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Conceal medical cannabis use in dating profile?
July 29, 2014 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Should I disclose my frequent medical marijuana use in an online dating profile?

As an (OKCupid) A-list-er, I can search individual questions and the number of women around my age and location who answer "What's your relationship with marijuana?" with "I smoke regularly" is tiny. Some "I smoke occasionally", but many of those are explained with things like "very occasionally."

In San Francisco/East Bay and among younger women there are more "regularly". I've had no success trying to date women 40+ miles away.

I suffer from typing-related chronic pain. I also like pot. I'm 46 and a parent, divorced 3 years and I don't work, drive or parent stoned. Currently, I've answered the question honestly, but I've made all of my answers private.

I'm fine dating someone who doesn't indulge, but not someone who's going to want me to stop even when we aren't together.

Related profile falsification: I live in a town with high incomes and property values, for the school and by accident. I'm a renter and progressive-minded. Is changing my location to Campbell or San Jose enough of a fib to be a dealbreaker when disclosed?

I've tried a form of "radically honest dating" and the reply rate was so low that I guess I want to try being slightly less honest but also more open minded about accepting partners and about making changes to be acceptable. I'd go vegan or try to make more guy friends, but I'm not giving up my only relief.
posted by morganw to Human Relations (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
[left this out by accident] only concerned about dating, not disclosure causing child custody or employment issues.
posted by morganw at 10:30 AM on July 29


Honestly? If I were interested in someone on OK Cupid, that's something I'd want to know about them. It would be a factor in my decision making. (Not saying it would be a thumbs-up or -down, but I'd want to know.)
posted by mudpuppie at 10:34 AM on July 29 [7 favorites]


I have found that certainly in the long run, honesty is he best policy.
posted by 724A at 10:42 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Are you looking only for an LTR, or also just for fun and games? If the former, both the high marijuana use and the chronic pain are matters you will need to make known sooner or later, and sooner is probably better if it's going to be a deal-breaker. If you're just looking for people to occasionally go out and have fun with, it's none of their business... until you decide you're on the path to an LTR. Then how will you feel about telling them?

As far as area goes, San Jose is a big place. If someone told me they lived in San Jose and I later found out they lived in Campbell or Sunnyvale, I wouldn't bat an eye. If they told me something more specific, like Campbell, and I found out they really lived in Sunnyvale, I'd wonder why.
posted by ubiquity at 10:42 AM on July 29


If you're dishonest about this, the people you date are going to find out eventually anyway. Probably pretty soon if use is frequent enough that you smell like pot occasionally or whatever.

If you want a lot of first dates that ultimately go nowhere anyway, I guess lying might be the way to go. But if you want a real long term relationship it's not a great idea.
posted by quincunx at 10:46 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


I don't think you need to disclose medical/drug stuff like this in your profile. I agree that being honest about it early is important but I think letting your date know in messages before you meet up, or even during the course of the first or second date is acceptable, too.
posted by horizons at 10:47 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


I also like pot...I'm fine dating someone who doesn't indulge, but not someone who's going to want me to stop even when we aren't together.


Continuing to smoke (without being nagged about it) is a deal breaker for you. The worst part of dating is finding out months into a relationship that your deal breakers do not align.

Put it out there - if not on the profile, then within the early contacts. No need to waste time going down a path that's a dead-end.
posted by 26.2 at 10:51 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


Honestly? If I were interested in someone on OK Cupid, that's something I'd want to know about them. It would be a factor in my decision making.

This is me also for LTR stuff. With just casual fun type of dating I don't think I would care too much. That said, I don't know if it needs to be in your profile so much as disclosed early on in communications. I've got a lot of past history with substance abuse problems (personally and in my family) and someone who is a regular pot user in a non-negotiable way is a bad fit with me. As far as the location, it would seem weird to me to have someone saying they lived one place when they didn't. Is there a way to say, for example "San Jose Area" without saying "I live in San Jose"?
posted by jessamyn at 10:55 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


I believe there are questions about whether someone is willing to date someone who smokes pot. Why not try filtering people by those questions?

Also, if you think your specific area would turn off the people you'd want to date, I might put a note about that in my profile - something like: I live in Los Gatos because the schools are great and because I was lucky to find an affordable rental here, but my income and political views skew differently from most of the residents.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:56 AM on July 29


There's no reason you have to disclose this part about your life in your dating profile. I'd argue that you actually shouldn't. Because it sounds like you have nuanced reasons for your use that are entirely worth hashing out with someone face-to-face, and online dating questions definitely steamroll over any nuance or reason. The uncharitable takeaway many will have when screening for this kind of thing is "irresponsible drug user". So no, don't disclose this. It can come up naturally as you get to know someone, even on the first date if it's important to you. Once they see that you're just a normal upstanding person, it's much easier to swallow.
posted by naju at 10:57 AM on July 29 [7 favorites]


