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tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most active ingredient of marijuana, can, with heavy smoking, narrow the bronchi and bronchioles and produce inflammation of the mucous membranes. In addition, marijuana smoke contains many of the same chemicals and “tars” as tobacco smoke and, therefore, increases the risk of lung cancer. There is some evidence that marijuana increases the risk for miscarriage and birth defects. Even though these dangers have not been completely documented, it is recommended that both men and women who plan to have children should avoid marijuana as they would any other unnecessary drug.
One beneficial effect of THC is the lowering of intraocular pressure, which can be helpful in the control of glaucoma. However, because it causes tachycardia and increased work for the heart, it cannot be used in most elderly persons, the age group in which glaucoma is most prevalent. Another use of THC is for relief of extreme nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy, although not every patient responds favorably to THC.
See also: cannabis.
mar·i·jua·na, marihuana (mar'i-hwahn'ă)
See also: cannabis
marijuana, marihuana (mar?i-wan'a) [Mexican Sp. marihuana, mariguana]
Its active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may produce euphoria, alterations in mood and judgment, and changes in sensory perception, cognition, and coordination. Driving and machine-operating skills may be impaired. Users of marijuana have impaired short-term memory; memory deficits are transient, however, and return to normal within about a week of abstinence. Depending on the dose of the drug and the underlying psychological conditions of the user, marijuana may cause transient episodes of confusion, anxiety, or delirium. Its use may exacerbate mental illness, esp. schizophrenia. Long-term, relatively heavy use may be associated with behavioral disorders and a kind of ennui called the amotivational syndrome, but it is not known whether use of the drug is a cause or a result of this condition. Transient symptoms occur on withdrawal, indicating that the drug can lead to physical dependence. There has been considerable interest in the effects of marijuana on pregnancy and fetal growth, but substance abusers often abuse more than a single substance, making it difficult to evaluate the effects of individual substances on the outcome of pregnancy or fetal development.
There is no definitive evidence that prolonged heavy smoking of marijuana leads to impaired pulmonary function. The possibility that chronic marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of developing head and neck cancer exists, but it has not been proven.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as dronabinol, is approved for use in treating nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional antiemetic treatment, and treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Marijuana has also been approved for other medical uses in some states, although such use violates federal Drug Enforcement Administration standards.
CAUTION!Dronabinol is a controlled substance. Prescriptions are limited to the amount necessary for a single cycle of chemotherapy.
Patient discussion about marihuana
Q. what are the requirements of getting medicinal marijuana? i'd like to know the requirements of getting prescribed medicinal marijuana. i have heard alot about health benefits of moderate use of marijuana or should i refer to it as cannabis.
Q. My 37 year old son is depressed. He uses marijuana and alcohol daily - how can I help him? He refuses to obtain professional help (says the drugs they give you are harmful). Says his drinking is due to his genes, and there is little he can do about it. Has run up 70k in credit card debt. Does not want to quit smoking weed, and drinking booze.
Q. One of my friends is an addict to Alcohol. Which one is worse? Marijuana or alcohol One of my friends is an addict to Alcohol. He later stopped and started using Marijuana. Which one is worse? Marijuana or alcohol