Physician Practice

Why you need to know if a patient uses cannabis

Medical Environment Update, April 26, 2020

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by Brian Ward

No matter the healthcare setting, local laws, or personal opinions on cannabis, healthcare providers everywhere have to treat patients who use cannabis or cannabinoid products. As a provider, you need to know how to have an open and honest discussion with patients about their cannabis use.

Depending on the amount and frequency of use, the active component of cannabis, THC, can last days to weeks in a patient’s body. Therefore, cannabis use is need-to-know information before prescribing other medications, particularly anesthesia, heart medicines, and drugs processed by the liver.

Benjamin Caplan, MD, is the founder of CED Clinic and a spokesman for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, the only national physicians’ association in the United States dedicated to the effective regulation of cannabis. When patients seek treatment, they may already have questions about cannabis use on their health, he says, and providers need to have answers.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Medical Environment Update.

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