All cannabis users come across a singular question that may give them pause every time they go to the doctor’s office. Should I tell my doctor that I smoke weed?
This question can come up in different formats, like on pre-appointment forms and in physicals. And while sometimes it’s okay to not want to parade your use (for example, checking yes to “have you ever used illegal drugs” on an insurance form) there is certainly a time and a place to disclose your history with marijuana.
That time and place is with your doctor, in a private conversation.
You’ve Got Nothing to Lose
There are not a lot of downsides to telling your doctor that you smoke weed. There’s a chance that your doctor might be anti-cannabis and you might feel judged. That’s pretty much the extent of the negatives: a few moments of awkwardness or discomfort, that will most likely dissolve as soon as you share your story and the benefits you experience from using marijuana, like how it makes you feel, helps your body, alleviates anxiety, etc. If that’s the case, you can see the exchange as an opportunity to expand your doctor’s perspective, if you feel comfortable doing so.
However, chances are, a doctor will already know how beneficial cannabis can be, and won’t use this conversation against you in any way. Your medical information is not accessible to your employer or insurance company. In fact, letting your doctor know that you smoke weed can be very beneficial for the both of you.
How It Helps
Most importantly, it gives your doctor the complete story. Transparency is important in any interaction with a doctor. For any evaluation, a medical professional deserves all pieces of the puzzle to give a complete and accurate picture. This is why your physician requests a medical history at all; they’re looking for clues and context into your life, so they can best determine your health. Your doctor is looking for any insight into what is affecting your health. Regular use of cannabis contributes to this (usually in positive ways), so it’s important to share this information.
After sharing, your doctor will most likely be able to share their expertise on cannabis recommendations and cautions specific to you, your health needs, and your lifestyle. They are an excellent resource for information.
They should also know this before they prescribe other medications, on the chance that weed isn’t such a good mix with certain pharmaceuticals. For example, they might tell you that regular weed consumption can interfere with common pain meds and have a more negative effect; then, they’d likely give you alternatives to make sure that you avoid an extra unnecessary dose of dizziness, confusion, and drowsiness.
How to Bring It Up
If it makes you feel more comfortable, ask your doctor if what you say next could be kept off the record, and not entered on your chart. Chances are, he or she will swivel around in their chair, look you in the eyes, and realize that this is an important conversation to have with you.
In the end, whether it means you’ll be better cared for by your current doctor or on the search for a new one, disclosing your cannabis history is the right move. Tell your physician you smoke weed, and you’ll get the whole story when it comes to your health.
Article by: Savannah Nelson