Love it or hate it, cannabis has hit main street. For both medical and recreational use, marijuana consumption is (pardon the pun) at an all-time high with at least 20 million – admitted – regular users per month. As the regulatory bodies of individual states continue to downgrade the stigma surrounding the popular drug, this upward trend is expected to continue. However, the federal government has proven to be far less accepting of cannabis products; which are still classified as an illegal Schedule I Narcotic.
Due to its federal status, the research of marijuana by most medical professionals is strictly prohibited. Also – unlike legal medications such as prescription painkillers and amphetamines – there are no reliable reference guides for doctors to consult with in order to understand the frequency or medical implications of their patient’s marijuana usage.
The situation has left many medical professionals in a fog of uncertainty.
We know that we have patients that use cannabis in some form or another. Yet, due to current federal regulations, we cannot study the drug; and patients are not inclined to reveal their marijuana habits to us for fear of being reported or judged unfairly. This gap in communication is potentially dangerous. For instance, THC has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack within the first hour of smoking marijuana by 4.8 times*. However, there are few testing options available that can tell a doctor if the patient has used marijuana the day of a procedure that may require sedation, thereby increasing the chances of a cardiac event even further.
We want to hear what you – our patients and friends – think about Cannabis and Health Care. By promoting a compassionate dialogue about marijuana and your health, we can adapt to these changing times.
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