While medical marijuana can help treat the symptoms of a wide variety of health conditions, it’s not a miracle cure, and some people should actually think twice before using it. Medical marijuana has proven to be an effective treatment for conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to cancer to spinal cord injuries. Yet it’s not a panacea, and some patients should proceed with care before trying cannabis. Medical history, age, and a number of other factors can impact how effective and beneficial medical marijuana is. Here are a few groups who may not be well-suited for medical marijuana-based care: Patients with a History of Addiction While cannabis has a very low rate of addiction, it can cause some patients to become dependent. Medical marijuana can help wean patients off opioid medications, as the side effects are significantly milder, but only a small number of studies have examined the long-term health effects of prolonged cannabis use. Until further research can shine a light on the subject, doctors and patients should proceed with caution. Patients who have a history of addiction or substance abuse in particular may want to avoid medical marijuana treatment. Patients with Mental Health Conditions While research has found that medical marijuana can provide relief for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, it may not be ideal for those with a history of other mental health conditions. For instance, cannabis is considered a risk factor for schizophrenia, and should therefore not be prescribed to patients with schizoaffective disorders. Studies have found that THC, the cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive high typically associated with cannabis use, can be helpful for managing anxiety in small doses, but they also show that larger doses can actually cause anxiety or paranoia. Therefore, patients with anxiety and depression should be especially careful about their medical marijuana use, and pay particular attention to dosage. CBD, on the other hand, does not have psychoactive effects and has been linked to reduced anxiety regardless of dose. Patients with Lung Conditions Medical marijuana comes in a range of delivery methods — it can be smoked, ingested as edibles or tinctures, or applied topically as creams or oils, to name a few examples. These options allow patients to tailor their medication intake to meet their particular needs. This is especially relevant for patients who have lung disease, asthma, or other breathing or pulmonary conditions, as they should avoid smoking medical cannabis to prevent their symptoms from worsening. Other delivery methods should present viable alternatives, however, which a medical marijuana specialist can easily help determine. Patients Under the Age of 25 The human brain finishes developing around the age of 25, and the body of research on the benefits of prescribing medical marijuana to younger patients is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, cannabis has shown to be an effective treatment for mitigating severe forms of epilepsy, and it has helped many children suffering from the condition. In these instances, doctors tend to recommend CBD- rather than THC-based treatments. However, research also shows that marijuana use by patients under the age of 25 can actually impede brain development and lead to a number of long-lasting neurocognitive issues. It’s therefore important to carefully consider the pros and cons of medical cannabis treatment for children and young adults. Is Medical Marijuana Right for You? Ultimately, patients should meet with a medical marijuana specialist to determine if cannabis is the right course of treatment for their needs and circumstances. How patients react to medication varies person to person, and doctors should proceed cautiously before writing medical marijuana recommendations for patients who are part of any of the groups listed above. At Lakewood Medical Center, we’re proud to provide expert cannabis-based healthcare that’s approachable and effective. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and one of our specialists will discuss your medical history and help determine what’s best suited for your lifestyle and health goals.