As medical marijuana becomes more mainstream, you may be wondering about how it would work for some of your patients. This “natural” form of pain management may seem like a good fit for certain situations, but there are a few considerations to make when prescribing medical marijuana. Here are 5 reasons why medical marijuana might not be for everyone:
While those who are pro-cannabis will argue that marijuana is not addictive, the research says otherwise. People who become addicted to marijuana may have impaired judgement, and can experience unwanted withdrawal symptoms should they choose to quit using the drug. If your patient has a history of addiction, it’s best to avoid prescribing medical marijuana. Addition is a very risky thing, and there are alternatives to manage your patient’s symptoms.
Long-term effects are less than positive
According to Psychology Today, two studies have found that marijuana is not just addictive, it can have permanent damaging effects on the brain. The negative impact is greater the younger a person begins using marijuana.
A lot of unknowns
Although medical marijuana is FDA-approved and monitored, since it has recently achieved its status there are a lot of unknowns about marijuana. If you’re dealing with a patient who has a complex medical history or family history, it may be better to opt for a tried and true solution over one that is still up for debate.
History of psychosis
This is one of the toughest things to account for, especially if psychosis has not been diagnosed by you. However, patients who have or may have a psychosis diagnosis should avoid medical marijuana at all costs. Marijuana can trigger or worsen the symptoms of psychosis, creating a potentially dangerous situation for the consumer.
Women who are or may become pregnant
Since the effects of medical marijuana on the fetus are largely unknown, women who are or who may become pregnant should not be prescribed medical marijuana. What is known? THC crosses the placenta, meaning the fetus will be impacted by a pregnant woman’s marijuana use. Some early studies have shown that children of pregnant marijuana users have decreased functioning and learning capabilities when compared to children whose mothers did not use marijuana.
Whether or not to prescribe medical marijuana to your patient is your judgement call. However, if you have a patient who unexpectedly faced addiction, you can advise them to reach out to a Recovery Treatment Center for help.