Current Psychiatry Reports

, 15:419 | Cite as

Medical Consequences of Marijuana Use: A Review of Current Literature

  • Adam J. GordonEmail author
  • James W. Conley
  • Joanne M. Gordon
Substance Use and Related Disorders (JR McKay, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Substance Use and Related Disorders


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.


Marijuana 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

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam J. Gordon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • James W. Conley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joanne M. Gordon
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP)VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC)VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Missouri State UniversitySpringfieldUSA
  4. 4.University of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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