Contraindications to Medical Marijuana

adverse effects, contraindications, educational

Let’s discuss contraindications to medical marijuana.

First off, what does the word “contraindication” even mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “contraindication” is: “something (such as a symptom or condition) that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable.”

So to make a very simple and obvious example, a contraindication to feeding peanut butter to a child would be if that child was allergic to peanuts. Another example is that heavy drinking of alcohol is contraindicated during pregnancy.

By the way, “indication” has the opposite meaning. So for example, a tranquilizer would be indicated for severe anxiety. Also, appendicitis would be a very good indication for surgery to remove one’s appendix.

I’ll bring us back to our original topic: when is medical marijuana contraindicated?

(1) History of psychotic illness including schizophrenia. Caution should also be exercised if there is a family history of schizophrenia. Under these circumstances, cannabis should be used only under the close supervision of a psychiatrist.

(2) Active unstable ischemic heart disease. THC causes blood vessels to expand which results in a quick drop in blood pressure. The heart has to pump much harder and faster to maintain the same blood flow to your organs. In patients who already have a heart condition, there can be up to a five-times-normal risk of heart attack after cannabis use.

(3) Pregnancy or breastfeeding. There is evidence that marijuana use can cause premature labor and low birth weight. Cannabinoids appear in breast milk. The effects of these cannabinoids on breastfeeding infants is unknown. Until more research is done, cannabis use is to be strictly avoided by pregnant women and breastfeeding women.

I hope that clears things up a bit. We will continue this discussion at a later time. If you enjoyed this blog post, please show it by leaving your comments or questions below.

Oliver Park MD