Fast Five Quiz: Marijuana--Medical Uses and Personal Abuses

Sage W Wiener, MD; Michael E Schatman, PhD, CPE


August 20, 2018

Although states are increasingly passing legislation permitting the use of medicinal marijuana, medical authorization does not protect against job loss.

Studies using simulated driving and flying situations have shown that the use of cannabis has a profound effect on estimates of time and distance and causes impairment of attention and short-term memory. These effects are still discernible 24-48 hours after use of the drug.

Marijuana dependence is associated with morbidity, including impaired occupational and social functioning. Several studies have also demonstrated diminution of grey matter with marijuana use, particularly in adolescents. Some reports have also suggested an increased risk for cardiovascular events.

Cannabis use can be comorbid with the presence of other psychiatric disorders, characterized by a disordered thought process, perceptual disturbances, or symptoms of anxiety. When marijuana is believed to be the etiologic agent, clinicians may diagnose a cannabis-induced disorder.

Psychotic symptoms represent a significant morbidity associated with marijuana use in select patients. Although cannabis and the development of psychosis have been linked, this link is not without considerable controversy, and there are differing perspectives on whether this relationship is indeed causal, temporal, or coincidental. Given marijuana's clinical benefits, some have argued that patients diagnosed with psychotic disorders gravitate toward self-medicating with marijuana for these effects, whereas others have advanced the view that marijuana can help precipitate the onset of psychosis in those who are genetically vulnerable.

For more on marijuana use, read here.


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