In the United States today, there are a total of 33 states that have legalized the use marijuana in a medical setting, and 11 states have given the go-ahead to use marijuana for recreational purposes. However, the physician assistant school has not included the education on the effects of cannabis, the natural cannabis-like molecules (endocannabinoids), and the way THC interacts with other medicines as part of their nursing syllabus.
According to Theresa Mallick, who practices at the division of pain medicine in Stanford Health Care, due to changes in laws where weed is concerned, more patients are bound to ask about the possibilities of using marijuana either medical or recreationally. So, to keep them safe as a doctor, it is your responsibility to equip them with information on the positive and negative effects of marijuana.
Through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Theresa Mallick recently taught a webinar about marijuana. According to Mallick, it is essential for doctors to go ahead and address the topics below with their patients.
- Voice Your Opinion About Marijuana Consumption
Honesty is crucial in getting your patient to open up. Moreover, they will be able to accept your advice on whether marijuana is a suitable form of treatment or not if you are truthful about what your thoughts on marijuana are.
- When Talking About Marijuana with Your Patients, Ask Them to Register for Medical Marijuana Cards
Advise the patient to apply for the medical marijuana card, which is easy to get in the states where medical marijuana is legal. With the medical card, you will be able to provide them with information on medial utility, safety, and its interaction with other drugs, treatment agreements, and aims of care.
- Give Them Tips For Buying Marijuana Safely
When buying cannabis, there is a probability of buying contaminated products; therefore, patients should be educated on how to purchase safe products. Educate them on how to read labels, the base of the product either weed or hemp, the source, and the manufacturing process before the product reaches the market.
Also, advise them not to inhale any product containing propylene glycol since this could cause them respiratory problems.
- Help Them Distinguish Between Inhaled And Orally Ingested Marijuana
Mallick-Searle says that the probability of patients opting to use marijuana in edibles is high because many believe that it is safer than inhaling. However, she advises doctors to use the inhalation method when assessing patients as this will show how cannabis affects the patient’s blood levels and psycho-activity. This is not possible with orally ingested marijuana as the time of cognitive effects varies.
- Inform Them About The Dangers Of Cognitive Impairment
Physicians have the responsibility of warning the patients on the dangers of conducting certain activities such as driving or operating machines while under the influence of weed. According to the Ontario Medical Association, the levels of THC in the ingested marijuana, and the mode of consumption determines the duration of the cognitive effect. When cannabis is inhaled, the impact takes place immediately and lasts only for a few hours, but when it is eaten in edibles, it takes a while for the effects to be apparent, and last longer than when inhaled.
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