Stay wary of mar­i­juana

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND VOICES - Chris­tine Miller, Bal­ti­more

It comes as no sur­prise that Mary­land physi­cians are re­luc­tant to sign up for the state’s mar­i­juana pro­gram (“Few doc­tors sign on to rec­om­mend med­i­cal mar­i­juana in Mary­land,” Nov. 14). Un­like states that were early en­trees into this mar­ket, the med­i­cal com­mu­nity in Mary­land has learned some­thing from the sci­en­tific lit­er­a­ture that has emerged in the in­ter­ven­ing years. Just this week, a study re­ported mar­i­juana use is bad for the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem, con­sis­tent with many prior re­ports, but in this case weak­en­ing of the heart mus­cle was doc­u­mented in rel­a­tively young users. The car­di­ol­o­gists also found it was also linked to de­pres­sion, which can ex­ac­er­bate car­diac symp­toms. Nu­mer­ous prior stud­ies by psychiatrists have shown de­pres­sion and other psy­chi­atric con­di­tions are as­so­ci­ated with mar­i­juana use, par­tic­u­larly psy­chosis.

The sur­prise was read­ing that a physi­cian is plan­ning to use mar­i­juana to treat two psy­chi­atric con­di­tions (anx­i­ety and PTSD), when not only are they not qual­i­fy­ing con­di­tions un­der the Mary­land Med­i­cal Cannabis pro­gram, they can be wors­ened by mar­i­juana use. It is quite likely that physi­cians rec­om­mend­ing mar­i­juana for Mary­land pa­tients will open up un­charted med­i­cal mal­prac­tice ter­ri­tory, par­tic­u­larly since the smoked prod­uct re­mains Sched­ule I, with no ac­cepted med­i­cal use ac­cord­ing to the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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