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3 Reasons why you should tell your doctor you’re using CBD (and why people don’t)

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A few drops of CBD oil a day may sometimes keep the doctor away, but what about when it doesn’t?

A recent survey by AmericanMarijuana.org showed 31% of 1453 CBD consumers questioned had not told their doctor they use CBD to treat pain, even though 44% said their doctors support using CBD, and an increasing number nationwide attest to the product’s effectiveness as a painkiller.

The reason for this is simple: stigma. Rhet Smith, an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock researching medical cannabis, told GreenState that normalizing CBD in the medical field is necessary for patients to receive the best care.

“Patients will be less forthcoming if they fear they will be judged – or worse, dropped – because of CBD use,” Smith said. “Normalization facilitates the communication between patient and provider, allowing doctors to do their job and patients to receive the quality care they seek.”

Whether or not your provider supports CBD, there are serious reasons to consider letting them know you use it. Here are the top 3 reasons experts told us:

1) You might not have to take as high a dose of opioid medications as you think

Out of those surveyed by AmericanMarijuana.org, an overwhelming 97% said they reduced their opioid dosage after using CBD. It’s no surprise, then, that both the experts we asked agreed this is the top reason patients should tell their providers when they use CBD for pain.

Raphael Mechoulam, a professor of medicinal chemistry at Hebrew University known as the “Father of Cannabis Research,” told GreenState,

“CBD is not a substitute for opioids – it is much less potent than opioids and the effects differ. But, a physician may administer lower doses of dangerous opioids if a patient uses CBD. The doctor has to know.”

RELATED: Smoking marijuana prior to surgery? Here’s why your doctor needs to know.

2) It will help your doctor make informed decisions

Diarrhea? Fatigue? Inexplicable changes in weight? You may not realize it, but these are side-effects of CBD. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important your doctor knows if you’re using CBD to determine whether it or something else is to blame. Plus, Smith told GreenState CBD can affect treatment for other health issues besides pain.

“Letting your doctor know about CBD provides a comprehensive picture for them to decide the best form of medical treatment,” Smith said. “If a doctor learns that CBD is helpful for a patient, they will stick with that treatment and possibly adjust regimens elsewhere to find what works best for that individual.”

3) You can have a role in making more practitioners cannabis-savvy

The more you know, the more you grow. Smith said informing your doctor that CBD is working for you is an effective way to help normalize cannabis in the medical world.

“A major reason (to tell your provider) relates back to doctor learning,” Smith told Greenstate. “Any knowledge of CBD working for one patient can be applied to treating other patients. Information is crucial, and better-informed decisions will lead to better choices in medical care.”

RELATED: CBD products for beginners

Elissa Esher is Assistant Editor at GreenState. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Guardian, Brooklyn Paper, Religion Unplugged, and Iridescent Women. Send inquiries and tips to elli.esher@hearst.com.