The effects of cannabis can vary a lot from person to person. It can also vary depending on how much or how often it's taken and what it contains.
Cannabis also increases the risk of a relapse in people who already have schizophrenia, and it can make psychotic symptoms worse.
Can you get addicted to cannabis?
Clinical trials are under way to test cannabis-based drugs for other conditions including cancer pain, the eye disease glaucoma, appetite loss in people with HIV or AIDS, and epilepsy in children.
Regularly smoking cannabis with tobacco increases the risk of a baby being born small or premature.
A psychotic illness is one where you have hallucinations (seeing things that are not really there) and delusions (believing things that are not really true).
“It’s promising in a lot of different therapeutic avenues because it’s relatively safe,” said James MacKillop, co-director of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research in Hamilton, Ontario.
Cannabidiol and THC are just two of the plant’s more than 100 cannabinoids. THC is psychoactive, and CBD may or may not be, which is a matter of debate. THC can increase anxiety; it is not clear what effect CBD is having, if any, in reducing it. THC can lead to addiction and cravings; CBD is being studied to help those in recovery.
The CBD industry is flourishing, conservatively projected to hit $16 billion in the United States by 2025. Already, the plant extract is being added to cheeseburgers, toothpicks and breath sprays. More than 60 percent of CBD users have taken it for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 people, conducted by the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm. Chronic pain, insomnia and depression follow behind. Kim Kardashian West, for example, turned to the product when “freaking out” over the birth of her fourth baby. The professional golfer Bubba Watson drifts off to sleep with it. And Martha Stewart’s French bulldog partakes, too.
CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also marketed to promote sleep. Part of CBD’s popularity is that it purports to be “nonpsychoactive,” and that consumers can reap health benefits from the plant without the high (or the midnight pizza munchies).
A recent chart review of 72 psychiatric patients treated with CBD found that anxiety improved, but not sleep. “Over all, we did not find that it panned out as a useful treatment for sleep,” said Dr. Scott Shannon, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, Denver and the lead author of the review in The Permanente Journal.
States allowing legal recreational use include: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington
National Conference of State Legislatures: “State Medical Marijuana Laws.”
Researchers are studying whether medical marijuana can help treat a number of conditions including:
What are the side effects of medical marijuana?
The drug can also affect judgment and coordination, which could lead to accidents and injuries. When used during the teenage years when the brain is still developing, marijuana might affect IQ and mental function.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Drug Facts: Is Marijuana Medicine?” “Is Marijuana Addictive?”
Cannabinoids — the active chemicals in medical marijuana — are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain.
To get medical marijuana, you need a written recommendation from a licensed doctor in states where that is legal. (Not every doctor is willing to recommend medical marijuana for their patients.) You must have a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana use. Each state has its own list of qualifying conditions. Your state may also require you to get a medical marijuana ID card. Once you have that card, you can buy medical marijuana at a store called a dispensary.