Anxiety meds and marijuana


I am curious and can't seem to find an answer about my anxiety meds and marijuana. I don't live in a legal state, but am curious to try some marijuana to help with pain and other issues. I'm curious if my psychologist would stop my anxiety and sleep meds if I brought it up to them. Thanks for any guidance you can provide!

Jim's Reply:

The use of marijuana to treat medical conditions is controversial even in the states where it's legal. The VA doesn't care if you use illicit substances so far as your benefits go, no benefit will be interrupted because of substance abuse.

But...marijuana and other similar substances are psychoactive drugs and your mental health providers for the most part don't want you mixing any medicines with the ones they prescribe for you. That might even include alcohol and some over the counter medicines, anything that may skew the effect of the prescribed drugs is a concern.

The person who prescribes your mental health medications will have authority over whether or not your prescribed medications would continue if you added marijuana to the regimen. Each case would be decided individually and there isn't really any policy one way or the other except that everyone will remind you that marijuana is illegal. In your case it isn't just illegal at the federal level, you say you're in a state where it's still illegal so you have a steep uphill climb to convince anyone that it's a good idea to use something illegal.

So, what to do? It's a very personal decision and a lot of veterans decide to toss their prescribed medications in favor of using THC to control their anxiety and pain and to aid their sleep. VA tests everyone for drugs at almost every visit so be aware that you won't be able to hide the use of marijuana.

I'd offer that you should approach your provider and ask. If you aren't testing positive for marijuana at that time, if the provider says "no" to your using weed, you probably won't lose the prescriptions. 

I'm in a state where medical marijuana is legal and relatively simple to get to. As I've said, a lot of older veterans I know in particular have decided to toss the pills and replace those with THC in one form or another and they are happier for it. It's your decision to make...remember that where you are, you can get in trouble and nobody from VA will be there to bail you out.