As more states approve the use of medicinal marijuana, a perception emerges that smoking cannabis is automatically safe. Yet, are all traditional prescription medications safe to use? The answer is, of course, "No." he same understanding must be present with the legal medicinal use of cannabis. Doctors who legally - but unsafely - recommend the use of medical marijuana could very well be guilty of malpractice.
Issuing for Legitimate Purposes
No physician should recommend medical marijuana to anyone who does no suffer from serious physical or mental pain. Sadly, people do attempt to procure a "'script" to skirt the law and gain immunity for possession. A physician must perform a thorough examination to determine that a legitimate condition exists and the use of cannabis is appropriate for that condition.
A doctor who knowingly suggests using medical marijuana to someone who is only interested in recreational use could be held liable for any resultant problems.
Examining Respiratory Conditions
The doctor who recommends medical marijuana is giving approval to a product that is smoked. Despite all the claims of therapeutic benefits, smoke is still going to be ingested into the lungs. A doctor should warn of any potential long-term respiratory effects associated with long-term cannabis smoking. A failure to do so could leave the patient thinking no risk of respiratory ailments exists.
Furthermore, the doctor should ask about current respiratory conditions such as asthma or cardiovascular disease. Approving the use of a smokable product without determining whether or not it is safe for the patient to ingest smoke could be deemed malpractice by omission.
Weighing the Psychological Effects
Doctors should point out the psychological risks of using marijuana. Regardless of the reason a person uses cannabis, an adult who ingests 100 mg runs a severe risk of suffering from delirium or a psychotic episode. If a doctor recommends the use of medical marijuana for anxiety, depression, or PTSD, it is critical to point this fact out in order to reduce the likelihood of an adverse reaction.
Addressing the Use of Synthetics
Physicians should clearly point out that synthetic versions of marijuana do not constitute recommended or safe substitutes. Doctors must never assume patients seeking advice already know this. Someone wishing to use medical marijuana as a treatment for a legitimate medical illness might not know dubious synthetics are actually chemical-laced designer drugs. Not clearly explaining the difference between synthetics and organic cannabis may be another form of malpractice by omission.
What can you do if a doctor has contributed to serious problems related to the recommendation of medical marijuana? Contact a medical malpractice attorney, like R.J. Marzella & Associates, P.C., to discuss the situation and see what legal remedies are available.