Conant v. Walters. Your doctor is free to recommend medical marijuana as a valid form of treatment.

Do Your Own Research on the Benefits

What sort of conditions does medical marijuana help treat? Do a little digging, and learn about the benefits of medical marijuana. Many states, such as Florida, have outlined particular conditions approved for treatment with medical marijuana, which may or may not include:

  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Migraines
  • Terminal illness
  • Ulcerative colitis

These conditions only represent a small percentage of approved conditions in many states. Incorporating medical marijuana with an existing treatment plan may help relieve additional symptoms. Some medications have adverse interactions, and medical marijuana may provide an alternative solution. Conducting your own research will relieve any anxiety you may have about bringing up the subject with your doctor.

Americans for Safe Access also provides information on its website regarding medicinal marijuana legal policies and production and supply. It acts as an educational resource for patients, lawyers and medical professionals who wish to familiarize themselves with cannabis as a form of treatment.

Prepare a List of Questions and Concerns

Think of your initial visit to the doctor’s office as a stepping stone in your research process. Talk over the reasons for a prescription with your doctor, and evaluate the pros and cons of medical marijuana in your case.

It’ll be important to go over your medical history and get a professional assessment of your current condition. You’ll also feel empowered and in control of your health. Consider asking the following questions:

  • What medical studies could I read about the results of cannabis as a form of treatment in those with my condition? Do you know of any studies or treatments that have seen a measure of success and/or failure? What sources do you recommend?
  • Does medical marijuana present any adverse side effects or dangerous interactions with my current medications? Will it affect the efficacy of my medications?
  • Are there any medicinal marijuana products I can use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • How would the purchase of medicinal marijuana products affect my health care budget? What costs should I expect if we pursue a treatment plan that includes cannabis?
  • How do I take medical marijuana safely? What products are on the market that may benefit my condition or relieve symptoms?
  • Are there any foods, drinks, habits or activities to avoid while using cannabis medically?

These questions are important to ask with any prescription drug you take, and will help both you and your doctor judge if you are a good candidate for the use of medicinal marijuana. Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions, like if you’ll potentially become addicted, for example. When it comes to your health, there are no wrong questions.

Ask Others About Their Experiences

Ask friends about their experiences using medicinal marijuana. Look for threads in support forums related to your condition, especially in medical marijuana patient groups. Bring up your questions and concerns, and the responses may lead you to additional resources.

Some will be surprised to learn they don’t have to smoke marijuana to experience its medical benefits. Like any plant, its chemical constituents may be infused into lotions, creams and pills. There are many forms of consumption.

Always turn to your support network, which will build your knowledge base and lift up your confidence. They’ll be a great sounding board and help you come up with questions you may have not considered asking.

With many states now recognizing cannabis as a valid form of medical treatment, patients of all ages and conditions are daring to broach the once, and somewhat still, controversial subject of marijuana usage. As more patients inquire about incorporating medical marijuana into their treatment plans, the usage of cannabis for health becomes less invisible and more accepted into society.

Conduct research into the pros and cons of medical marijuana consumption as related to your condition. Reach out to support networks, and remember there are no wrong questions when it comes to your health. You can’t get arrested for simply asking about your medical treatment.

Health care access is a fundamental right, and you have every right to take care of yourself. Contact your doctor, and make the appointment to see if cannabis is right for your medical treatment.