If you’ve watched previous episodes of Ask Dr. Patel, then you’ve heard me go on and on about patients that could benefit from the use of medical marijuana, but today, I want to talk about who shouldn’t use medical marijuana.  Really, these are people that should basically be extra cautious about medical marijuana.

So, to start with, are the patients with a history of psychotic episodes.  Typically, it constitutes patients who’ve been diagnosed with Schizophrenia or BiPolar Disorder.  Should these patients consume marijuana in excess amounts, then there’s a greater risk of them experiencing hallucinations, which could lead to psychotic episodes.  A lot of times these psychotic episodes are accompanied by suicidal or even homicidal thoughts.

Then, there are patients with underlying lung conditions, such as asthma, emphysema, chronic pulmonary disorder, etc. which can be exacerbated by inhaling medical marijuana, whether it’s smoking it or vaporizing it.

For patients with underlying heart conditions, again medical marijuana can exacerbate their heart conditions. An example would be a dysrhythmia, which is when the heart has a tendency to beat abnormally. Consuming excess amounts of marijuana causes an increase in heart rate, which could potentially induce the dysrhythmia in the patient.

The patient population are women that are pregnant.  The jury’s really out in terms of impact that medical marijuana can have on a growing fetus. There’s some research that shows that marijuana use during pregnancy could lead to preterm labor and delivery or low-birth weight.  But, there’s also research that says that marijuana doesn’t have an impact on a growing fetus. I tend to err on the side of caution and don’t recommend medical marijuana to women that are pregnant or even breastfeeding.

Then, finally, medical marijuana needs to be used with caution in children.  There have been cases in Colorado, where children have been brought to the Emergency Room in a coma.

Overall, in these patient populations, it really comes down to using the right combinations of cannabinoids, so chemicals like THC and CBD, getting the medical marijuana down to the right dose and frequency so that these patients can avoid exacerbating their underlying condition or they can avoid experiencing side effects of the medical marijuana.  And, it’s best to work with a medical professional to figure this information out.

If you have any questions about who shouldn’t use medical marijuana, then please post them in the comments section below.