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3 Questions to Ask Before Considering Medical Marijuana

3 Questions to Ask Before Considering Medical Marijuana

In New Jersey, medical marijuana has been used legally for more than a decade. But the use of prescription cannabis is still surrounded by a lot of confusion, especially among patients who aren’t sure how their treatment might affect specific aspects of their lives.

For medical use, cannabis can only be prescribed to patients who meet specific qualifications and only by licensed, certified providers. 

As one of those providers, James M. Lee Jr., MD, knows that qualifying for medical cannabis is just the first step for our patients at Orange Orthopaedic Associates. Dr. Lee also wants every patient to be informed about medical cannabis, and that starts with asking some key questions during your office visit.

Do I need to smoke medical marijuana?

No. Just like recreational cannabis, medical marijuana is available in different forms. Smoking is one option, but Dr. Lee offers other options to suit each patient’s preferences and needs. 

Of course, patient preference is just one factor that influences the type of cannabis Dr. Lee prescribes. Cannabis strength and rate of delivery can also vary depending on the way it’s administered. 

Before prescribing cannabis in any form, Dr. Lee performs a thorough medical evaluation, reviews your personal and family medical histories, and discusses your lifestyle to ensure you realize maximum benefits of your therapy.

Are there any dangerous drug interactions with cannabis?

Although it’s widely thought of as a recreational agent, cannabis is absolutely a drug, and as with any drug, medical cannabis can interact with other drugs. In fact, the website lists almost 400 drugs known to interact with marijuana. 

Some interactions cause mild effects or simply pose a mild risk of interactions. Other interactions can be significant, altering the way your body uses one or both drugs or causing one or both drugs to become less effective or more potent. 

Before prescribing cannabis, Dr. Lee reviews your current medications, along with any supplements and over-the-counter products you take regularly. 

How could medical cannabis use affect other areas of my life?

Many patients wonder what effect their medical cannabis will have on employment or on any employer-required drug tests. 

New Jersey has laws in place that protect employees from any adverse actions by their employers based solely on the fact that they use medical marijuana. But if marijuana affects the way you perform your duties, you may encounter issues. 

Medical marijuana shows up on employer-mandated drug tests, as well. If you use marijuana medically, consider letting your human resources department know before undergoing mandated drug tests or ask your human resources department for any policies regarding the use of medical cannabis.

Just because you have a prescription for cannabis, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to use the drug and then drive your car. Driving while under the influence of marijuana still qualifies as a DWI with all the penalties that go along with the charge. 

As a physician, Dr. Lee can’t provide you with any legal guidance, but an experienced attorney can be a good resource.

Finally, marijuana can also alter your mood and your energy level, which means it can take a toll on your work, your recreational activities, and your relationships. You must weigh all of these factors against the anticipated benefits to decide if medical cannabis is the right choice for you.

Learn more about medical cannabis

Marijuana can absolutely provide significant benefits for people with qualifying medical conditions, but the use of medical cannabis is highly regulated and controlled. 

To learn more about medical marijuana, including whether you qualify, contact our office in West Orange or Bayonne, New Jersey, today.

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