Can doctors tell if you smoke weed?

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One of the most difficult parts about cannabis right now is that while it might be legal in many places, it’s still not as universally acceptable as many might hope. There are still businesses, for example, that look for marijuana when drug testing and many that would react more harshly to an employee who smokes recreationally than to one who drinks frequently.

As such, it can be hard to figure out with whom you should speak about your habits, even if you think that those habits can impact your health. One of the most important people to speak to about any kind of marijuana usage is probably your doctor.

Unfortunately, there are many who are afraid to speak to anyone who is in a position of authority, especially if they feel that that individual might respond negatively. As such, it’s important to know whether a doctor can report you for using marijuana and whether there are actually good reasons to talk to your doctor about your cannabis usage.

Cannabis is all natural. So do you have to tell your doctor about smoking weed?

There are absolutely many people who won’t talk to their doctors about their marijuana usage not because they are afraid of the consequences or they are afraid of being judged, but simply because they are not convinced that they need to do so. After all, their logic goes, marijuana is all natural – certainly it can’t do anything to hurt them.

Why, then, would they bother talking to a doctor about it?

Rolling a joint

The truth is that while cannabis is certainly natural, that doesn’t mean that it can impact you. There are plenty of natural things that can have an impact on your body, even if those things are normally quite safe.

While the negative impacts of marijuana on the general population have been highly exaggerated over the years, this is still a substance that you are putting into your body and one that is going to impact the way your body works. As such, you do need to think about talking to your doctor about marijuana if it seems relevant.

How HIPAA Keeps You Safe

Many people worry that talking to a doctor about marijuana usage is going to immediately lead to negative consequences. In states where marijuana usage is illegal, they might think that they’ll immediately have the police called on them.

In states where legalization occurs, a call to their places of work might be even more frightening. The good news, though, is that you have certain medical privacy rights that keeps your doctor from disclosing medical information without your consent.

If you’ve ever visited a doctor, you’ve probably signed a HIPAA form. HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, only allows doctors to disclose your health information in a very narrow set of circumstances. While there are definitely some legal circumstances that might allow your doctor to disclose your marijuana use, this is incredibly uncommon.

Even if this was the case, the doctor cannot be compelled to release this information to your employer without your consent. As such, you may have more protections from negative repercussions than you might imagine.

This, in turn, makes it much safer for you to have an honest conversation with your physician.

HIPAA does not guarantee positive feedback

The great news is that you can safely talk to your doctor about using marijuana thanks to HIPAA. This does not, however, mean that your doctor is going to celebrate your decision.

Your doctor is still a physician, and as such he or she is going to look at your marijuana usage from a medical perspective. Some doctors won’t particularly care that you smoke or use edibles from time to time, while others might be scandalized by the fact that you consume a substance that’s long been the subject of a major misinformation campaign.

Close up of addict lighting up marijuana joint

Doctors are also human, so they’re definitely going to have their own opinions on marijuana in general.

Your doctor doesn’t have to be happy about how you use marijuana. He or she might have a serious talk to you about your usage and how it impacts your health.

The one thing that your doctor is not going to do, though, is violate HIPAA. As such, you can definitely expect your doctor to be professional when it comes to following the law but you cannot expect that every doctor is going to be terribly happy about your personal choices.

Why you should be honest with your doctor even if they seem disapproving?

There are many people who would definitely rather avoid any type of confrontation with their doctors if at all possible. Unfortunately, even those people should take some time to talk to their doctors about marijuana.

Even if your doctor doesn’t approve of your lifestyle, he or she still need to know any important information that could end up impacting your long-term health. Having this conversation is what’s going to help you make the decisions that will best suit your health needs, even if that means that you’re going to have to spend some time getting lectured by your physician about your choices.

3 Reasons to Come Out to Your Doctor About Marijuana

1. Give Your Doctor a Complete Picture of Your Health

One of the best reasons to talk to your doctor about using marijuana is that doing so is going to give your doctor a much more complete picture of your health. The more your doctor knows, the more accurate his or her diagnoses can be and the better the advice that he or she can give to you.

You wouldn’t hide the fact that you take something like NyQuil from your doctor, especially if that could have an impact on how you are treated. It only makes sense, then, that you wouldn’t go out of your way to hide the fact that you use marijuana.

It’s also important that you doctor knows exactly how you use marijuana. Your doctor needs to know if you smoke, for example, because this could explain why certain respiratory issues might be present.

It’s also vital that your doctors understands how often you use marijuana, as this could have an impact on certain ways that you present yourself. The more information that your doctor has about your life, the more help that he or she will be able to be when you come in for a visit.

2. Benefit From Your Doctor’s Expertise

You are not the first person to tell your doctor that you use marijuana. Depending on how long your doctor has been practicing, your doctor might have significantly more experience with treating patients who partake than you have of partaking of cannabis yourself.

As such, talking to your doctor about your marijuana usage gives you a very unique chance to pick the brain of someone who actually has a level of expertise in how the human body works.

Man rolled Joint buds of marijuana, unrolled weed on a white background top view close

This is an especially good reason for new users to share, as some people might not be sure what kind of reactions are normal and what reactions might be a sign that’s something goes wrong. There’s a difference between a slightly elevated heart rate and one that’s a sign that you have a heart problem, for example, but it’s much easier for a doctor to figure out which one’s going on than a brand new smoker.

If you are willing to talk to your doctor, you might be able to allay some of your own fears.

3. To avoid possible interactions

Finally, you might need to talk to your doctor for safety reasons. Marijuana might be all-natural, but that doesn’t meant that it exists in a vacuum. There are some very real possibilities of drug interactions, and you need to know if one of your prescriptions could end up interacting negatively with marijuana.

As a note, it’s absolutely vital that you talk to your physician before any kind of surgery. Anesthesia and marijuana do not mix as well as you might hope, so being honest with your doctor will give you a much better chance to learn when you need to stop using any kind of cannabis product in order to have a more successful procedure.

The bottom line

Can your doctor tell that you use marijuana? There are certainly physical signs, and those doctors who have been practicing long enough definitely know what to look for.

What you don’t need to worry about, though, is your doctor sharing the information about your marijuana usage with those outside of his or her office. While your doctor might not like the fact that you use any kind of cannabis product, he or she will still make sure that this information is used in ways that will better your health.

Talking to your doctor about marijuana use is a good way to not only ensure that your doctor has all the data he or she needs, but also to ensure that you receive the care you deserve.