Finally, a comprehensive list of adverse effects of Cannabis!

Recently, an article was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, documenting a serious reaction triggered by a synthetic Cannabinoid in a 70-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease. She obtained the substance from a friend of hers because her Parkinson’s disease was being poorly controlled by standard medication.

There have been some studies in patients with Parkinson’s disease and the use of medical marijuana. These studies are poorly done and of low quality. In this particular paper, the patient developed a severe psychosis and she had no previous history of psychiatric problems. The drug was discontinued and the patient was followed  but even on long-term follow-up to the still having hallucinations and various other symptoms of psychosis. At the time of the publication, the patient had not developed dementia, as sometimes happens when Parkinson’s disease is complicated by psychosis.

There is much evidence that there is structural and physiological changes in areas of the brain in some patients or users of cannabis in association with psychiatric problems.

Here is a list of the non-neurological effects of marijuana:

  • Respiratory symptoms: such as bronchitis, asthma, cough, and increased risk of lung cancer have been suggested in some studies.
  • Cardiovascular complications include coronary artery disease, stroke and vasculitis [  inflammation of arteries]. There are  some small studies suggesting that there is a possible increase risk of cancer in the mouth throat or esophagus.Obviously, it will be a long time before targeted research will be reported.

Side effects from inhaled Cannabinoids and oral Cannabinoids:

  • increased heart rate
  • decrease blood pressure
  • fainting
  • cardiovascular: including increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure and fainting.
  • Immune system suppression:Resulting in  increased incidence of infection, and increased inflammation.
  • Reproduction: potential harm to the fetus, decreased fertility in  men, and Cannabis passes into breast milk.
  • Gastrointestinal: nausea
  • Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome [intractable vomiting and necessitating artificial feeding by vein – extremely difficult to treat.

Here is a list of the neurological effects of marijuana:

ACUTE EFFECTS: Cognition:, impairment of short-term memory, impairment of attention, impairment of executive functioning, impairment of visual perception.executive function is a set of mental skills that help you get things done. These skills are controlled in an area of the brain called the frontal lobe. Executive function helps you manage time and also to pay attention.

  • Mood: anxiety, panic attack, depression, suicidal ideation.
  • psychiatric or behavioral changes: Hallucinations, fatigue, drowsiness, loss of motivation, psychosis and paranoid thinking. Feelings of intoxication.
  • Psychomotor: impaired driving, increased weakness, zombie like state.
  • Potential Permanent Effects: psychosis, development of Schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, dependence on addiction, and stroke or brain hemorrhage.

There have been many attempts from the medical profession calling on the government for federal investment into research   on cannabis health impacts. This, according to many articles in the Canadian Medical Journal and elsewhere, has not happened. According to some researchers the federal government is ” hesitant to devote more funding to cannabis research because it may stem in part from a reluctance to find evidence of harm from a product that produces so much tax revenue”!

“We would hope that they would put their responsibilities to support public health research over their hunger for revenue”

“but research doesn’t ever seem to have been part of the government’s agenda”.

Other articles that appeared in the journal including one entitled Cannabis llegislation Fails to Protect Canada’s youth.

 

In another submission I will summarize the current position of marijuana in our society and the response of the medical profession to this monumental change.

 

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