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MARIJUANA

Other Names:

Anashca, Banji, Bhang, Blunt, Bud, Cannabis, Cannabis sativa, Charas, Dope, Esrar, Gaga, Ganga, Grass, Haschisch, Hash, Hashish, Herbe, Huo Ma Ren, Joint, Kif, Mariguana, Marihuana, Mary Jane, Pot, Sawi, Sinsemilla, Weed.

MARIJUANA Overview
MARIJUANA Uses
MARIJUANA Side Effects
MARIJUANA Interactions
MARIJUANA Dosing
MARIJUANA Overview Information

Marijuana is an herb. It contains chemicals called cannabinoids that affect the central nervous system. Cannabinoids are found in the highest concentration in the leaves and flowers, the parts that are used to make medicine.

Some people use marijuana recreationally to create a sense of well being or to alter the senses. It is either taken by mouth or smoked (inhaled).

Marijuana is also taken by mouth for medicinal purposes. A cannabinoid from marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is used in the prescription-only, FDA-approved product dronabinol (Marinol) for the treatment of weight loss or appetite loss due to AIDS and for nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Cannabinoids are at least as effective as some conventional medications for nausea, including prochlorperazine (Compazine), metoclopramide (Reglan), chlorpromazine (Compazine), and thiethylperazine (Torecan).

Cannabinoids from marijuana also appear to be similar to codeine for treatment of pain. However, extreme sleepiness and other central nervous system effects make cannabinoids undesirable as painkillers.

Other cannabinoids from marijuana have also been used by mouth to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Some people inhale marijuana for medicinal purposes. Marijuana is smoked for nausea, glaucoma, appetite stimulation, mucous membrane inflammation, leprosy, fever, dandruff, hemorrhoids, obesity, asthma, urinary tract infections, cough, anorexia associated with weight loss in AIDS patients, pain, and multiple sclerosis. It is also inhaled to weaken the immune system after kidney transplant to lessen the chance of transplant rejection.

Avoid confusion with hemp, a distinct variety of Cannabis sativa cultivated for its fiber and seeds, which contains less than 1% THC.

In the U.S., marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, making possession illegal. Some states, such as California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and others, have legalized or decriminalized the use of medical marijuana, despite objections from the federal government. Some countries such as Canada also permit the use of medical marijuana.

How does it work?

Marijuana contains chemicals that work by binding to specific sites in the brain and on the nerves.

MARIJUANA Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Improving appetite in people with AIDS. Smoking marijuana seems to stimulate the appetite of patients with AIDS. Marijuana cigarettes can also cause weight gain in HIV-positive patients also taking indinavir (Crixivan) or nelfinavir (Viracept).
  • Glaucoma. Smoking marijuana seems to reduce pressure inside the eye in patients with glaucoma. However, it also seems to decrease blood flow to the optic nerve. So far, it is not known if marijuana can improve the way the eye functions.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Marijuana seems to be effective when smoked, or when the cannabinoids are taken by mouth for the treatment of muscle tightness and shakiness associated with MS.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Dandruff.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Obesity.
  • Asthma.
  • Urinary infections.
  • Leprosy.
  • Preventing organ rejection after kidney transplants.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate marijuana for these uses.


MARIJUANA Side Effects & Safety

The cannabinoid, dronabinol, which is found in marijuana, is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately as a prescription medication. Dronabinol (Marinol) is an FDA-approved prescription product.

Marijuana is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when it is taken by mouth or smoked. It is classified as an illegal substance.

Use of marijuana can cause dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, dry or red eyes, heart and blood pressure problems, lung problems, impaired mental functioning, headache, dizziness, numbness, panic reactions, hallucinations, flashbacks, depression, and sexual problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Marijuana is UNSAFE when taken by mouth or smoked during pregnancy. Marijuana passes through the placenta and can slow the growth of the fetus. Marijuana use during pregnancy is also associated with childhood leukemia. Using marijuana, either by mouth or by inhalation is LIKELY UNSAFE during breast-feeding. The dronabinol (THC) in marijuana passes into breast milk.

Heart disease: Marijuana might cause rapid heartbeat and short-term high blood pressure.

A weakened immune system: Cannabinoids in marijuana can weaken the immune system, which might make it more difficult for the body to fight infections.

Lung diseases: Long-term use of marijuana can make lung problems worse. Regular, long-term marijuana use has been associated with several cases of an unusual type of emphysema, a lung disease.

Seizure disorders: Marijuana might make seizure disorders worse in some people; in other people it might help to control seizures.

Surgery: Marijuana affects the central nervous system. It might slow the central nervous system too much when combined with anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery. Stop using marijuana at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

MARIJUANA Interactions What is this?

Major Interaction Do not take this combination

  • Sedative medications (Barbiturates) interacts with MARIJUANA

    Marijuana might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking marijuana along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with MARIJUANA

    Marijuana might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking marijuana along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

    Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

  • Theophylline interacts with MARIJUANA

    Taking marijuana might decrease the effects of theophylline. But there isn't enough information to know if this is a big concern.


Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) interacts with MARIJUANA

    Disulfiram (Antabuse) might interact with marijuana. Taking marijuana along with Disulfiram can cause agitation, trouble sleeping, and irritability.

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) interacts with MARIJUANA

    Taking marijuana with fluoxetine (Prozac) might cause you to feel irritated, nervous, jittery, and excited. Doctors call this hypomania.


Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with MARIJUANA

    Using marijuana might increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Smoking marijuana while taking warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the chance of bruising and bleeding.


MARIJUANA Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • The prescription product dronabinol (Marinol), which is one chemical in marijuana, is used in doses of 5 to 15 mg/m2 every 2 for 4 hours for nausea and vomiting due to cancer chemotherapy, and 2.5 to 10 mg twice daily for improving appetite in people with AIDS. However, current scientific information indicates that smoking or inhaling marijuna might not be safe. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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