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Questions & Answers

Are there any negative side effects from using marijuana long term?

by HelloMD

3 years ago


Questions & Answers

Are there any negative side effects from using marijuana long term?

by HelloMD

3 years ago


I mainly use CBD on a daily basis to control inflammation in my body. If my pain is acute, I vape some cannabis oil that contains THC and find relief. Are there any negative side effects known from long term/sustained usage.


Answers


Answer - Doctor Mark Edmunds

Great question. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 60 cannabinoid compounds found in the marijuana plant. Along with THC, it is one of the most prevalent. CBD has shown much pharmaceutical promise, including treatment of nausea / vomiting, psychosis, anxiety, depression, inflammatory disorders, seizure disorders, and neurodegenerative disorders. It has also been shown to possess anti-oxidant and anti-tumor properties. CBD increases wakefulness, which can be a benefit for daytime use but may adversely effect sleep.

In general, there is not a lot of information regarding long term use of cannabis, but heavy exposure to THC over time has demonstrated adverse effects on memory and cognition. Interestingly, CBD seems to counteract these THC-induced effects. More research needs to be done to determine if any negative side effects are associated with longterm CBD use. Similarly, it will be interesting to see if longterm CBD use confers benefits, such as decreased cancer risk.


Answer - Leslie Elkind MD

There has been no consistent scientific answer to the question of whether there are negative side effects associated with using cannabis over a long period. As a practical matter, there has obviously been an enormous uncontrolled experiment over the past 50 years addressing that question, and no evidence of serious negative side effects has been noted as prevalent in the experimental population. Although great effort has been put into demonstrating adverse effects of long term use of cannabis in support of prohibitionism, this has only resulted in many equivocal studies and quite a few where there the results are compromised by poor methodology. The metabolism of cannabis in humans is fairly well understood and gives no reason to expect long term negative side effects from toxic byproducts. No specific toxicity to any organ has been identified (unlike ibuprofen, for example). The only negative side effects I'd be concerned about have to do with inhaling the smoke of burning plants, or the vapor of solvents in extracts. And I'd say both of those concerns are linked to frequency and amount of exposure. In terms of behavioral effects, the old refrain of cognitive impairment and lack of motivation as side effects of long term use of marijuana has been essentially debunked by recent meta-reviews in which the various reported studies of this issues are pulled together and analyzed as a whole. http://www.beyondthc.com/marijuana-doesnt-make-you-stupid-after-all/


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