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Medical cannabis treatments – Myth or Reality

Despite the promising findings that have been made about medical cannabis and chronic pain, there is still not enough evidence to say that it is effective. Due to the plant’s ban in most countries, human studies are limited. In addition to this, the investigations carried out to date do not rule out possible health risks.

Is it safe to use medical cannabis treatments?

The use of medical marijuana without professional supervision increases the risk of side effects. It is essential to consider that there are certain populations that are more vulnerable to unwanted reactions. Therefore, it is a treatment that must take into account all the characteristics of the person (age, state of health, clinical history).

Secondary symptoms include the following:

  • Dependence and addiction.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Dizziness.
  • Impaired reaction times.
  • Drug interactions.
  • Loss of concentration and memory impairment .
  • Mental health problems
  • Heart rate changes.
  • Withdrawal symptoms.

This is something that worries researchers and health professionals, especially due to the great demand that cannabis has had in recent years. The need for an alternative and effective treatment, coupled with the large number of advertisements about the “magical effects of CBD”, have led to excessive consumption that is not always indicated for patients.

So there are no medical marijuana treatments for chronic pain?

In fact, there are. Despite the lack of high-quality studies on the effects of cannabis against chronic pain, some treatments have been developed for certain types of pain. 

There is a risk of interactions

Beyond the risks mentioned, it must be borne in mind that medicinal marijuana-based products can have interactions with certain drugs, which alters their levels in the blood, as well as their effects. The most important are the following:

  • Anticoagulants 
  • Heart medications
  • Immunosuppressants

On the other hand, we must be careful with its use in public with special conditions, such as pregnant or lactating women, children, the elderly or immunosuppressed people.

What to remember about medical marijuana for chronic pain?

Out of the many properties that are attributed to medical marijuana, the relief of chronic pain is one of the most striking. However, the evidence supporting these effects is limited and results are controversial. Therefore, before considering the use of these products, it is necessary to assess their risks and consult a doctor for a dose according to individual characteristics. In addition, it must be clear that it is not a treatment of first choice nor should it be the only option to cope with pain.

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