Medical marijuana: Should we be more concerned?
3 mins read

Medical marijuana: Should we be more concerned?

Medical marijuana has been a controversial topic in the United States for a while now. We’ve all heard about the benefits of utilizing medical marijuana, but we should be more careful about who receives these prescriptions. 

Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C. allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. 

The amount research supporting the use of medical marijuana is continuing to grow. Some studies and evidence suggest marijuana can be used for medical problems including pain, nausea and loss of appetite, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.  

But medical marijuana isn’t an end-all-be-all treatment for all medical conditions. 

A rise of medical marijuana use was found in seniors over 65 with diabetes–a medical condition that wouldn’t normally be considered for treatment from medical marijuana. There are also findings of increased use of marijuana in older adults who also drink alcohol. 

Dr. Benjamin Han, an assistant professor of geriatric medicine and palliative care at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, said he worries about things like dizziness and falls in older patients, as well as anything that has any kind of psychoactive effects. Han is also worried about how medical marijuana may interact with other medications. 

There haven’t been many studies showing the effects of using any medications while using marijuana. But just because we don’t know of anything yet doesn’t mean there isn’t some potentially dangerous combination out there.

Small studies have shown marijuana may be harmful to people who recently have had heart issues. 

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “people with established heart disease who are under stress develop chest pain more quickly if they have been smoking marijuana than they would have otherwise.” 

This is because marijuana raises resting heart rates, dilates blood vessels and makes the heart pump faster. 

Harvard Health Publishing also stated “risk of heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana than it would be normally.” 

Yet people are still using medical marijuana to treat pain associated with heart-related issues. If we know these repercussions exist, why are there people still being given permission to use medical marijuana to relieve pain?

Another thing to think about is the fact that marijuana is not monitored like FDA-approved medicines. We don’t know its potential to cause cancer, or its purity, potency or side effects when treating things associated with other conditions. 

We also don’t know if there are any substantial negative effects from using marijuana as a treatment for other medical conditions, which I think is important to think about when allowing people the choice to use it. 

I absolutely support the use of medical marijuana where studies support the use of it, but I think we should also be concerned about the way it can affect other parts of our health we may not be aware of.