Summary: The largest health review of its kind suggests that while cannabis-based medicines may help some people, the drug is detrimental for others. Cannabidiol can help reduce seizures in epilepsy patients, and cannabis-based medicines may help with multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, inflammatory bowel disease, and in palliative care. However, cannabis use is wrong for drivers, during adolescence and early adulthood, in people prone to or with mental health disorders and when you are pregnant.
New Study on Cannabis Suggests Avoidance for Adolescents, Pregnant, and Drivers
The findings are based on an umbrella review conducted by an international expert team of gold standard studies on cannabis and health carried out over the last two decades. The review, published in the BMJ, analyzed data from 101 meta-analyses on cannabis use published from 2002 to 2022. It concluded that cannabis use was linked to poor mental health and cognition, increased the risk of car crashes among drivers, and led to poor outcomes for babies when pregnant women used the drug. The authors recommended avoiding cannabis during adolescence and early adulthood, in people prone to mental health disorders, women who are pregnant, and drivers.
Cannabidiol was found to be beneficial for people with epilepsy to help them avoid seizures. Cannabis-based medicines could also help reduce chronic pain and spasms among people with multiple sclerosis, reduce nausea and vomiting among patients with a range of conditions, and improve the sleep of cancer patients. Cannabis-based medicines were also found to improve the quality of life among patients with inflammatory bowel disease and were effective in palliative care. However, the authors stressed that the use of cannabis-based medicines was “not without adverse events”.
A separate study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that marijuana users had “significant levels” of heavy metals in their blood and urine. Academics from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, who led the study, said marijuana could be an under-recognized source of lead and cadmium exposure among users.
In the UK, cannabis is a class B drug and is not legal in general. However, specialist doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis for conditions such as severe epilepsy, cancer patients suffering side-effects from certain drugs, and patients with multiple sclerosis. People can also purchase products such as CBD oil or hemp oil, but the NHS website says “there’s no guarantee these are of good quality or provide any health benefits”.
Source: The Guardian
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