Marijuana, Uncategorized

Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems

This information is all gathered from an article by Kevin P Hill in the JAMA magazine published June 23, 2015 Volume 313, Number 24.

marijuana plant

When is it a good idea to try medical marijuana to combat medical problems you may be facing?

Medical marijuana should not be your first option. “While medical marijuana is not a first-line treatment for chronic pain, it is reasonable to consider medical marijuana as a treatment after other treatments have failed.” Marijuana is not just a drug that can be used to treat any condition. Just like all drugs, there are some things it is designed to help with more than others. “In general, the evidence supporting the use of marijuana and cannabinoids for other conditions aside from the FDA indications and chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis is either equivocal or weak.”

Marijuana, just like with opiates, needs to be regulated and prescribed in the correct dosages, otherwise it can be abused. “Marijuana is potentially addictive, causing significant problems for work, school, and relationships in about 9% of adult and 17%of adolescent users.” Because the addiction potential is so high, especially in youth, it needs to remain regulated, and should only be given to patients that have been certified by their primary care physician.

Some studies have been done regarding marijuana, and the results can vary widely depending on the medical problem. So how can you know whether or not medical marijuana will help you? Here is a checklist of considerations for medical marijuana use:

 

  Practical Considerations for Medical Marijuana

An appropriate medical marijuana candidate should have:

  • A debilitating medical condition that data from randomized clinical trials suggest would respond to medical marijuana pharmacotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, anorexia from wasting illnesses like AIDS, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, or spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Multiple failed trials of first- and second-line pharmacotherapies for these conditions
  • A failed trial of an US Food and Drug Administration–approved cannabinoid (dronabinol or nabilone)
  • No active substance use disorder or psychotic disorder or no unstable mood disorder or anxiety disorder
  • Residence in a state with medical marijuana laws and meets requirements of these laws

 

Medical marijuana can exacerbate anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders, so people with these problems should not use it. Physicians need to be aware of their patients’ problems and medical issues beforehand so they can know who to certify to use marijuana and who not to certify. Physicians need to make sure that they have been educated about Marijuana, and know what it should be used to treat

When deciding whether or not to start using medical marijuana to help with a medical problem, there are many considerations to ponder and research should be done beforehand. Remember, medical marijuana should not be a first line of defense, but should be turned to only after other options have failed.

This article contributed by Megan Mecham

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