Cannabis medicine and the right to choose Cannabis therapy is yours! Patients around the world are choosing Cannabis medicine and they all deserve evidence based nursing care.

The Patients Rights to Self Determination ensures your right to make the best choice for your own health and wellbeing.

Every patient choosing or resorting to cannabis medicine, after all other conventional treatments have failed, are made vulnerable by multiple factors including a broad gap in nurses educated in evidenced based, cannabinoid science.

Although the American Nurses Association position statement “In support of patients’ safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis” was published early as 2008, few nurses know the provision exists to help protect the patients Right to Self Determination, the right of each person to determine what should or should not be done to their person.

Barriers to Self Determination

Untruthful, Federal Scheduling of Cannabis as “highly addictive with no medical use”, coupled with lack of knowledge, fear for loss of licensure, cultural, political and personal bias has left patients “on their own” to seek help from anyone with knowledge and experience relating to cannabis.

Patients seeking both conventional care and cannabis therapy are likely to receive conflicting advice or negative propaganda from providers, thereby denying them the benefit of trusted expertise required to achieve an informed decision.

These factors, in addition to the dangerous criminalization of patients contributes to the overall vulnerability of the patient, creating barriers to Self Determination and the autonomy to decide what is best for one’s own person.

Social Beneficence verses “Do No Harm”

Society has the moral and obligation of Beneficence, the duty to provide all available life sparing and lifesaving treatment options to anyone facing life threatening or life debilitating dis-ease. In contrast to Non-maleficence, the contract physicians and nurses have to “do no harm”.

One can make the case that denying patients life saving or life sparing medical treatment, such as cannabis, is a direct violation of human rights and more specifically patients rights. As every patient is entitled make one’s own decisions about what should or should not be done to their own personage.

Any denial of information or access to recommended treatments based on bias, is in direct violation of these principles and especially of non – maleficence, the principle of do know harm.

Patient testimonials are actual depositions of ethical violations

Doing the work of integrating cannabis science into nursing practice has made one thing glaringly clear…every patient testimonial is actually a clearly descriptive account of a violation of the persons Right to Self Determination and Autonomy. Providers adamantly opposed to recommending cannabis therapy based on fear of sanctions, lack of scientific evidence or personal beliefs are violating their ethical and moral duty of Autonomy and Self Determination.

My hope is to motivate patients to dry their tears and get angry! Cannabis patients rights are being violated everyday with the outright Federal denial of the efficacy of cannabis medicine.

“We all have the power to effect change and remedy unjust treatment” 

Every patient saved by cannabis must rise up and demand the right to cannabis, from providers, hospital systems and indeed the Nation.

Dry your tears I say…get angry, don’t just walk away…Take action!

Social Determinants of Health have been put forth by The World Health Organization as THE key factors determining health or lack of…

While the gap in wealth distribution in the U.S. has grown causing more people to slip into poverty while others see tremendous gains, the United Kingdom has been quietly redistributing wealth to address health disparities. Have a look at the United States Government attempt to incorporate Social Determinants into health policy in Healthy People 2020.

The World Health Organization states,

‘It is concerned with key aspects of people’s living and working circumstances and with their lifestyles. It is concerned with the health implications of economic and social policies, as well as with the benefits that investing in health policies can bring”

Here are the Social Determinants:

1. The Social Gradient
Life expectancy is shorter and most diseases are more common further down the social ladder in each society. Health policy must tackle the social and economic determinants of health

2. Stress

Stressful circumstances, making people feel worried, anxious and unable to cope, are damaging to health and may lead to premature death.

3. Early life
A good start in life means supporting mothers and young children: the health impact of early development and education lasts a lifetime.

4. Social Exclusion
Life is short where its quality is poor. By causing hardship and resentment, poverty, social exclusion and discrimination cost lives.

5. Work

Stress in the workplace increases the risk of disease. People who have more control over their work have better health.Unemployment

6. Unemployment
Job security increases health, well-being and job satisfaction. Higher rates of unemployment cause more illness and premature death.

7. Social Support
Friendship, good social relations and strong supportive networks improve health at home, at work and in the community.

8. Addiction
Individuals turn to alcohol, drugs and tobacco and suffer from their use, but use is influenced by the wider social setting.

9. Food
Because global market forces control the food supply, healthy food is a political issue.

10. Transport

Healthy transport means less driving and more walking and cycling, backed up by better public transport.

 

Patient Rights Letter to Provider

{DATE}

 

Dear Dr._____________________

 

I have trusted you as my health care provider; however, I feel you may have violated my Right to Self Determination by denying my right to be given complete, accurate, and unbiased information regarding cannabis medicine, as it pertains to my condition.

