Medical Consequences of Marijuana Use: A Review of Current Literature
- 5.6k Downloads
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.
KeywordsMarijuana Medical consequences Review Substance use and related disorders Psychiatry
This material is the result of work supported with resources from, and the use of facilities at, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The content of this work does not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.
Compliance with Ethics Guidelines
Conflict of Interest
Adam J. Gordon has received research support from National Institutes of Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and royalties from Cambridge University Press and UpToDate.
James W. Conley and Joanne M. Gordon declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
- 2.Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling. Available at http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/ds.shtml. Accessed September 2013.
- 3.Eidelman WS. Should physicians support the medical use of marijuana? Yes: it can be effective when all else fails. Point West J Med. 2002;176:76.Google Scholar
- 4.Grinspoon L, Bakalar JB. Marihuana. The forbidden medicine. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1995.Google Scholar
- 7.American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.Google Scholar
- 8.United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. World drug report 2012. New York: United Nations; 2012.Google Scholar
- 9.Pew Research Center. Majority now supports legalizing marijuana. Washington, DC: People Press; 2013.Google Scholar
- 10.Johnston LD, O'Malley PM, Bachman JG, Schulenberg JE. Monitoring the future national survey results on drug use: 2012 overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan; 2013.Google Scholar
- 11.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep; 2012Google Scholar
- 12.American Society of Addiction Medicine. White Paper on state-level proposals to legalize marijuana. Available at http://www.asam.org/advocacy/find-a-policy-statement/view-policy-statement/public-policy-statements/2012/07/30/state-level-proposals-to-legalize-marijuana. Accessed September 2013.
- 14.Gordon AJ, Gordon JM, Carl K, et al. Physical illness and drugs of abuse: a review of the evidence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
- 15.Graham AW, Schultz TK, editors. Principles of addiction medicine. 2nd ed. Chevy Chase: American Society of Addiction Medicine; 1998.Google Scholar
- 16.Frances RJ, Miller SI, Mack AH, editors. Clinical textbook of addictive disorders. 3rd ed. New York: The Guilford Press; 2005.Google Scholar
- 17.Brick J, editor. Handbook of the medical consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. Binghamton: The Haworth Press; 2004.Google Scholar
- 85.Kanayama G, Rogowska J, Pope HG, et al. Spatial working memory in heavy cannabis users: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004;176:239–47.Google Scholar
- 86.Tapert SF, Schweinsburg AD, Drummond SP, et al. Functional MRI of inhibitory processing in abstinent adolescent marijuana users. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007;194:173–83.Google Scholar
- 102.Rizzo M, Lamers CT, Sauer CG, et al. Impaired perception of self-motion (heading) in abstinent ecstasy and marijuana users. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005;179:559–66.Google Scholar
- 108.NEI. NEI statement: glaucoma and marijuana use. Available at nei.nih.gov/news/statements/marij.asp. Accessed June 2013.Google Scholar
- 127.Harris, G. Researchers find study of medical marijuana discouraged. New York Times. 1-19-2010. Accessed on July 7 2013.Google Scholar