Please, please, please do. It is beyond frustrating to go out on a date thinking that someone's lack of response to the drugs section of OkCupid means no drug use at all, only to discover that they're a daily user or at least use on weekly/monthly basis. I find not disclosing regular recreational drug use, medical or otherwise, deceptive. Be upfront!
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:02 AM on July 29 [9 favorites]


As a quick counter to that, many of us have jobs that could be compromised by disclosing this information publicly. There's really all kinds of legit reasons for not being forthcoming about this topic. I think of it along the same lines as particularly invasive sex questions - if I feel it's none of the world's business to have this open about me, then I'm perfectly comfortable not disclosing. Happy to answer honestly in private messages, etc.
posted by naju at 11:07 AM on July 29 [7 favorites]


I'm torn. On the one hand, I see this as sort of a private medical/lifestyle issue that should be brought up very early in the dating process, maybe on the phone prior to meeting - not in a profile. On the other hand, you risk going on too many dates with people who would object to your drug use. It would probably be more efficient to disclose in your profile - like, actually write about your use of marijuana and make clear that you're only looking for partners who are okay with this. If you go this route, you might like to give some thought to how you will make it clear that you're a responsible adult and have clear boundaries around other recreational drug use.
posted by Gray Skies at 11:11 AM on July 29


Answer it honestly but mark the question private. Leave the section blank on the quick details area.

That way the algos will filter out matches who absolutely will not abide the weed but you also won't have publicly disclosed anything that might make your employer harumph.

Don't lie about your location. If you don't think your location accurately reflects your lifestyle you could always put something in your profile like "sometimes I look around and wonder how I ended up in [posh town]; I've always felt like more of a [whatever town] at heart. Can't argue with that farmer's market, though!" or whatever suits you best.
posted by phunniemee at 11:12 AM on July 29 [11 favorites]


The only thing you can assume from lack of response to the drug use section is that the person does not want to share (online) how often they use drugs for some reason. There is a dropdown choice for "Never." If someone wants to communicate that they never use drugs, they'd select that.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:14 AM on July 29


I wonder how much the marijuana question is actually holding you back. On the one hand, it's probably filtering out people who, you know, actually wouldn't want to date you. On the other hand, when I last used OKCupid it seemed like every guy I matched with had a long section about how much he loved pot and how pot was one of his five things he couldn't live without, to the point where eventually I changed all my answers to "absolutely no drug use, even pot" because I was tired of getting matched with men who couldn't shut up about pot for five damn minutes (this may have been related to my location). But I probably would have a problem with the amount of pot smoking it sounds like you do, so?

I suspect that stepping away from honesty would, at best, get you more first dates that go nowhere. The most you should do is "unanswer" the question if you want but I doubt it will make much difference.

As for location, again, I think lying is only going to delay the inevitable. Some people don't want to go out of their way to date strangers who live more than X minutes away from their location - maybe it's stupid, but if I were single I would not be interested in going on dates with people who lived in the outer suburbs (I would be willing to go for it with someone I met IRL who I really connected with, but OKCupid blind dates - no thanks). If you're worried about what your location seems to say about you, talk about that in your profile and in your initial messages - show that you really know and like their community (if applicable). I'm guessing you're a man? So presumably (given the way online dating works) you're mostly the one initiating contact with women? If you have a good initial message and start to your profile, I don't think most women would dismiss you on the basis of living in the wrong community. But lying about it is weird. (IIRC, OKC works based on zip code? So you couldn't really just say "San Jose Area.")
posted by mskyle at 11:34 AM on July 29


I think you should remove your answer to the question. The other options create problems:

A) Leave it visible: People will assume you use recreationally and for some people recreational would be a dealbreaker but medical wouldn't.
B) Visible with explanation: Your chronic health conditions are probably TMI for before the first date.
C) Answered but private: It's lowing your rank with women who have set this as a dealbreaker, though it's dealbreaker status probably assumes recreational use.
D) Lying: Bad idea.

Just skip that question and it can be one of the many things you won't know about each other until you're getting to know each other. Sure, it could be a deal breaker for some women, but so could the many other things they won't know about you until they've gotten to know you better.

I write as a person who would not want to date someone who smokes or who does drugs recreationally. Rightly or wrongly, I would assume you smell and your home smells and I really dislike that smell (have complained repeatedly to condo board about the smell and the neighbours need to keep the smell in their units). That said, I would date someone who say ate brownies for medicinal reasons. Assuming they don't stink when they bake.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:58 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I don't think you're obligated to answer it, particularly if it's illegal in your region. However, if you're anywhere near a daily or weekly smoker, answering "never" or "occasional" would be really, really dishonest (and therefore a big red flag). I also think you need to disclose your smoking frequency within the first few dates, because it's a pretty big lifestyle compatibility thing.

