When it comes to the things we can do to our bodies and the risks that we could take that make our physicians worry for us, as it turns out, cannabis use is not high on the list. Actually, your doctor is more likely to worry about you riding a motorcycle without a helmet or partaking in sex with a prostitute than they are to worry about whether or not you toke up now and again.
A recent study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (also known as PNAS) sought to determine how problematic a physician views certain hypothetical situations – and how it related to their political affiliation. As it turns out, on a scale of 1-10, the most concerning situations were the two mentioned above, tied at an 8.4 out of 10 on how concerning the behavior is considered
Other hypothetical situations they were asked about included tobacco use and depression, which were both an 8.2 out of 10, alcohol use and obesity – which were both a 7.8 out of 10, firearms in the home was rated at a 7.4 out of ten and finally, previous abortions and marijuana use both ranked at 5.7 out of 10.
These findings are on par with the number of doctors’ organizations which have decided to back the legalization and regulation of marijuana from a public health standpoint. In fact, a group called Doctors for Cannabis Regulation formed earlier this year as the first national advocate group to be made entirely of healthcare professionals.
All of this also ties in with a recently published essay, where one physician tries to understand what the folks at the DEA were thinking when they made the decision to let marijuana remain a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act.
“We don’t see cannabis overdoses,” Morris wrote. “We don’t order scans for cannabis-related brain abscesses. We don’t treat cannabis-induced heart attacks. In medicine, marijuana use is often seen on par with tobacco or caffeine consumption—something we counsel patients about stopping or limiting, but nothing urgent to treat or immediately life-threatening,” he added.
Overall, it is clear that doctors in the United States are far less concerned about your marijuana use than they are about your weight and other risky behaviors you may be prone to. However, the study published in the PNAS sought out to determine if the 233 doctors surveyed had an opinion that lined up with their political affiliation – and as you would expect, a doctor who says he is republican is more likely to see marijuana use as a potential concern than a doctor who calls themselves a democrat – but across the board there are definitely things they worry about long before they worry about your marijuana use.