Substance Use and Related Disorders (JR McKay, Section Editor)

Current Psychiatry Reports

, 15:419

Medical Consequences of Marijuana Use: A Review of Current Literature

  • Adam J. GordonAffiliated withCenter for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemMental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Email author 
  • , James W. ConleyAffiliated withCenter for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemMental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
  • , Joanne M. GordonAffiliated withMissouri State University

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Abstract

With the advent of legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, and the increase use of marijuana, healthcare providers will be increasingly confronted with marijuana users as patients in clinical environments. While there is vast literature regarding the societal and mental health harms associated with marijuana use, there is a paucity of reviews of the potential consequences of marijuana use on physical health or medical conditions. We examine the recent literature on the physical harms associated with illicit and legal marijuana administration. We surveyed the peer-reviewed medical literature from 1998 to 2013 of studies assessing the association of marijuana use and physical diseases. We conclude that healthcare providers should be cognizant that the existing literature suggests that marijuana use can cause physical harm. However, evidence is needed, and further research should be considered, to prove causal associations of marijuana with many physical health conditions.

Keywords

Marijuana Medical consequences Review Substance use and related disorders Psychiatry