Despite common misconceptions about medical marijuana, it can be a safe, non-addictive, daily treatment option for a number of conditions.
Patients frequently ask us whether or not it’s safe to use medical marijuana on a daily basis. This question comes as no surprise – with all the conflicting information available, it’s no wonder that people are worried about the safety of medical cannabis treatment. Fortunately, with some caveats, medical marijuana can be safely incorporated into a daily treatment plan.
Why Medical Marijuana is Safe for Daily Use
Many patients worry that medical marijuana will give them a “high” that’s commonly associated with recreational marijuana use, thus hindering them from going about their daily activities. That high is caused by THC, a psychoactive compound in marijuana. However, most medical marijuana contains a larger proportion of cannabidiol (CBD), a molecule that isn’t psychoactive and won’t make patients feel “high” in the traditional sense.
CBD is found naturally in the human body as part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of proteins and receptors that influence the central and peripheral nervous system, helping to regulate a wide range of processes including anxiety, appetite, pain perception, nausea, and mood. CBD interacts with this system through a number of molecular pathways, binding with receptors to provide the benefits associated with medical marijuana.
In addition, CBD has a low potential for addiction and abuse. A recent WHO report concluded that there was no evidence that humans can become physically dependent on CBD, and that CBD is not associated with any public health risks. For patients whose treatment options may include opiates and other medications with high abuse potential, medical marijuana offers an effective, non-addictive alternative.
Potential Side Effects of Medical Cannabis
While medical marijuana does have some potential side effects, they typically are not severe and only affect a small percentage of patients. The most common side effects are diarrhea, drowsiness, and loss of appetite. Your medical team will help you weigh any effects against the severity of your condition.
Though side effects may be mild, there are a few guidelines that apply across cases. In order to avoid a negative drug interaction, please tell your provider about any other medications you’re taking. It’s best to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you’re familiar with how medical cannabis affects you. If you work, we also recommend familiarizing yourself with your company’s policies on medical marijuana so you can make an informed decision about treatment.
While it’s important to take the same precautions when beginning medical marijuana treatment that you would when starting other medications, CBD is safe for daily use, non-addictive, and highly effective for a range of conditions from chronic pain to epilepsy. Schedule a consultation with our specialists at Lakewood Medical Clinic to discuss whether medical marijuana is the right option for you.