Earlier this week I realized I hadn’t made an update on my process to acquire a medical cannabis card here in Washington state.
The reason being that I’ve been too nervous to schedule an appointment with my Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. I’m afraid that she’s going to think I’m a med chaser. Except, instead of me trying to buy stimulants, opioids, or any other highly stigmatized pharmaceuticals, I’m asking for permission to buy cannabis at a lower price.
When I actually stop to think about it, I know that she isn’t going to judge me too harshly. I’ve already talked to her about medical cannabis and my decision to acquire a card to have more affordable access to high-CBD products; however, it doesn’t change the fact that my request would go into my patient file.
With my request on file, my current Therapist — who is a former Drug Addiction Counselor — would be able to see my request. Which, ironically enough, is why I started going to my current Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner for medication management: I wanted better-coordinated care.
Cannabis isn’t the only thing I consume as medication. I also take an antidepressant as well as a vitamin D supplement for Major Depressive Disorder. If I decide to add any additional psychiatric medication, I want my Therapist to be informed so she can make better-informed decisions when/if she has to update my recovery treatment plan. Now, that plan has backfired in a relatively minor way; but, my anxiety about the situation isn’t so minor.
Having a former Drug Addiction Counselor as my Therapist puts a lot of pressure on me as her patient. In fact, it took me quite a while to even disclose my day-to-day usage. Before I disclosed my decision to use cannabis to manage my pain full-time, I would avoid the topic all-together, unless she brought it up first.
It’s quite intimidating to work with a Therapist who used to spend every workday helping people get sober. And when people are getting sober, they aren’t allowed to have a few puffs of cannabis here and there. They have to be clean and sober of all recreational substances. My Therapist spent the bulk of her career preaching against cannabis. Well, actually, all drugs. So my hesitation isn’t fully unwarranted.
But, wait, there’s more!
Although my Social Security Disability Insurance claim was recently approved, I still haven’t started receiving payments; and won’t for another 1 to 3 months. As a result, my husband and I are still living on a pretty tight budget. Unfortunately, because my Therapist and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner’s office is private, they are allowed to — and do — charge a fee for paperwork. And I think the fee is about as expensive as it would be to go to the “Cannabis Clinic” (i.e., the clinic that specializes in medical marijuana authorizations). Technically, I could schedule an appointment just for paperwork. That’s what I had to do with my Therapist while walking through the disability claim process. But for some reason, the idea of doing that makes me just as nervous as making the appointment to ask if my Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner would even be willing to fill out the required paperwork.
Basically, I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I won’t lie to you, either. Remember when I talked about my plan to ask my Pain Management Provider if she’d be willing to fill out the paperwork for me? Remember how I rationalized that the paperwork wouldn’t take any longer than a prescription for a controlled substance? Yeah, well, that never happened. I had planned to do it the day of my last trigger point injection appointment. But when I got there and started the appointment, I lost my nerve.
I’m nervous because I don’t want to seem like a drug seeker. It doesn’t matter that I’ve developed a relationship with each of these providers. It also doesn’t matter that they know my intention. Cannabis is still highly stigmatized in the medical field, probably because so little research has been done, and these people that I’m asking are trained — and encouraged — to prescribe pharmaceuticals.
So that’s where I’m at in the process: stuck. I don’t know if I’ll get up the nerve to ask. Frankly, with everything else that I’ve been dealing with this month (e.g., surgery, a colonoscopy, and my disability hearing in front of a judge) I’m not sure I have any energy left to dedicate to this process right now. I don’t have the energy to coach myself into moving this process forward. All of my energy is going into getting to my appointments on time, recovering from surgery, and otherwise regulating my emotions so that I don’t have an emotional meltdown between therapy sessions.
It’s a lot to deal with, and unfortunately, acquiring a medical cannabis card just isn’t a priority in the grand scheme of things. There’s too much emotional energy required on my end, and I just don’t have any left to spare.