Yes, it will turn people off - that's a good thing. The people turned off by an early disclosure will still be turned off when they eventually find out; the only difference is that you're wasting time (and emotional energy) for both of you.
posted by randomnity at 12:05 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I think that disclosing medical stuff like this on a dating profile is weird, almost oversharey, and inappropriate for people to expect.

I mean, i guess my opinions is biased because i used to work at a dispensary that went out of its way to really only serve people who actually had a medical need, but pain like this is very much one. It feels to me like disclosing that you take adderall for ADHD or something.

I think a large part of the problem, which even shows in some of the responses you've gotten, is that people don't take cannabis serious as medicine entirely(yet, at least). There's this idea that if you like taking medication for something, then you really just like taking drugs and then you're a drug user and blablabla. Plenty of people are prescribed medication for things that they actually need them for, and it still makes them feel good in some way. There's like, to possibly take this to a weird place, women enjoying sex amounts of BS surrounding this. And it's not just about pot at all. That's more of just a lightning rod or blatant example.

Pretty much, i see those kinds of forms for disclosing that you just, or primarily use it recreationally. Putting it in there for this reason feels like saying you drink regularly because of communion at church, or something.

I wouldn't disclose this, and i'd bring it up later on as a "oh, i use it medically for my pain with bla bla bla" kind of way. Anyone who gives you a "yeaa sureeeeeeee buddy" kind of response is a bit of an asshole anyways.

So, i guess i am advocating a bit for the dates that go nowhere thing. But i also think you'll get a lot more bites from people who find out after they've already gone on a couple of dates with you and realize you aren't their outdated idea of a Stoner Loser, or midlife crisisy person in their 40s desperately trying to get baked and relive when they were young, or whatever stupid preconceived notion they have.

On preview, If only i had a penguin says what i think you should do. This is definitely in the "later on" level of stuff to discuss.
posted by emptythought at 12:06 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


You don't have to reveal anything super personal in your profile but know this will be a big conflict for some people and so if you find someone with long term potential, I hope you'll be upfront with them and honest with yourself about your relationship with pot.
posted by latkes at 12:06 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I've had this exact same problem on OKCupid. After a few different accounts between a few different relationships, I realized that OKC is not the venue to hash out medicinal marijuana usage/acceptability. naju is right that it's just too nuanced an issue to be put out there on what amounts to an ad for yourself. And I agree with those who are saying that it's best for you to do the filtering on your end of things, looking for specific answers to questions.

Another thing I've found in my own experience on OKC is that people flat-out lie about this all the time. They answer 'no' and 'never' by rote but really mean 'smoke if you got 'em' or 'sure' because they don't want to put it out there for the world to see. If someone's profile is otherwise completed (they've answered a bunch of questions, the quick facts portion is pretty much filled out) but there's an — for 'drugs,' I take it the opposite of Hermione Granger; they smoke or whatever or they just want to answer that question elsewhere. Not answering to me is the same as saying, "let's talk about it, preferably like adults."

MM is just in this weird zone of acceptability where people just aren't sure what they're OK with, or they're in the process of changing their mind, or they just don't know how to incorporate it's usage into their lives. It doesn't help that OKC lumps 'drugs' into one huge category. The person abusing their pain meds or mixing and matching SSRIs or getting blotto on vodka four nights a week is probably not going to answer 'regularly' because when they see "drugs" they think meth or coke or speed or, yeah, marijuana. Putting all of those things into one category is silly.

For a while, my personal solution to this conundrum was to be honest but nuanced. I drink caffeine daily, I take Aleve when I have a headache, I drink socially but otherwise never, I've done some harder drugs in the past but don't anymore, and I smoke weed regularly—for example. The problem with that route is that it's deadly eye-glaze and totally boring. Also, when you spell it out like that it feels like TMI.

But if I didn't say anything, it felt unfair to otherwise interested people.

So after futzing with this crap off and on for years I finally realized that OKC wasn't a good venue for me to meet somebody. That's probably not the answer you wanted to hear, sorry. But it's a dating/hook-up site that's dressed up like a matchmaking/LTR site, and that combination or crossing of purpose doesn't work well for me.
posted by carsonb at 12:07 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Definitely don't lie about your location. If you lie about where you live, of all things, I'd wonder what else you were lying about.

For me, marijuana use is a dealbreaker. Even MMJ if I only know you from online. I would definitely want to know that up front and save both of us the trouble.
posted by mochapickle at 12:11 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth I don't think an OKC profile is the place to get into talking about Medical history, particularly if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Assuming you have a prescription, that's something to talk about if you click and agree to meet, not something that you need to feel obliged to broadcast to the world.
posted by Carillon at 1:21 PM on July 29


I lied about my location on OKC to get more matches (I live an hour from a major city and pretty much only wanted to date people in that city) but disclosed this 'lie' to all of my matches once we reached the email phase.

