Your patient will likely have some knowledge of cannabis, but this knowledge will likely be plagued by several misconceptions. You must address these misconceptions about cannabis. For almost a century, the United States government, law enforcement, academia, and popular media have created such a morass of misinformation it’s hard to know what to believe when it comes to medical cannabis.

As a result, it falls to caregivers to help correct some of these misperceptions. You need to drill down on their expectations and establish reasonable ones. Sometimes these misperceptions about cannabis are due to prohibitionist propaganda, CBD-only product marketing, and second-hand knowledge. No matter where your patient starts, make sure to approach them with empathy and understanding. Remember, we all start somewhere.

John Doe is in his 70s and is eager to start cannabis therapy because several of his relations have had luck using it for multiple issues. John is hoping that cannabis will improve his thinning hairline.  John is concerned, however, about brain damage due to over-consumption.  He also worries about developing a craving for dangerous drugs (“gateway” claim).

“I’m sorry John, but cannabis will not help your hairline, but it may help you sleep better and reduce stress.”

Notice that we had to contradict John’s cannabis mis-perception, but we were able to redirect in a positive way that gives John a reasonable expectation of cannabis.

“I’m sorry John, but cannabis use will not bring your hair back.  However, case studies have shown that some cannabis consumers actually can reduce their use of dangerous drugs. “

Notice that we had to contradict John as we address his misperception. We soften this blow by offering assistance and partnership in tackling some of his concerns.

“I’ve got good news for you John, cannabis does not cause brain damage, in fact, there is some early evidence to support that cannabis may have neuroprotective properties.”

Notice that in this case, we could address John’s misperception by delivering the truth as good news that alleviates the concern of the patient.