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Leland's Sensibilities

Oct 30, 2017 07:39PM ● By Leland Rucker

I took a jar of CBD cream to my dermatologist’s office a few months ago. pulling it proudly out of my pocket, i asked him if he’d ever looked into CBD as possible medicine over the
years. it seems to work for me on cuts and scratches as well as warding off eczema, i told him, as well as or better than any over-the-counter concoctions i’ve used all my life.

He looked at me, obviously amused. “Do you know how many ‘miracle drugs’ people have brought to me?” he asked and laughed. I felt pretty stupid realizing that over the course of his career, he’s probably run into all kinds of quackery that people believe in but aren’t part of the currently accepted medical canon. But then he added a kicker. “If it works, keep using it,” he said with a smile.

I’ve thought about that a lot in the last couple of months. As I found out while doing a story on the endocannabinoid system, few doctors today have even had the opportunity to study the concept of marijuana as medicine, and there are few courses available for medical students. Some doctors won’t even consider the idea of cannabis as medicine, others are anxious about gaining a reputation as a “pot doctor,” and there are even some who believe that medical marijuana is little more than a ruse to get cannabis legalized.

 Veterans Affairs doctors, even those who might want to prescribe it, aren’t even allowed to talk with their patients about whether cannabis might be an alternative to opioids even in states where it’s legal. Most who are now prescribing cannabis do it only after hearing from patients who say it’s working for them and studying the issue themselves.

What many of those patients, even those who are purchasing cannabis “recreationally,” are telling physicians is that they are using it to relieve pain or as a sleep aid, and that “getting high” is just another form of relaxation in a world of almost constant stress.

And that gets us back to my dermatologist, the guy who has heard it all, but whose advice, I think, should be heeded by anyone, including doctors, who possess even a modicum of common sense. “If it works, keep using it.” Can it get more simple than that?