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Talking to patients about cannabis

Do providers need to know if their patients use cannabis? Yes.

There are many ramifications of cannabis use on patient care, including potential interaction with anesthesia or other medicines. Patients should disclose cannabis to their providers, especially before any surgery or medical procedure.

Do patients always tell their providers about their cannabis use? No.

Many patients omit information or lie about their cannabis habits for fear of being reported to law enforcement. Or they might be confused by the screening questions. Or they may want to avoid the stigma that often comes with cannabis use.

Medical and recreational cannabis use is on the rise, as is the number of states legalizing it. To provide high-quality care providers need to know if their patients use cannabis, regardless of the provider’s personal opinions on the substance.

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