Pubdate: Mon, 22 Aug 2016
Source: Citizens' Voice, The (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Copyright: 2016 The Citizens' Voice
Author: Kent Jackson


Not everyone who takes marijuana gets high or feels good.

Some users panic, the National Institute of Drug Abuse said on its website.

Even among patients using marijuana for medical conditions, the U.S. 
Food and Drug Administration has received "extremely limited reports" 
of adverse events.

Ed Pane, a Hazleton drug counselor, said those adverse events include 
people who ingest edible marijuana, which takes effect slower than 
other forms so patients ingest more. After the drug kicks in, some 
users have developed paranoia and harmed themselves or others.

Pane supports using marijuana for treating medical conditions but 
said doctors have to develop protocols for the drug, which contains risks.

Long-time users may become dependent on marijuana, and studies have 
found marijuana can reduce IQ points, especially among users who 
started smoking in early adolescence or whose mothers used marijuana 
during pregnancy.

Pennsylvania law requires medical marijuana to have labels warning 
women not to consume it during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

The label also will warn that marijuana might impair users' ability 
to drive and operate heavy machinery.

Smoking marijuana increases blood pressure, which poses a risk 
especially to older people with heart conditions, the National 
Institute said. Long-time smokers of marijuana can develop the same 
breathing problems as tobacco smokers, the National Institute said, 
and Pennsylvania law bans smoking as a delivery method for medical 
marijuana, but allows patients to receive the drug through oils, 
pills, creams, vaporizers and nebulizers.

While marijuana increases appetite in the short term, long-time users 
notice a decrease in appetite and problems sleeping, the National 
Institute said.

Marijuana users, the National Institute said, report that they have 
poorer mental and physical health, lower satisfaction with their 
lives and more relationship problems than non-users.

Most people who use marijuana don't move onto harder drugs like 
opiates, according to the website of the National Institute, which 
also says: "contrary to popular belief, marijuana can be addictive." 
Dependence becomes addiction, the National Institute said, when 
people can't stop using marijuana even though it interferes with their lives.

"If a person said marijuana is causing problems in my life, I'll do 
everything I can to help them," Pane said.

But unlike addictions to heroin, cocaine and other drugs for which 
patients request Pane's counsel, marijuana doesn't cause death from overdose.
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