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Should a Physician Support a Patient’s Decision to Use CBD?

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When entering the medical profession, the Hippocratic oath almost becomes a set of life rules. Every step taken is done so considering what you have signed up to, taking everyone’s health into account while adhering to specific ethical standards. So, when a patient approaches you, considering utilising something controversial, to say the least, how should you respond? There are many factors to take into account. 


First and foremost, your primary consideration must be the reason why a patient has opted to use CBD. There are many scientific studies that show positive impacts on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. It can, therefore, be an appropriate medication for a variety of afflictions. 

For people who suffer from anxiety, the use of CBD oil can boost their mood, causing a more stable life with fewer worries. Many suffer from chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia, for example, and there are reports that they can go for much longer without an attack with the use of CBD. Although CBD oil has shown improvements in terms of pain for those diagnosed with MS, it is unclear whether this is due to anti-inflammatory properties rather than analgesia. 

Any physician who genuinely cares about their patients will always discourage them from using only CBD oil to treat a severe illness, such as cancer. Treatments, like chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, have a much higher success rate and it could be that CBD is used in conjunction with one or more of those options. In fact, it is prescribed in the UK to help people who are struggling with the sickness associated with chemotherapy. Of course, where a prognosis is terminal and chemotherapy, for example, is life-extending rather than lifesaving, this could be a different ethical scenario to consider. 


With CBD, there are specific regulations depending on the state in which you reside. However, it can also be bought readily online and even in some dedicated stores. The source of purchase should be considered when deciding whether to offer your patient support with their choice. Using a reputable website, such as https://otocbd.com/, means that you can be sure the quality of the product is good. Of course, your patient may decide to purchase it through a less responsible route, where there will be little comeuppance if there is a problem. In which case, a physician is well within their rights to disagree with the decision. However, it is unlikely that a patient will divulge this information. 


Before making a final decision about whether or not to support a patient’s decision to use CBD to help their health, physicians must be fully informed about a patient’s medical history. Although the risk of addiction to cannabis products is said to be minimal, if a patient has a background which includes struggles with dependency on alcohol or drugs, it is likely that this would be too great a risk to take. There is also some evidence to suggest that prolonged use of cannabis can increase the likelihood of developing a psychotic illness, like schizophrenia.

Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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