Marijuana Use - Medical, Health, and Legal Issues (II)

Marijuana Use - Medical, Health, and Legal Issues (II)

July 18, 2019

Laura Borgelt, Pharm.D., BCPS - Professor, Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences - talks to us about the recreational use of marijuana and its potential health consequences.

Key Lessons:

  • Cannabis (marijuana) use has increased substantially in the past decade.  Young adults are the most likely to report using marijuana in the past year or month but use among older adults (age > 65 years) is growing as well.
  • Its important to ask patients in a non-judgmental, open-ended manner about their cannabis use including the intended purpose(s), frequency of use, and forms used.
  • Numerous cannabis products are available. Inhaling (smoking or vaping) remains the most common method for use.  Edible products are available in a wide variety of food-like delivery systems (e.g. baked goods, candies).  Topical products are more commonly used for medical purposes.
  • The THC concentrations found in cannabis products today are much higher than years ago. This has resulted in higher rates of unintentional overdoses leading to paranoia and psychotic symptoms. Overdosing is most common with edible products due their delayed absorption.
  • There are several short-term and long-term health consequences related to marijuana use. Regular cannabis use can lead to neurocognitive effects including impaired memory. Cannabis use is more likely to have a detrimental impact for adolescents and young adults. Cannabis use during pregnancy also appears to have detrimental neurocognitive effects on children.
  • There are several potential drug-drug interactions with THC and medications metabolized through CPY2C9 and CPY3A4 as well as receptor interactions.
  • Pharmacists have an important public health role by screening for cannabis use, educating patients about the potential risks associated with marijuana use, and identifying potential drug-drug interactions.

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