MH900441262I was never one to shy away from controversy in health care and today the debates run the gamut from ‘Obama Care’ (Affordable Care Act) to medical marijuana aka Cannabis (THC).  Already legal for medical use in 19 states and DC and recreational in 2 state, the cliché – ‘horse is already out of the barn’ applies here so lets consider what do we really know about the benefits and dangers of this weed.

In this blog I look into what is little known and not known about ‘medical marijuana:

-Known good for chronic pain not acute pain and also interferes with metabolism of other medications.

-With regard to cancer, cannabis was associated with the growth of breast, lung, and head and neck cancers, and a possible decrease in colon and bladder cancer.

-THC users who start smoking as adolescents exhibit an irreparable decline in IQ, with more persistent use linked to a greater decline, new research shows. On the other hand, adult – onset cannabis use is not linked to a decline in IQ.

-Use of marijuana has long been known to cause an increase in relaxation and euphoria along with, at times, memory impairment. Dronabinol (taken orally) is prescription (FDA) approved for anorexia, with weight loss in patients with AIDS, and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer therapy.

-Marijuana can be associated paradoxically with anxiety and dysphoria (state of unease)in some people and this relates to a biphasic effect of cannabinoids.*

Like any other chemical one can take its effect vary from person to person. Recall the warning on many prescription drugs regarding caution when driving and ‘operating machinery’. Guidelines for prescribing are needed to reflect recent developments in medicine, such as improvements in treatment of medical conditions with marijuana. Recent study (2005  – 2010) found improvement in Diabetes and ‘good cholesterol’ levels in users**.

Much international research has been done but still ‘beaucoup’ conflicting and unclear  data. sorry I believe future research efforts is gravely  and will help alleviate the current ambiguity in the degree to which marijuana is good for those who work in many positions. Safety is at risk and  intoxication deteriorates driving performance and increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents.

* Mechoulam R, Parker LA. The endocannabinoid system and the brain. Annu Rev Psychol. 2013;64:6.1–6.27

**Am J Med. May 16, 2013