 

This violates trust, compromises the sanctity of our doctor patient relationship, and renders me vulnerable to the influence of those who appear willing to give me accurate, unbiased information outside of your trusted care.

 

This may be in direct violation to the American Medical Associations, Principles of Medical Ethics as follows and Code of Medical Ethics provisions extracted below:

 

American Medical Associations, Principles of Medical Ethics

I. A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights.

 II. A physician shall uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions, and strive to report physicians deficient in character or competence, or engaging in fraud or deception, to appropriate entities.

 III. A physician shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes in those requirements which are contrary to the best interests of the patient.

 IV. A physician shall respect the rights of patients, colleagues, and other health professionals, and shall safeguard patient confidences and privacy within the constraints of the law.

 V. A physician shall continue to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge, maintain a commitment to medical education, make relevant information available to patients, colleagues, and the public, obtain consultation, and use the talents of other health professionals when indicated.

 VI. A physician shall, in the provision of appropriate patient care, except in emergencies, be free to choose whom to serve, with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide medical care.

 VII. A physician shall recognize a responsibility to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community and the betterment of public health.

 VIII. A physician shall, while caring for a patient, regard responsibility to the patient as paramount.

 IX. A physician shall support access to medical care for all people.

 

Additionally, I have learned of the AMA Code of Medical Ethics and provide the following provisions,

Opinion 8.12 – Patient Information: It is a fundamental ethical requirement that a physician should at all times deal honestly and openly with patients. …. Only through full disclosure is a patient able to make informed decisions regarding future medical care. ….Concern regarding legal liability which might result following truthful disclosure should not affect the physician’s honesty with a patient.

Opinion 10.01 – The Fundamental Elements of the Patient – Physician Relationship

From ancient times, physicians have recognized that the health and well‐being of patients depends upon a collaborative effort between physician and patient. … Physicians can best contribute to this alliance by serving as their patients’ advocate and by fostering these rights:

(1) The patient has the right to receive information from physicians and to discuss the benefits, risks, and costs of appropriate treatment alternatives. Patients should receive guidance from their physicians as to the optimal course of action. .

 (2) The patient has the right to make decisions regarding the health care that is recommended by his or her physician. Accordingly, patients may accept or refuse any recommended medical treatment.

 (3) The patient has the right to courtesy, respect, dignity, responsiveness, and timely attention to his or her needs.

(5) The physician has an obligation to cooperate in the coordination of medically indicated care with other health care providers treating the patient. 

(6) The patient has a basic right to have available adequate health care... 

 

Additionally, the American Medical Association has addressed the medical use of cannabis and stated: “Our AMA believes that effective patient care requires the free and unfettered exchange of information on treatment alternatives and that discussion of these alternatives between physicians and patients should not subject either party to criminal sanctions.” H-95.952 Cannabis for Medicinal Use paragraph (4)

I understand a choice to deny me information or a recommendation as a long term patient is reportable to the medical board in this State and may carry other penalties. In Illinois for example, denial of patients rights is punishable by fine:

 

“Section 4. Violations. Any physician or health care provider that violates a patient’s rights as set forth in subparagraph (b) of Section 3 is guilty of a petty offense and shall be fined $500. Any insurance company or health service corporation that violates a patient’s rights as set forth in subparagraph (c) of Section 3 is guilty of a petty offense and shall be fined $1,000. Any physician, health care provider, health services corporation or insurance company that violates a patient’s rights as set forth in subsection (d) of Section 3 is guilty of a petty offense and shall be fined $1,000”. Ill COMP STAT § 4 : Illinois Statute, 410 ILCS 50/4) (from Ch. 111 1/2, par. 5404)

(Source: P.A. 92651, eff. 71102.) – See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/ilstatutes/410/50/4#sthash.QBx3KToC.sG7ffien.dpuf

 

Please consider the consequences of your actions however unintentional. If your are concerned about the failure of the FDA to approve use of cannabis for you condition, I will sign a waiver releasing you from all liability. If a perceived lack of scientific studies is your concern you can find information can be found at: _____________________________ and ___________________.

I choose to learn more about cannabis for the treatment of my condition as is my right.

 

I ask you to reconsider and demonstrate your compassion for the pain and suffering I endure before you deny or discourage my right to information or recommendation for cannabis medicine.

 

Thank you for your understanding and compassion in this matter.

 

Regards,

 

 

Your patient

(Name, Address and phone)