Is medical cannabis safe for me?

Yes, cannabis is far safer than many drugs produced by big pharmaceuticals, and can help with a broad range of problems. In fact, it arguable that cannabis has saved people’s lives and their sanity and it can potentially do the same for you.

The main concern with cannabis safety isn’t necessarily the plant itself, but the pollutants, pesticides and pathogens that are found on it from the environment it was grown in. Fortunately, California is moving forward on this issue, and we also believe that this is an area that needs to be worked on.

Many people are coming to the world of medical marijuana in their senior years. Some are younger first-timers, but many of them were once in a world where cannabis was demonized. Finally, studies are now debunking the myths and showing the wonderful effects of this plant on people’s health.

There has been no death attributable to the use of natural cannabis alone. This is because the body breaks down naturally-derived phytocannabinoids so quickly that dangerous levels of cannabinoids cannot build up. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not specialized in the same way, say, dopamine or serotonin receptors are. This means that the chances of overdose are more theoretical rather than practical.

However, as cannabis has many potential medical and therapeutic benefits, it must therefore be treated as medicine. This means looking at where cannabinoids may be harmful, and contraindications with other medicantions etc. Cannabidiol (CBD), for example, desensitizes the enzyme cytochrome P450 (CY P450). This enzyme is responsible for the processing of many drugs and medications, including benzodiazepines. Therefore, if you have been prescribed benzodiazepines and are curious about trying CBD or cannabis, then usage must be tapered. Cannabis also interacts with opioid-based medications, and can exacerbate the central nervous system (CNS) depressant effects of such opioids. Again, those who have been prescribed strong, opioid-based painkillers ought to start reducing their opioid use when cannabis treatment starts. Those with schizophrenia ought to avoid cannabis use (although CBD may have antipsychotic properties – more research needs to be done in this area). Those with bipolar disorder ought to be very careful with cannabis, especially THC, as it can have detrimental effects, especially during manic phases (as antidepressants do as well). Those with cancer will likely need a specific cannabinoid-terpenoid profile, as the wrong one could have no effect or even make the cancer worse.

In general, cannabis is quite safe. There are certainly negatives, just as there is with any medication. It must be remembered though that cannabis plants can vary greatly from one another on a phytochemical level. Different cannabinoid-terpenoid profiles mean different effects; and how these different profiles work for different conditions still need to be determined.

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