Should You Tell Your Doctor You Smoke Weed (or Do Other Drugs)?

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Sure, you’re an grownup, capably managing your grown-up duties (more often than not), however sure questions out of your physician can nonetheless make you time-travel again to childhood and fudge your reply—and even downright lie.

Working example: questions on substance use. This consists of the authorized stuff, in fact, like alcohol and cigarettes. However when your doc poses this question, they’re additionally questioning about dietary supplements (assume: nutritional vitamins, natural dietary supplements, probiotics), semi-legal medicine like marijuana, and unlawful substances, too, akin to cocaine, LSD, and different medicine.

It additionally consists of prescription medicines that weren’t prescribed to you straight and dietary supplements aimed toward boosting your sexual or exercise efficiency.


Specialists In This Article

  • Alexa Mieses Malchuk, MD, MPH, a board-certified household medication doctor and District Medical Director at One Medical in North Carolina
  • Samuel Mathis, MD, a board-certified household medication physician and assistant professor of household medication on the College of Texas Medical Department
  • Divesh Goel, MD, board-certified household medication physician

Once we polled readers about their greatest well being questions for our Real Talk Rx series, we discovered a lot of you wonder if you need to inform your physician you smoke weed or in any other case be completely trustworthy about your substance use. Here is what our panel of MDs needed to say.

So, must you inform your physician you smoke weed? And what about different substances?

“What I all the time inform people is that physicians went to medical college. We have now a specialised medical data that we in the end use to maintain you wholesome. So generally there are issues you could not understand as impacting your well being, however your doctor may very well have some info to supply or some counseling to supply.

So I encourage folks to inform their docs about each substance. And by that I imply not simply medicines which might be prescribed to you, however generally folks use medicines from associates or household and don’t have a prescription for it. Be sure to share that along with your physician as effectively.

You need to share any dietary supplements you are taking. Dietary dietary supplements, how a lot caffeine and alcohol you devour, and different medicine. There are some that individuals might not assume to share. For instance there are medicine that folk use to boost their sexual efficiency that they could not affiliate with being an precise drug or substance.”

I am not the police, I am your physician. We’re not right here to admonish folks. There is not any judgment. We’re right here that will help you. —Divesh Goel, MD

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“You need to inform your physician all the things!

I inform sufferers, ‘I am not the police, I am your physician.’ It normally works as a result of I am fairly informal, and so they really feel like they will inform me all the things: Drug use, non-prescribed [medication] use, herbs, dietary supplements, even when it is a multivitamin, even when it’s folate or post- or pre-workout supplements.

All people can Google issues or learn articles, however docs examine it. We’re not right here to admonish folks. There is not any judgment. Our viewpoint is absolutely to seek the advice of for you. We’re right here that will help you.”

Samuel Mathis, MD, headshot banner

“An open dialog along with your doctor is important to assist your physician perceive you as an individual. And to assist them perceive how you can finest make suggestions.

Should you smoked pot in school, however you have not performed it in 30 years, that might not be as vital of a dialogue. May you continue to inform them that you simply tried it as soon as? You possibly can, however in the event you’re not frequently utilizing it or have not used it within the final 5 to 10 years, it’s in all probability not an enormous situation.

With different substances like LSD, cocaine, and heroin, although, perhaps that you must have that dialog due to the long-term results and problems these substances might have on you sooner or later. Understanding that you simply’ve [used these] substances up to now will be actually useful for me as a health care provider to make suggestions, or decide if any well being problems are from heavy use up to now.

I’d all the time advocate to share along with your docs what dietary supplements you take. Many instances these dietary supplements might have interactions with prescription medicines. Understanding what herbs or dietary supplements you’re taking may also assist your physician make suggestions on whether or not you need to cease taking them due to potential unwanted effects with different medicines.”

The takeaway

On the subject of substances—whether or not it’s marijuana or multivitamins—specialists agree: The very best coverage is honesty.

Medical doctors have good causes for quizzing you in your substance use—and no, it’s not simply nosiness. (Nor do they typically care concerning the legality of what you are utilizing. In practically all circumstances, what you inform your physician might be protected by physician-patient confidentiality, in line with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, except you are at critical danger of wounding your self or others.)

Reasonably, docs ask as a result of many substances have well being implications. Take nutritional vitamins, for instance: Some can work together with prescribed meds, in line with the Mayo Clinic. Common marijuana use might imply you’ll want extra anesthesia throughout surgical procedure, in line with UCHealth, whereas utilizing cocaine can result in instant unwanted effects and doubtlessly lasting modifications to coronary heart well being, per the American Heart Association.

In different phrases, taking substances might straight have an effect on your well being, within the brief or long run, and in the event you’re open along with your physician, it might probably assist them know what to search for and higher perceive your general well being.

‌Confused about your well being? Get solutions to extra widespread questions in our Real Talk Rx series.

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