Medical cannabis and abuse of psychoactive cannabinoids

2019-02-27
Kevin P. Hill

Is there a risk that the legal use of medical cannabis will affect the abuse of psychoactive cannabinoids?

Kevin P. Hill, MD: There is a concern that increased use of legal medical cannabis, so states that have medical cannabis policies, will increase recreational use. That is possible. I think it is definitely possible depending on how these laws are written.

One of the differences that I point out when we talk about these cannabis policies is the difference between ideas and implementation. The idea of medical cannabis, having patients be able to use cannabis to treat debilitating medical conditions, is a good idea. The implementation, however, is often lacking. Many of the states in the United States that have done this have written the laws in such a way that physicians can certify a patient for whatever medical condition they choose. What we are seeing, unfortunately, is that there are patients who see this as a way to get recreational cannabis. They get a [medical marijuana] card and therefore can purchase higher-grade or stronger cannabis. That is one of the problems.

It is important in the states or countries that have medical cannabis laws to write the laws in such a way that you limit the use of medical cannabis to the patients that actually have debilitating medical conditions that cannabis has been shown to be effective for.

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