Effects of Marijuana Part I - We Advise You About Cannabis

The effects of marijuana are numerous. This plant has been around for thousands of years and has been
used by various peoples for a variety of reasons. The National Institute of Health has created a list of
conditions that marijuana appears to be of most benefit
Stimulates appetite and relieves cachexia (the physical wasting away of Aids and cancer sufferers)
Control nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.
Decrease intraocular pressure inside the eyeball for relief of glaucoma.
Analgesia for chronic pain due to a variety of conditions.
Neurologic and movement disorders, such as muscle spasticity and seizures.
Side Effects
The most obvious effects of marijuana are on the brain and nervous system. The immediate effect is a
dulling of the senses, blunting of memory and concentration, and changes in behavior (possible euphoria).
Pain perception is altered, nausea is calmed, and appetite is stimulated. There is some debate over how
much, if any, actual changes occur in the brain with its chronic use.
The intoxication and effects on the nervous system lead to slowed reaction time and loss of coordination
which last for hours after ingestion. These effects can make driving a car or operating machinery hazardous
if sufficient cannabis is absorbed. These activities should be avoided while under the influence of marijuana
(your sense of perception and coordination is effected)
The most common side effects include: abnormal thinking, depersonalization, euphoria, paranoid reactions
confusion, depression dizziness/vertigo, drowsiness, impaired coordination dry mouth, nausea, vomiting,
high/low blood pressure, irregular pulsation of the heart perceptible to you-may or may not include irregular
heart beat, increased pulse, red flushing of skin
Cannabinoids and THC also produce cardiovascular effects. Immediately after inhalation the heart begins to
heat faster, the blood vessels dilate and blood pressure drops. This can cause dizziness and the sensation of
palpitations in some people, and may cause problems for older people with cardiac conditions.
The risks of using marijuana during pregnancy are unknown. However, there is a study using monkeys that
demonstrates a withdrawal syndrome in the infants of mothers who have THC in their system at the time of
There is a documented withdrawal syndrome associated with the cessation of marijuana use after as little as
a week. However, this is not a common reaction and does not occur in the majority of users. The symptoms
of the withdrawal syndrome are irritability, and insomnia, mood swings, mild depression.
Long term marijuana use can cause some mood disturbances, depression, and apathy, even in otherwise
healthy individuals. Some say that a ‘drug holiday’ of at least 3 weeks every 3-4 months is a good idea. This
can help the patient differentiate side effects of marijuana from the possible symptoms of an illness. The
apathy associated with marijuana use can contribute to or worsen other processes, such as generalized
anxiety disorder, social isolation, and obesity. If you have any questions about cannabis’s effect on your
system, you should schedule a visit with a cannabis specialist who can help you asses the issue.
There are some conflicting studies over whether or not marijuana causes long term brain damage. A study
done at Harvard in 2001 however, concluded that “some cognitive deficits appear detectable at least 7 days
after heavy cannabis use but appear reversible and related to recent cannabis exposure.”
I have read the above information and have had a chance to discuss these issues with the doctor.
Printed name _________________________________________
(Patient’s or patient’s guardian or representative)
Christine Paoletti, MD, 1304 15th street #405,
Santa Monica, CA 90404