As Cannabis Consumption Grows, What Should We Tell Patients?

Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH


March 30, 2018

Hello. I'm Dr Arefa Cassoobhoy, a practicing internist, Medscape advisor, and senior medical director for WebMD. Welcome to Medscape Morning Report, our 1-minute news story for primary care.

Legal acceptance of both medical and recreational cannabis is growing nationwide, and consumption is on the rise. Due to rising consumption, it's important for clinicians to know the safety profile of marijuana, even if they do not advocate its use.

If a patient chooses to use cannabis, only the smallest amount needed for symptom relief should be consumed. If they are using it for neuropathic pain, they should try a topical first. Edibles should be considered instead of inhaled products in the setting of lung disease. Marijuana should be kept away from children.

Some adverse effects of marijuana use include impaired memory and concentration, and smoking-related illnesses. Patients with social anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder, or those at risk for psychosis, should be strongly discouraged from using cannabis. Last, driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime.

Counseling marijuana users about safe and responsible consumption is crucial for clinicians, especially as marijuana use increases.

Follow Dr Cassoobhoy on Twitter at @ArefaMD


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