I don't think your rationale for lying about your location actually makes sense, though. So what you live in a ritzy town? You want to date someone who wouldn't form a snap judgment about you from that minor piece of information.
posted by Gray Skies at 1:23 PM on July 29


I am allergic to marijuana. For me, your smoking would be an automatic deal-breaker and it has nothing at all to do with being judgy. It is totally about me breaking out in hives.

But, then, my complicated medical situation is one reason I don't expect to ever use OK Cupid or any other online dating site. I think the quick-and-dirty "resume" style of trying to get matched up to other potential mates is inherently problematic for someone with any sort of complicated explanation for anything in their life. One of the problems here is that although you actually like pot, you aren't a straight up stoner. So there will be people who won't automatically reject you since it's medical who might normally reject people who smoke pot. You don't fit neatly into any one categorization on this topic. I am guessing there are other areas where you also fail to fit neatly into a category. That might be the real reason you are not getting the results you want from OKC.
posted by Michele in California at 1:37 PM on July 29


No, you don't need to disclose. If you can fib about your weight you can about this.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:40 PM on July 29


Another vote that it'd be a dealbreaker for me, because weed gives me strong headaches and nausea. You don't need to go into the medical details or lengthy explanations in the profile at all, but you do need to make clear that you're a frequent user. I'd be annoyed (and, depending on if I could smell it, unwell) if we met on a date and I learned this for the first time.
posted by TwoStride at 2:51 PM on July 29


This is sort of a sideways answer to your question, more about MMJ usage than dating, but in part my frustration with OKC led me to look into edibles and topical oils as opposed to smoking the dope. If you find yourself amenable to those methods of delivery they are infinitely easier to incorporate into life's usual routines. They don't smell as much, they don't offer contact highs (well, unless you touch the topical oils, heh), and so they're nigh on indistinguishable from other regular activities like eating a sweet (candy/cookie) or slathering yourself in oil/lotion.

Using those methods puts everyone who has practical objection to your MMJ usage (such as people like Michele in California or TwoStride) back into your pool of availability and leaves only the ideologically opposed unavailable to you. Something to consider, if you haven't already.
posted by carsonb at 2:57 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I would not ever disclose that I was doing something illegal on OKC, and I also wouldn't disclose my medical condition (or that I had one) there. I've also lied about my alcohol use - I don't drink due to allergy issues, but have had problems with people who are straight-edge looking for another straight-edger and also with people who avoid straight-edgers. My experience of online dating is that a lot of people are okay with things in practice that they find off-putting if you put them in your profile, and also that it's not too hard to weed out the judgmental assholes. I'd leave it blank or private, and disclose early on when you can explain your situation.
posted by bile and syntax at 3:49 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Leave it for an early date. If you were taking prescribed Prozac or Xanax or Adderall I wouldn't expect to see it on your OKC page.
posted by feets at 4:58 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Don't lie or omit. Pot use is different than almost any other drug use legal and illegal since it has the potential to make others sick. The smell of pot gives me an almost instant migraine. Cigarettes do the same thing. I would be upset to find out after a date that the other person smoked.

If you use pot in a method that doesn't involve a stench, then you could possibly omit it and keep it personal for a little while, like someone using traditional pain medication. I wouldn't expect someone taking traditional pain medication for a true problem to disclose that since it doesn't have a direct/instant impact on me. Basically, smoking causes allergic reactions in portion of the population. If you had a cat, wouldn't you want to know ahead of time if a potential date was allergic to cats?
posted by parakeetdog at 5:52 PM on July 29


I'd mention it on the first or second date. I do not think that it's a great idea to type this out on the Internet, even if it does seem like it's in a private message or a private question or whatnot. There are all KINDS of things that are dealbreakers that don't get disclosed on a dating profile. That's what the first date is for. And the second. And the third.

Don't string it along, and say it early, but you aren't obligated to disclose criminal behavior on the Internet in order to be allowed to use an online dating service.
posted by sockermom at 8:37 PM on July 29


My first thought is: I wonder if reactions to daily smoking (medical or otherwise) are somewhat influenced by location. I'm in your age range, live in SF and frequent pot usage (medical or otherwise) is nowhere near out of the ordinary for the vast majority of people I know, most of whom are well-paid professionals in their various fields. I would just answer "smokes occasionally" so the fact that you're 420 friendly is on the table, and leave the details to a later date when you know whether or not you want to see someone on the regular.

Re: your location, it's not clear to me why you'd want to fib about where you live - I checked your MeFi profile and it says you're in Los Gatos. What's so wrong with that? I don't see that Campbell or San Jose really gets you much in terms of signaling. Everyone who lives out here knows there are different pockets in each city/area so I'd find it weird if a potential interested party dissed you for that.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 11:06 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


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